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Pointe shoes and pirouettes

By Hunter Miller Contributing Writer
Rock of Ages vibrates in my bones. The CD skips as the floor shakes. The dancers wrapped feet collide and squeak on the scuffed, gray floor. Three walls of mirrors surround me. A womans voice carries over the deafening sounds: Left hip down! I look at the last sentence of the paper taped to the waiting room door: Do not allow children to eat crayons or color in the Bibles. At that moment, a girl dressed in all black limps, holding her hip, to the front of the canary-yellow room to sit down. I turn my attention back toward the girl as she winces and says, Im going to have to sit this one out and take it easy. I forgot I havent danced in two weeks. Injuries among these young dancers at the Wilmore Christian School of Ballet can snuff out their dreams of dancing professionally with one wrong twist of the ankle. While injuries and competition are prevalent, this family-like group of dancers thrives on a positive atmosphere of friendship due to the countless hours spent together. For Emma Lewis, 15, her twisted ankle and strained hamstring forced her to take one month off from dance. Even worse, she had just moved up to a higher level earlier that month. When she came back, she realized how much strength she had lost. Avadiah Maki, 14, has been dancing for nine years. She attends four dance classes a week and teaches an additional two classes. Her goal is to go to a performing arts school and become a professional dancer. Her dream was put on hold after she missed a competition because she injured both hips and tore her achilles tendon. Haleigh Davis, 15, has had her share of injuries as well. I was dropped in partnering and jarred my ankle, she says while absentmindedly rolling and stretching her ankle on the chipped red floor. Although the dancers try and help each other recuperate from their injuries, there is always an unspoken rule between the uninjured dancers to use that time to get further ahead. Lowering her voice and leaning closer, Maki whispers, People dont say anything about competition, but its always there; especially in the advanced classes. Ms. Hannah, one of the instructors, overhears my previous conflict-focused question from across the room at the wooden table she stands next to and says with a bright smile, This dance school is much different from other ones. We just dont have much competition or drama here. Maki agrees that the intense atmosphere of competition is not as prevalent because its a Christian ballet school. How do I deal with competition from other dancers? Maki half-smiles, crosses her legs and says, I try to be happy for the other dancers. I tell myself that this year, this is what Im doing. Leaning back in the metal chair, Dinah Gorham, 14, says, We are all friends, whether people admit it or not. The competition between us is there to make each other better dancers but also to make us better as a whole. We learn from each other. I try and push myself to be as good as the other dancers are. Contrary to what people may think, these dancers are normal teenagers who love to hang out and make each other laugh. The fun and messing around continues until they go onstage. The atmosphere is chaotic. Brooke Scott, 15, and Lewis almost telepathically make eye contact and start giggling as Scott covers her mouth with her hand. Lewis says, Theres no food allowed in the dressing room, but we sneak it in anyways. Thats the only way well make it. Besides

eating, they also stretch each other, dance in the hallways and go over I their parts. Pointing at Matthew Vanlaningham, 16, Davis volunteers him toc tell his well-known story about every dancers nightmare. Vanlaning-c ham and Davis look at each other and burst out laughing. Clearly overG the embarrassment that happened five years ago, Vanlaningham com-e poses himself and says, I was doing my solo, and all of the suddena my mind blanked. I just stood there onstage staring at my mom ands making faces at her for 30 seconds. Then I remembered the next stepss and started dancing again. Davis remembers back to four years ago when she turned thes wrong way and stuck out from everyone else. In the finale, ScottC started doing jumps while all the other dancers were still on the stept before. Similarly, Lewis was in a duet and got ahead of the other per-I son. But they grow even closer together because they know how tos laugh off their mistakes and work harder together for the next time. i Davis says, If we didnt stick together and encourage each oth-K er, the atmosphere at the dance school would completely change. It c would be much more competitive. She continued, saying, I have friends who dance at other schools,p and they tell me, Haleigh, dont stop dancing at your school; you aren getting really good training. And I agree. I absolutely love it. Davisa yawns and stretches her arms after a full day of dancing, only to con-f f tinue the next afternoon after school. a

Converting the Asbury bubble into a filter

The importance of discussing diversity
By Sarah Choate Features Editor
tant to us, we tend to give [it] little, if any, thought, said Ruiz. Many people can navigate their daily lives without having to deal with adversity relating to their racial, ethnic and/or religious background.... Just because you have avoided experience with or exposure to discrimination does not mean that others have been so fortunate. During the conversation, Ruiz showed a video made by senior Kristin Knapton, in which several Asbury students answered the question, What do you think of when you hear the term the Asbury bubble? This term is often used to describe the mindset that Asbury students are completely sheltered and protected from the real world to the extent that they are unable to truly understand and engage other cultures. Answers to that question ranged from students saying that the Asbury bubble does not exist to commenting that the extreme lack of cultural engagement and awareness is a threat to the livelihood of our campus community. Three students, Emily Louden, Kara Chapman and Joshua Kulah, moderated this conversation on culture. Each of them gave a little bit of their background story and opinions on diversity, next opening up the dialogue to the audience. Many students spoke out about the Asbury bubble and the role diversity plays at Asbury. Louden pulled out a really good point when discussing the nature of diversity at Asbury. I think a lot of times we confuse awareness and engagement, she said. She suggested that Asburians are well aware of many issues happening in the world; however, we often hide in our protective bubble and neglect our Christian duty to engage the world with Christs love and servants heart. In the end, the dialogue on diversity came to this conclusion about the Asbury bubble: it does exist for some people. And its not always a bad thing. Sometimes its OK to have a safe space to learn and grow without the full weight of worldly temptations on your shoulders. However, as Jadhav mentioned in an interview, we must convert the bubble into a filter. Take the Biblical worldview and use it as a filter or a lens to understand...the complex challenges of our times, said Jadhav. Ruiz said that Asbury students can better embrace diversity by cultivating meaningful relationships with people of all backgrounds. Educate yourself on certain issues, she said. Read and be willing to expose yourself to different points of view. Ruiz continued, saying students should be willing to listen to people who say they have been mistreated. Understand that appreciating people from diverse backgrounds or who have different beliefs does not mean that you are expected to compromise yourself or your values. Try not to let fear or discomfort get in the way of reconciliation.

Poor people are lazy. Women cant drive. Muslims are terrorists. Asians are smart. We have all heard and bought into stereotypes at some point in our lives. The good news is we can work past these stereotypes, said Dr. Carey Ruiz, Asburys resident sociologist, at the Filtering the Bubble diversity dialogue in the student center on Tuesday, Oct. 29. The purpose of the event was to create a space for honest dialogue and discussion amongst our student body, said Director of Intercultural Programs Esther Jadhav. It was encouraging to hear [the] students dialogue. Ruiz, professor of sociology, studied race, class and equality in her post-graduate emphasis. At the diversity dialogue event, she gave a presentation defining and explaining the idea of stereotypes. Ruiz defined a stereotype as a faulty generalization of people based on a kernel of truth. She made the point that stereotypes are faulty because they are based on generalizations. By nature, generalizations overlook individuals. One person may fit into the mold of a certain stereotype, however that does mean every other person of a similar background share in that stereotype. The dialogue then moved toward how Asbury students view diversity. Until we are faced with something directly or an issue becomes impor-