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Check out Sidney Ramsey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sidney Ramsey.

Sidney, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Growing up in Columbia, South Carolina, I began my dance training at Columbia City Jazz Conservatory. At CCJC, I took classes in all dance styles but particularly focused on my ballet and contemporary training. I also attended a very academically-rigorous high school and devoted an equal amount of time and attention to my studies there. Approaching college, I knew I wanted to continue to dance but without sacrificing the same level of academics I had been fortunate enough to receive in high school. USC offered me the opportunity to double major- dividing my time between a world-renowned dance program at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and the second degree in Health and the Human Sciences. I am now a junior at USC and have loved my time spent here exploring the two disciplines and how they interact. Working with Kaufman Professor Patrick Corbin, I acted as a research assistant in evaluating the relationship between gerontology and dance– how dance’s mental and physical effects can manifest into holistic health improvements. Most recently, I have begun my independent research into dancers’ quality of life as I conduct a longitudinal study of BFA dancers within Kaufman and their physical, mental, and social health progressions. Ultimately, I would love to dance in a company after graduation while continuing my research with gerontology to discover how dancers can sustain longer careers while maintaining optimal functioning.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
As a dancer, I move both with my body and my mind. I have always thought of dance as the ultimate form of a mind-body connection, denying the stereotype of it being a purely physical act. As dancers, we are even more attuned to and aware of ourselves and our conditions. We have learned to understand and balance external forces and weight, contextualize dance practices in their relevant cultural histories, develop complex and mathematical scores or count structures, and collaborate openly with other people of diverse backgrounds. There are inherent thoughtfulness and active research within dance that cannot be found in any other practice. My inclination towards logic, stemming from my academic interests, has driven my approach to perform and choreographing as I am constantly creating new challenges or posing questions for myself. Choreographically, I also will draw inspiration from writing poetry, a hobby I picked up in high school. I have enjoyed writing both formally structured poetry and a freer verse/stream of consciousness pieces. The freedom and personal significance of writing have allowed me to create movement in similar ways while drawing from the written content for thematic ideas.

What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
Success varies greatly for each person. I don’t believe that there is a single objective definition of success that applies to each artist or individual, but rather I form my idea of success based on the values that I find most important. To me, success is a feeling of personal satisfaction with the work and effort required. It arises from the process of creating not the final product and, most importantly, is only possible if achieved through honesty and authenticity. I hope that all artists deny the pressure of conformity or meeting set societal standards, and instead, we can open ourselves up to experimentation and personal freedom. In focusing on curiosity and challenging ourselves, rather than aiming to meet a socially constructed standard of success, we can grow more confident in our work without losing sight of what we deem most significant.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
As a current student at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, I perform throughout the year at shows on the USC campus or surrounding area. Kaufman produces fall and spring repertory shows where students perform a variety of pieces choreographed by world-renowned choreographers. I also present my work in our student choreography shows usually at the end of each semester. This spring USC Kaufman will be performing at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica April 17-19. Also, this spring, the Southern California Choreographic Collective (SCCC), a club at USC raising money for Dancers Raising Awareness for AIDS, is presenting two shows in April and May that I will perform in. To find more information about all of these upcoming shows, you can follow my personal social media below or that of the USC Glorya Kaufman School and SCCC (@sccc_official).

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Amanda Ferguson
Benjamin Peralta (Photo from “Conjectures. of Use” by Sidney Ramsey, Matthew Perko, and Zack Torres)
Mary Mallaney (Photo from “Delicate Balance” by Jodie Gates)
Julien Benhamou
Heather Toner

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