Introduction and Interview by Caroline Skou, Holy Cross '20
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Uncertain, unprecedented, unpredictable—words that have been used to describe the time we’re living through, and words I will be erasing from my vocabulary when this is all over. For Daniella, a senior at William and Mary, these words followed her to Charleston during her spring break in March; the uncertainty about if the school is going to shut down, the unpredictable future of her dance career. As the visibility officer of her Dance team, The Company, Daniella and her teammates had put countless hours into preparing for final performances for their senior spring. Yet it only took a few minutes and one swift email from the administration, to end their performance before it started.
For this installment of the MMXX series, I interviewed Daniella Superlano about how she had remained positive, and dancing, despite these unprecedented times.
This was incredibly heartbreaking for us as seniors, we had worked all year towards choreographing and dancing in the upcoming show
Could you walk us through how you found out about your school closing, where you were, what the first thing you thought? I was in Charleston, South Carolina for my spring break trip with the other seniors from my dance company. A few of us had just gotten back from a dance conference the weekend before and had all driven down to Charleston together. We were all excited for our upcoming show, but feeling very nervous about how the school’s decisions would affect our performance. At this point it was the only thing people could talk about, every time we passed other college students around we would hear them talking about their school’s plans. We had not heard from our school yet, but knew it was not looking good, especially for the fate of our performance scheduled for the last week of March. Towards the end of our spring break we got an email from the school saying spring break was extended a week in preparation for classes moving online until April 3. At this point, we all assumed we would return to school in April, but that already meant our show was cancelled. This was incredibly heartbreaking for us as seniors, we had worked all year towards choreographing and dancing in the upcoming show. The extent of the situation hadn’t hit us yet, but there was an incredible heaviness on our minds realizing that we would not get our final performance. Going back to campus to get our things made everything seem like a reality. Everyone was fitting in their goodbyes, trying not to think of the possibility of us not ever going back to campus (we did eventually move online for the rest of the semester). It did not fully hit me until my friends started packing up and leaving. Most seniors that lived off campus were trying to stay in town, but eventually we packed our bags and moved home.
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Working so hard towards something that doesn’t even get to happen seems so unrewarding, but I am glad I still have all the memories from the rehearsal process.
How has the virus affected you both academically and socially? Is there any event in particular that you're missing? The biggest heartbreak to me is not being able to dance in our final show. Working so hard towards something that doesn’t even get to happen seems so unrewarding, but I am glad I still have all the memories from the rehearsal process. The best part of Orchesis, the dance company at William and Mary, is the people! I am missing my dance friends like crazy, especially knowing that the end of the year (when we get more free time after the show is over) is when we always have the most fun.
What are some fun and/or unique ways you’re keeping busy at home? Zoom has quite literally taken over my life. If I am not in class on Zoom, I am with my friends on Zoom. My dance company has even had stretching sessions over zoom! Being a social person, staying away from people has been pretty difficult. Having snapchat, instagram, and facetime all make it pretty easy to stay connected, especially when everyone is bored at home. I have been really into TikTok dances since I’ve been stuck at home. My sister, who is a freshman at William and Mary, also helps keep me entertained. I have also spent a lot of time working on my handstands, so I am definitely coming out of this quarantine with some new tricks! As soon as this is over, all I want to do is be back with my friends at William and Mary to have a few last great memories of college.