Many Gusties study abroad at least once in their Gustavus career. How many can say they traveled to Israel and studied dance for a year?
Jordan Lovestrand from Bloomington, Minnesota was able to study at the Rothberg International School and Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.
“It was spontaneous.” Jordan said. “I wasn’t even expecting to study abroad. There was this gut feeling that just kept telling me to go to Israel.”
A member of Cornerstone Grace Church group and the Gustavus Dance Company, Jordan found excitement and new challenges in his travels.
“Many challenges came up. Many circumstances made me reevaluate my beliefs, specifically religiously, politically, and socially,” Jordan said. “I had to evaluate why I dance because being in a new environment you naturally have questions that arise.”
Jordan’s passion for dance fortified when he started dancing professionally.
“I got to be a part of a new creative process called Memoranaum as well as many different repertoire such as On The Edge, Living In a Movie, Steven Was Wrong, and White Shadow,” Jordan said.
After returning from living in downtown Jerusalem, Jordan found that he soon missed speaking Hebrew.
“The language is very direct.” Jordan said. “It is very special to me because I got to be in a community that spoke Hebrew fluently and I miss speaking another tongue.”
“He’s an indomitable resilience of spirit.” — Melissa Rolnick
Jordan’s return to the United States was marked with introversion along with the loss of the Hebrew language. However, his friend and fellow dancer Allison Retterath has always found Jordan to be dedicated to community.
“He genuinely cares about his friends,” Retterath said. “He is so welcoming to new member of the dance company or people just taking a dance class for fun.”
Retterath first met Jordan when she was a first-year choreographer for the Gustavus Dance Company’s Annual Shared Space Concert.
“I was very scared meeting all the upperclassmen choreographers. However, Jordan didn’t question me for trying to choreograph my first year. He actually welcomed me like I’d been in the Gustavus Dance Company forever.”
Their friendship grew since, and they bonded over their love for Disney movies such as the recent hit, Moana.
Jordan has formed valuable bonds with fellow dancers that he considers “family tree” members. He also gained a mentor in the form of Associate Professor Melissa Rolnick.
“Jordan has been my student since the spring of 2014,” Professor Rolnick said. “This semester he has been my TA for Fundamental Modern Dance and I have been choreographing a solo for him, in collaboration with him.”
Rolnick believes that Jordan is a dedicated student who upholds the values of Gustavus.
“Jordan is a compassionate person, thinking about, caring for and serving others in a multitude of ways,” Rolnick said. “He’s an indomitable resilience of spirit.”
So what are the next steps in life for this Gustie? Jordan will continue to pursue his dream to return and dance in Israel again. He already has planned to move back to Israel next winter to go through a Batsheva intensive and audition for the Batsheva ensemble.
“I have this dream on a weekly basis that I must return to Israel.” Explains Jordan. “I want to dance at Batsheva Dance Company.”