Tufts in Talloires: Dancing to your heart’s desire

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program are blogging their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

By Hernan Gallegos

The site of Hernan's improv class.

The site of Hernan’s class on dance, movement, and the creative process.

If I were to tell you to close your eyes and dance like no one is around, would you do it? How about in a room with 15 others? That, mi amigo, was the introduction to my “Dance, Movement, and Creative Process” course.

Within the first few classes, every student enrolled felt some form of discomfort with certain activities within the course.  Wouldn’t you feel the same way when you are expected to move around the room like noodles from a ramen cup? I was as stiff as those noodles before being cooked. I didn’t understand the purpose until I read the required readings.

Improvisation was the main aspect of the course—how we move within our own boundaries, both mentally and physically. At first, I took improvising as its literal definition: “create and perform spontaneously or without preparation.” But after reading the articles, I was compelled to view improvisation as a multivariable process. My engineering mind obviously kicked in, thinking of multivariable calculus.

The mind isn’t the only thing that contributes to improvising. The people, feelings, sounds, and atmosphere all contribute to one’s idea of improvising. It isn’t something procedural. It’s something that goes along with the ideas of an engineer, but with a more human twist.

The more time I spend in this course, the more human I feel. At first, I thought many of the ideas contradicted those of an engineer. But thinking more into it, I feel like it helps give more of an open perspective for an engineer. For me, it is a way of escaping the engineering mentality and remembering that I am still human with many uncertainties. Knowing that, I can use that mentality to go headfirst into the world. Huh, doesn’t that sound familiar?

Hernan Gallegos is a rising sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in mechanical engineering.

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