In the beginning...
I started dancing at the age of five in Anchorage, Alaska at a local dance studio. My mom took me to the studio's recital and when I wanted to dance in the aisles instead of sitting and watching the show my mom knew she needed to sign me up for classes. I started studying tap and acrobatics which to this day I credit the acro classes with my ability to hold any kind of stand: headstand, elbowstand, and handstand!
When I got older I began taking jazz and ballet. In middle school I switched to another dance school that had a pre-professional program. Here I gained so much of my technical education in dance that would help me later become a professional dancer. The school was Alaska Dance Theatre. I was so lucky to study with some remarkable and inspirational teachers one of the being ADT's former Artistic Director Alice Sullivan. Her teaching and the experiences I gained performing and dancing through my high school years helped me decide to study dance in college.
I went to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah and received my Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Modern Dance in 2005. I absolutley loved my four years of college! It was hard work but the chance to get a degree in something I loved was amazing! We took classes like dance history, kiniesiology, composition, a 2 hour modern technique class, and ballet and jazz. We were able to watch three of the local dance companies (Ririe Woodbury, Repertory Dance Theatre, and Ballet West) perform on a regular basis and then we got to perform as well as part of Performing Dance Company. The scariest part was graduating because professional dance jobs, especially for female dancers, are very hard to get. There are just so many dancers and not enough full time dance jobs. I went to one audition in NYC after I graduated that had 500 women auditioning for one spot!
What does a dancer do after college? Most move to a big city to audition but I didn't have enough money to live in New York City or San Francisco yet. So I moved back to Alaska for the year and lived with my parents. It was a fantastic year actually because I saved money, got to dance at Alaska Dance Theatre as a part time dancer, and teach at yoga and modern classes at ADT. I also worked my first restaurant job at an amazing place bussing and serving. The restaurant was ORSO in downtown Anchorage and that's where I learned alot about cooking and food.
Luckily, that year I recieved a email about an audition for female dancers wanted for Ririe Woodbury Dance Company in Salt Lake City. While I wasn't ready to move back to SLC (I wanted to try out big city life in NYC or SF) I went to the audition. At the audition, I made it to the end and was invited to the call back auditions a couple of months later. After that, I found out that I had gotten one of the two positions available. They also hired another new woman and man that year as well. I was so excited and felt like all my hard work since I started dancing when I was little had paid off!
Five years later...
I've now been dancing professionally with Ririe Woodbury Dance Company for five seasons. Time really does fly by! My job has taken me to Europe multiple times and to many places in the United States that I would have never visited without this job. It's a tough job. We work alot of weeks, and don't get paid alot of money. However, I get paid enough to have a comfortable lifestyle and there are alot of benefits to the job. Plus, living in SLC is alot less expensive then if I was a dancer in a bigger city!
In January 2009, one of my dreams of a little girl came true when the company toured to Anchorage, Alaska. I always would go and watch professional companies perform at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. My dream was to get in to a professional dance company that would tour to AK and perform for my hometown audience. That's exactly what happened to me! A dream come true!
Here is a link to an article they wrote about me:
Check out my dance company's website for info on what and where we are performing! We are lucky to also perform the works of Alwin Nikolais in addition to our other repertory.
Here is an example of some of our contemporary repertory:
Some of our Alwin Nikolais Repertory:
Some of our Educational Outreach:
An interview from a Rural Tour: