Texas Tech University

Rising to the Challenge

Charlotte Boye-Christensen

March 10, 2021

Charlotte Boye-Christensen

This month marks the one-year anniversary since we went into COVID-19 lockdown. I am contemplating what was on my mind that week before everything changed, the week when none of us knew what was ahead. I had just arrived in Canada to help prepare for my father in law's funeral, an event which has still not taken place. For the next half a year, if not still, I grapple with how much our world has changed. My normal ways of traveling around the world to choreograph, to teach residencies in dance, of being with people, of planning for the future, are all on a different rhythm, one that is not yet quite comfortable to me. How wild it is to think that masks, social distancing, and zoom communication are so much a part of our present norm.

This past year has been one of tremendous human loss and upheaval on so many fronts - political, social, economic, and racial. Yet it has also been a year where unforeseeable realizations have been possible, and reinvention too, on both personal and societal levels. While some trends are very concerning, such as towards conspiracy and anti-democracy - genuine challenges to freedom beyond the imagined or societally beneficial - I remain positively touched and inspired by so much, as in the patience and humility of the majority and in new forms and experiments in how to communicate and connect, and I have experienced some very powerful art that can only have been inspired by this time.

I have been impressed by our faculty, staff, and student's ability to adapt to this new reality. The students have seen faculty stumble through complicated technical set-ups that afforded us the ability to teach in several spaces simultaneously - at times stepping in to help - but more importantly, just being patient and generous in their expectations and expressing gratitude to us for trying to provide an in-person experience to them.

We have learned a lot this year and can bring our learning into future class work but, perhaps most importantly, this period of time has had the potential to make us stronger as a community, as we work together to use new forms of communication, and to be vulnerable. In spite of frustrations, we have celebrated small victories together. I do hope that the school and students continue to positively build on what we have experienced and accomplished together.

I am proud of the dance film projects that our students created in the fall and that our faculty are creating this spring for DanceTech. In the fall, the students worked with film students in the College of Media and Communication. This spring, the faculty has worked with editor Chris Wood. About her experience, Professor Kyla Olson shares,

I am so happy to have had the opportunity to collaborate with our professional video editor, Chris Wood for my two dance works in DanceTech. He worked quickly and professionally and incorporated the ideas that I storyboarded, bringing them to life in the video. Through his creative lens, he interpreted my ideas, making them better than I ever anticipated. I look forward to continuing our collaboration on our upcoming virtual production of A Chorus Line.

I think we are all longing for a time where we return to some form of normalcy, yet, while I am not sure what that will mean, I am certain that so much in the new normal will be different.

I am choosing to believe that we can shape our future and the necessary, exciting changes we can barely predict as positive ones!