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My IAB experience

This past Saturday, I celebrated with my entire IAB family at El Prado in Sitges, Spain, a new year of successful graduates, which I was a part of. There are no words to describe how proud, honoured and beyond grateful I am to have spent three extraordinary years at the Institute of the Arts Barcelona.

I will always remember the first time I ever saw the school. It was in February 2014 when I came to Barcelona on holiday with friends. I took a day away from my group of friends to come to Sitges and visit this new Institute. I hadn't even auditioned yet when I new this is where I wanted to be. I entered the impressive modern building and I was instantly filled with light...this light is still with me ever since.

After my audition, months later, I became impatient to hear the news. I was in the library of my high school when I opened my email and there it was. When I read that the audition was successful I stood up from my seat and gasped so loud everyone turned around to stare at me. The first person to hear about my acceptance into the IAB was the librarian of my school. I was so overjoyed...I couldn't stay quiet.

Then the journey began.

Year one. I left home. I met the strangers who I now call my family. I was shy and had a big fear of failure. I remember having a fear of staring for long periods of time into people's eyes...and let me tell you, we did a lot of that in first year. We (as a class) learned all the basic structural tools in becoming performers. We drilled dance technique, we learned how to act, act through song, and how to sing in legit style. We went around all year singing beautiful Golden Age love songs. It was a year of slowly opening up to each other and figuring out how to do what we love to do.

Year two. Well, let's just say year one was only the baby roller coaster. Now, we embarked on the highest and fastest one in the park. With little sleep and food we fought hard to become the best we could be. We now had the tools but had to figure out how to build our sculpture as fast and precise as possible. To do so we needed to understand the depth of who we were as performers. This meant putting our feelings out on the table and starting to take risks...the fear was still there. We grew by putting on our first two full musicals as a class. We began with a show called Merrilly We Roll Along by Stephen Sondheim. This experience bonded us deeply as a group and we became a collaborative and supportive team. We learned the biggest lesson of all: how to listen to each other and focus as performers.

Doing Merrily was my introduction to Stephen Sondheim's work and only the beginning of my love for his music and shows. His genius was beyond of what I new about musical theatre and this is when I discovered how meaningful and deep musical theatre can be. Musicals such as Sunday in the Park with George or Passion are shows that can change people lives forever. They changed mine. They inspired me to be apart of - or to create important artistic works that have meaning and impact in society and most importantly make an audience feel and think. We ended second year by creating our own musicals. In this we developed strong notions about collaboration and creation.

I learned what the necessary level and quantity of work it takes to make a show successful and I love that it takes so much time and effort and energy, it is what makes theatre extraordinary. If it were easy, it would be boring. Oh yes, and I also figured out how to belt which opened up so many new possibilities of styles for me to sing. To find my belt I definitely had to go through many bad notes/shrieks/yelling sounds to finally get something "good". I just had to keep trying till it finally clicked one day. The ups and downs were crazy but it is important to cherish the good and the bad equally as each experience is a learning opportunity.

Year three. I was no longer in the park. I left and found myself in the real world with real responsibilities about becoming my own professional artist. Professionalism was the most popular word in third year. As heavy as this word sounds it is actually freeing to me, as it was now time to make my own decisions and own choices in what and how I performed. Of course it is frightening as you don't have a tutor to tell you exactly what to do anymore. It is time to trust your instinct and make big, bold decisions even if it means falling flat on your face a few times. Luckily we learned in first and second year how to get up and how to help other people get up. My bravery and courage grew so much over the two and half years, that in February 2018 I came up with the crazy idea of putting on my own one woman song concert in March. This was the biggest risk I have ever taken as performer as all my being was at stake. But I trusted that the skills I learned at the IAB would help me through this challenging adventure. So I slipped on my confidence suit and walked out on that stage and became who I have always wanted to be as a performer. The bigger the risk, the bigger the risk of failure but the bigger the impact and the bigger the reward.

I ended my third year at the IAB playing a character (Velma Kelly in Chicago) I never imagined I could accomplish playing truthfully as she was so far away from the person I am. I achieved it in using my belief in myself as a performer and as a person, using my confidence suit and investing myself 100% in the work.

My motto as a performer is: It is never about me. It is about the character, the story and the transmission of it to the audience.

The biggest lesson I have learned at the IAB over all is self-love. The atmosphere of support and love shared throughout the whole institution enables a safe place to be your true authentic self. You can make mistakes and have successes and all will be celebrated. Every step is important and you become important.

I have made friends for life. I have been taught by extraordinary teachers who have a special place in my heart. I have grown to love and accept each individual for their true self. I have found a passion for always wanting to learn more about everything and to better myself. I have learned that what I am now in this moment and the skills I own right now is ENOUGH.

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