Colorado Springs, CO
What drew you to KU?
I loved the atmosphere that KU offers. I never thought I would want to go to a big, public university, but ended up feeling more at home here than I ever did at the small campuses I visited. I distinctly remember walking down Mass Street for the first time and seeing people of all ages in Jayhawk gear, I’m talking newborns to 95 years old. It was heartwarming to see a town with so much pride in the university and students. I also loved that there were so many opportunities and things to get involved in.
When did you know you wanted to pursue dance?
As long as I can remember, I have wanted to dance for my entire life. In elementary school, I would always write ‘dancer’ on the ‘when I grow up I want to be…’ assignments. Even early on in middle school when you start taking career assessments, I thought about pursuing a career in dance. Beginning of high school, I got more serious about it, especially when I began researching colleges, but I also realized at this time that I wanted to study more than just dance. I became dedicated to getting a double major and being able to pursue both my brain and my heart.
Which of your performances/pieces has had a profound impact on you or others
That’s a difficult question. If I had to choose, I would say my senior capstone piece has had the biggest impact on myself and the dancers I chose to be a part of it. I choreographed a dance centered around body image issues in the dance world, which have always impacted me as a 5’0” dancer. I think the discussion we had and the vulnerability my dancers offered impacted all of us in an amazing way. One of the reasons the arts are so special is that you get to share intimate feelings like this with other dancers and an audience.
How do the arts impact your daily life outside of the studio?
I currently am a dance instructor for the Lawrence Arts Center. I teach mostly ballet, jazz and creative movement for preschoolers. I love spending time with all the kids there and teaching them new things. It is a special kind of pride that comes from watching someone grow in their movement and technique and knowing you were part of getting them there!
Who is your biggest inspiration? Personally or professionally?
I would honestly have to say my mom, and that’s both personally and professionally. Although she has nothing to do with dance (besides being a rockin’ dance mom) she is one of the kindest and most empathetic people I know. She excels in her professional life as a therapist and is spoken about so highly by her colleges. The people she helps in their clinic everyday are lucky to have her! If I can be anything like my mom later on in life, I will feel extremely successful.
What is your creative process like?
It is different for every piece. Most of the time, I start by listening to music. It is not always the song I plan on using but sometimes will be. I use the music to let my body relax and just picture movement in my head. It is not usually specific dance moves but more of a flow of movement and shapes that develop alongside the music. I use that visualization to start the choreography process and then go from there. Music is super important to me.
What message do you hope to communicate through dance?
Confidence, self-love, dedication and passion. I would say those four things are the most important to me when I dance, and I would want others to feel the same thing. I have been dedicated to dance since 3 years old, and that passion has held me through all the way until now! I love getting to share what I love with others.
What advice would you give to people thinking about studying dance in college?
To be open to trying new things and expanding your artistry. I would have never expected to learn some of the things that I have and can sincerely say that I have grown from each opportunity pushed at me. College is a time for growth, so don’t be afraid to push yourself!
How do you take care of your body or unwind after an especially difficult day of rehearsals?
I like to go home, eat, have a cup of tea and take a long shower. If I’m feeling motivated, I’ll take the time to roll out my muscles or stretch. Honestly, the biggest thing for me is getting to bed as soon as possible!
Why do you think the arts are important?
I think the arts allow people to express themselves in an entirely different way. There’s something unique about being able to physically show your passions and share that with other people. I would not be the person I am without dance, and I think it is important for other people to be able to experience those levels of intimacy and feelings.
If you could invite five people to a dinner party, living or deceased, who would you invite?
I would invite Martin Luther King Jr., Ellen DeGeneres, Ryan Reynolds, Melanie Moore, and Marilyn Monroe.
What would be the theme song for your life?
I could probably change this answer by the day, but right now I would say “I Lived” by OneRepublic. I love this song, and its message to live life to the fullest!