Kinsey has loved swing music for the longest time, but she finally got to start learning how to swing dance last summer with the Lindy and Blues Organization in Philly. She went to as many events as she could in order to pick up the skill she’s desired to learn since the age of thirteen. Learning any skill presents challenges, and when she started, Kinsey felt really bad about asking people to dance with her because she was not very good, and did not want to ruin their good time. With the desire to achieve her dream in mind, Kinsey pushed past all the missteps and the frustrated partners and kept practicing. At summer’s end, Kinsey really started to develop a sense for swing dance.
By the time the school year rolled around, Kinsey decided to try out for UPenn’s West Philly Swingers. After an intense tryout process, the West Philly Swingers welcomed Kinsey as one of their newbies. With the Swingers, Kinsey found a close group of supportive people who share her love for swing dance.
Kinsey considers swing dancing to be her happy place. She will have the privilege of choreographing a piece for the West Philly Swingers’ next show, showing how far she has come on her swing dancing journey. She promises to always stay true to the love of swing dance. According to her, nothing compares to the “feeling of dancing with a fantastic lead.” Swing dance has become and invaluable part of her life, and any time she is having a bad day she can turn to swing dance to cheer her up.
Photography and Text by Adrian White, Copyright 2015
About the Author: Adrian White is a senior Psychology major at the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2015.
Nicola and I were randomly matched together as roommates freshman year. We knew nothing of each other. I didn’t know her favorite color, her favorite song, her favorite food, her dreams, her aspirations, her fears… and she of me. Here we are four years later and I know more about her than I think she know about herself. I came to Penn not knowing anybody and I would have never thought 4 years later that I would have a new sister, a best friend, a confidant, a lifelong friend. She is absolutely beautiful, inside and out. She showed me that I can overcome any challenges that may be thrown at me during my lifetime, and believed in me when it seemed no one else would. She inspires me with her unrelenting faith and indominable spirit in any situation. We have seen each other at our highest highs and our lowest lows.
These photos represent the joys we have had together and also the sorrow and sadness we have carried each other through. At times just her presence saved me from abandoning my dreams. Never in my life would I have imagined that one person in such a short time could have such a lasting impact on me. It was an easy choice to pick Nicola, because she has been my constant companion, and a daily inspiration to me for the past four years. She has one of the kindest souls I ever had the privilege to meet. The best gifts she has given me did not come in packages wrapped in red ribbon: she gave me the ability to believe in myself, and taught me by example how important it is to put others first. Sometimes people who are in your life only briefly leave a more lasting impression on you than those who have been with you forever. Because of her, I grow where I am planted, and am blooming into something truly spectacular. I am, without question, a better friend, teammate, sister, and overall, a better person because of her. This project is a tribute to the one and only, Nicola Gale Barnes.
Photography and Text by Alexis Borden, Copyright 2015
About the Author: Alexis Borden is a senior Biology and pre-med major at the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2015.
Posted on January 21, 2015, by Roberta Fallon (TheArtBlog.org)
A Photographic Exhibition by Harvey Finkle at the main branch of theFree Library of Philadelphia Until 2/15/15 in Conjunction with “One Book, One Phildelphia.”
An historic, exciting transformation is occurring in this unique neighborhood, South Philadelphia, the original destiny for immigrants arriving in this city during the last decades of the 19th century and early 20th century. This diminishing population of descendents of European immigrants from over a century ago are being replaced today by immigrants from a variety of other countries, but bringing the same energy, values and hopes brought by their predecessors a century ago. As a Jewish community that some once estimated at a quarter million evaporated and the Italian community slowly shrinks, they are being replaced by Indochinese from Cambodian, Vietnam and Laos; by Indonesians of both Christian and Muslim faiths; by Mexicans and most recently by refugees from Nepal and Burma.
South Philadelphia is a microcosm of what is occurring in old neighborhoods of many large cities throughout the country. New immigrants and refugees are revitalizing urban neighborhoods with their energy and commitment that emulate what prior immigrants brought. Homes, shops and restaurants, once vacant and deteriorating are being regenerated; schools are being refilled; even religious facilities are being restored or constructed to reflect the varied belief systems of these new arrivals. Simply put, they work hard, want to live in safety, raise their families, educate their children and worship without fear.
This is a unique historic moment. The issues of immigration are once more at the forefront of a national discussion. Immigration will continue to be a natural occurrence throughout a globalizing world, imposing the need for major political and policy decisions. Social movements have already blossomed. An organized, informed grass roots effort can influence and enable beneficial decisions. This work can offer some small contribution to the already existing local and national discussion.