Where Are They
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In 2003, after realizing that my passion for dancing far outweighed my intense displeasure at having to wear the color pink, I joined Ann Arbor Dance Classics. For the next 12 years, until my high school graduation, I danced with AADC; joining the Youth Dance Ensemble in 2008 and teaching ballet in my final year. I am currently attending Georgetown University, majoring in Justice and Peace Studies and Women and Gender Studies. Outside of classes, I am involved in multiple organizations that advocate for gender equality on- and off-campus. While at Georgetown, I have also been blessed with the opportunity to travel, most recently to Israel and hopefully to South Africa in the spring. I plan to graduate in 2019 and pursue a legal career pertaining to equal rights issues.
Dancing has always been a release for me, a place where I could explore my emotions while simultaneously distancing myself from the stress and anxieties I experienced. Although I am not dancing with a company at Georgetown, I often find myself dancing around my room, wandering into the empty studios on campus, and taking dance classes as often as I can. Dance has taught me much about myself; I have discovered the power of discipline, the reward of dedication, the value of diversity, the meaning of community, and so much more. I am incredibly grateful to have found a lifelong home at Ann Arbor Dance Classics, full of individuals who continually inspire me to boldly live life. It is undoubtedly because of my time at AADC that I find myself where I am today. Ann Arbor Dance Classics will forever be in my heart and dance will forever be in my life.
I moved to Saline when I was about 5 and my mom put me into dance class at AADC shortly after we moved. I moved with AADC through 3 different studios and many other changes as I grew up. I was never a super skilled dancer but I LOVED dancing and the people I was surrounded by at my dance studio. It was nice to get out of the Saline school system and meet friends from other schools who I connected with. I made lifelong friends at AADC as well as some wonderful memories. I still talk with many of these friends today. Lisa and Deena I considered to be my second mothers and they had a very large impact on my life growing up.
I graduated high school in 2008 and attended nursing school at Grand Valley where I graduated in 2011. I came back to Ann Arbor to live and work because I love it here. I have been working as a pediatric nurse at Mott Children’s Hospital for the last 5 years and will be attending U of M’s nursing graduate school this fall to become a pediatric nurse practitioner.
In my free time I no longer dance but enjoy running and triathlon training, biking, and reading. I am now a homeowner as of last year and this keeps me busy as well. I am engaged to a wonderful engineer named Josh and have been busy wedding planning for next summer. I spend most of my fall Saturdays watching college football ALL day long and am happy to live, work, and go to school in Ann Arbor.
I began dancing, and found my home, at Ann Arbor Dance Classics around the age of 7. From jazz with Miss Lisa to ballet with Miss Deena, and all the other genres and teachers in between, I couldn't get enough dance! I was a proud member of Youth Dance Ensemble for several years, and in high school, was a creative dance and preballet instructor. My passion for dance, and the training I received at AADC, fueled my decision to pursue dance as a career post graduation. I studied dance performance and received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with Honors from Wayne State University. After working in Ann Arbor and Detroit with small companies and projects after college, I decided to move to the 'Windy City' to pursue more new and exciting opportunities in performance.
Currently, I work and thrive as a dance and fitness professional: performing, teaching, and collaborating in and around the amazing city of Chicago. I am a part of J. Lindsay Brown Dance Company, a professional modern dance company, and perform regularly as a featured dancer with Light Opera Works, a prestigious musical theatre company. It is without a doubt that the experiences, technique, and opportunities I received through my training at AADC were the driving force behind not only my career, but the friendships and work ethic that I will carry with me throughout my life. My fondest memories from younger years are Saturday rehearsals before Nutcracker, dressing rooms shenanigans at recital, and hot summer days at the ballet barre. Ann Arbor Dance Classics will always hold a place in my heart and I look forward to seeing how it will continue to positively influence young dancers through movement, friendship, discipline, and love!
I moved to Ann Arbor when I was 5 and joined Ann Arbor Dance Classics shortly after. I spent many years as a dancer and then my freshmen year of high school I became a hip-hop teacher for my last 4 years. I graduated from high school and left Ann Arbor Dance Classics in 2011 to continue on to Michigan State University. Here I am cramming many different majors into 4 years in order to get exactly what I want. I am studying Elementary Education with a minor in Language Arts, as well as Special Education and Early Childhood Development. My ideal job would be the teacher of an Early Childhood Special Education room. I should be graduating in 2015 and then I have a 1-year internship through Michigan State. I hope to move to the west side of the state near the lake and find a teaching job there.
