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21st Century Intern Travelogue: Kandis Terry

By UMS Education

“My summer experience as one of four UMS interns is one that I cannot put into words. This opportunity not only gave me the chance to grow as a student, but also gave me every tool I didn’t know I needed to heal as an artist.”

Kandis Terry spent the summer of 2018 in New York City with Camille A. Brown & Dancers (CABD) as part of her 21st Century Internship — a program in collaboration with UMS and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

The best part of my time as a 21st Century Intern was that I was able to surround myself with all types of artists from diverse cultures and ancestral backgrounds. I realize that I have a voice and that my quality of movement matters. I saw the possibilities and wonders that artistic “creation”—specifically that of Black Women—can do. Through Camille’s artistry and leadership, and with her unique administrative team, I have been able to make many new professional connections and forge relationships. Here are two of my favorite experiences from my summer:

Dance/USA Annual Conference

Jim Leija, Kandis TerryOne of the most memorable experiences from my internship was attending the extraordinary Dance/USA annual conference in Los Angeles. There I engaged in a delightful conversation with leaders representing many demographics about social stature, gender, and race within movement and culture—in particular, Black men, women, boys, and girls. Although these topics are not always given the spotlight or recognition in what is known today as a common and adequate professionalism in the art of dance, Camille’s work gives voice to social issues that have been presumably swept under the rug for a long time.

Gibney Dance Center Educational Panel

Camille A. Brown, Kandis Terry, Indira Goodwine

Camille A. Brown, Kandis Terry, Indira Goodwine

Much of my time in New York was surrounded around mental health awareness. I had the pleasure of working with CABD’s Managing Director Indira Goodwine, whose sense of positive morale and work ethic I really looked up to. She taught me to grow and continue be the best version of myself, or at least strive to be.

On my first day of my internship, I observed her talk as part of a three-member panel at the Gibney Dance Choreographic Center, which represented a perfect balance of poise, eloquence, and artistic measure. Each artist spoke to their unique experiences as a professional dancer up to this point in their respective careers.

Indira was the only woman on panel, and encouraged all of the women in the room to pursue a successful career in the arts profession. She spoke about how incorporating mental wellness in your work field or place environment contributes to one’s success and overall happiness in life, with some wise words on how to conclude each day:

  • “We are in charge of what, when, and how we make both sense of and success with the findings we collect from our artistic research.”
  • “What you have to offer is more than you know.”
  • “Language matters.”

CABD dancer Maleek Washington was also on the panel, and offered great advice to those in attendance:

  • Know who you are as a person and who you are as a dancer.
  • Instagram gives you instant access to publicity at your fingertips.
  • ‘Word of Mouth’ is important.
  • Go see shows, take class!
  • Put in hard work now.

Gibney Dance Center Educational Panel

It was a great way to start my internship! From that point on I knew it was my job and my responsibility to capture and embrace all of the tasks and opportunities presented to me over these next upcoming summer months.

While at U-M, my educational experience has been enriched but challenging. This internship saved me. It showed me that many artists of color struggle with mental wellness. In response and efforts to address this epidemic, we must be resilient and push forward with our talents and passion for creativity.

At times I have felt lost, but my 21st Century Internship experience, in its entirety, was an affirmation for me, and the beginning to my course and journey towards healing and setting new goals.

Kandis Terry in NYC

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