Dance is still a part of my life here at Michigan State. However, it is not as much of a commitment as AADC was, which is good and bad. I have more time for all my schoolwork but I miss having dance everyday. I am in the MSU Dance Club and we dance twice a week. We have 3 group dances, lyrical, jazz and hip-hop. For our end of the year show we can do small groups and solos. Last year and this year I have choreographed my own contemporary solo and have also created small groups with friends. I'm sure everyone will laugh when I say I was voted "best facials" at the end of last year. Dance has helped me meet new people at Michigan State and has kept me very active. Dance has always been in my life for the performance and to help with my stress and anxiety. It gives me that time away from school and work to just relax and be myself. Dance has been a huge part of my past and will be a huge part of my future.
Ann Arbor Dance Classics was the beginning of my dance life. I started when I was 4 years old in 1997. I was there until I graduated in 2011 from Milan High School. I am now attending Western Michigan University and studying dance to become a performer. I have been able to take part in every show that we have had since I've been here. I have worked with KT Nelson from ODC in San Francisco, Lauren Thompson Hall from Los Angeles, Monique Haley from River North in Chicago and many WMU alumni and other guest artists for master classes. I am also a part of our company, Western Dance Project (WDP). We travel around between the Detroit and Chicago areas to perform for everyone we can from elementary schools to high schools and festivals. Outside of the dance world, I work at a vegetable farm during the summers; Zilke Vegetable Farms. It is the hardest, dirtiest, gross job I've had, but I love it. It has taught me many things and many morals, it's also helped me understand eating healthier and has made me try new things. I've also met many great friends at the farm.
Dance has taught me many things, more than just dance. It has taught me how to be around others and appreciate everyone for what they have to offer. It has actually also helped me with approaching people and being out of my comfort zone. Sometimes in dance we have to do things that puts you outside of your box, it's the same thing in every day life and I try to look at it similarly. I have met many great people throughout all my years of dancing. Each and every one of them has taught or inspired me in some way to make me the person I am today.
I danced at AADC from 2001-2011 and student taught for my last three years. I graduated high school in 2011 and continued on to Bowling Green State University. Here I am a double major in Communications and International Studies. These majors have given me so many opportunities including meeting President Obama, traveling to Paris, and the ability to study abroad. I will be traveling to Prague, Czech Republic in the fall of 2013 to study Eastern/Central European politics and government for a semester. After returning from Prague I hope to then intern in Australia for the summer of 2014. I plan to graduate in 2016 and get a job in either an international non-profit organization or the US government.
The AADC family will always have a place in my heart. While at BGSU, I have joined the University Dance Alliance and have both choreographed and danced in biannual performances. Although I am only dancing occasionally now, it will always be a passion of mine. Being at AADC not only gave me the chance to make long-lasting friendships, but it gave me an outlet to express myself and step outside my comfort zone. No matter where I am in the world, I will never forget my AADC family and everything I learned while there.
I started dancing at AADC in 1996 until my high school graduation in 2009, and was a teacher there from 2007-2012. After graduating high school, I began college at the University of Michigan, majoring in environmental science and toxicology. Most of my time at U of M has been spent in a Toxicology lab in the School of Public Health, researching the effects of groundwater pollutants on human health. Since graduating from U of M in December 2012, I have taken my LSAT, with plans to attend law school in a couple of years. Currently, I'm still finishing up my research and applying for environmental fellowships and consulting positions to begin this summer.
Dance and the AADC community have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I am lucky enough to still live near the studio, and love being able to visit, as well as substitute teach for the studio occasionally. Dance has taught me so much about hard work, dedication, and discipline, which has helped me in my research as well as my studies. My love of dance has also allowed me to stay linked to my Indian heritage, as I love to choreograph and perform Bollywood dances at benefits and programs. I even choreographed a Bollywood production number at Ann Arbor Dance Classics for the 2010 benefit show, which was a great experience for me as a teacher.
The teachers and the students at AADC really are a community, and I will never forget the people that I met there. It is a place where lifelong friendships are built over a mutual love of dance, and I am so grateful to have been a part of the community for so long.
I was a dancer at AADC from 1999-2008 and a teacher from 2006-2012. After graduating High School I continued onto the University of Michigan. Since I was still in Ann Arbor I got to keep teaching at AADC throughout college! I also was in RhythM Tap Ensemble, the University of Michigan's only tap dance team, for all 4 years of college and was the director my senior year. I organized the University's largest student dance show, Dance Mix, in 2011 and 2012. So, dance played a huge part in my college life. I met so many amazing people through dance and developed leadership skills that will help me for the rest of my life.
After I graduated college and left AADC, I moved to Tanzania, East Africa! I volunteer at The O'Brien School for the Maasai, which is a primary school in a Maasai village. I love it out here! Even here in Tanzania, I see dance everywhere I go. I see my little students dancing and singing in class; dance is an important part of Maasai culture. I also have friends who are in a break dance crew! For many people here, dance is an escape from the harsh realities of life. I love being able to share my love for dance and what I learned at AADC halfway around the world!
I have plans to return to the United States and pursue a career in Global Public Health so that I can help children all over the world to be healthy and happy.