Tuesday, June 15, 2010

graduates who soar

Ask any teacher what makes their career worthwhile and one of the responses is likely to be following students' achievements and accomplishments beyond the classroom. Shanleigh just sent us an update on her adventures since leaving GMU:

"As a lover of profound and inspirational quotes, I find one to be quite fitting for the beginning of my life as a George Mason University(GMU) graduate. Phil Cousineau once said, ‘Now is the time to live your ideal life.’ After four incredible years spent gaining a very well-rounded knowledge of dance and its many facets coupled with constant inspiration from an esteemed faculty, I approached May without fearing the word ‘alumni.’ I found myself to be rather excited as I embarked upon the continuation of my dreams. The next chapter: New York City. I certainly would not have acquired the incredible internship I currently hold at Mark Morris Dance Center without the help of faculty members Dan Joyce and Karen Reedy - both of whom have danced for Mark Morris Dance Group and have played a crucial role in creating an excellent relationship between GMU and the Mark Morris Dance Center.

Since I have been in New York City, I have also realized the strong presence that the GMU Dance Department has created for itself in this mecca of dance. In just three short weeks, I have seen nearly fifteen current and alumni GMU dancers, two of which, Billy Smith and Rita Donahue, I see every day as they are current members of Mark Morris Dance Group. As I attend performances and meet dancers from around the world who share the same love for the New York City dance scene as I do, it is not often that GMU is unheard of, in fact it is usually quite the opposite. Many people speak very highly of the program, and I feel even more proud of the degree I have earned from such a respected program. Mason dancers are ‘well-trained,’ ‘disciplined,’ ‘respectful,’ and are ‘a pleasure to work with.’ Naturally, I couldn't agree more. Some see New York City as an overwhelming place, where one can easily drown in a sea of talent, but thus far, I have found it tough to feel defeated, knowing that a plethora of fellow graduates are within arms reaching, ready and willing to help you find success. Whether it is informing a friend of an audition, introducing them to fellow dancers or arts administrators, or helping to find an apartment, this mutual desire to promote GMU is comforting and quite admirable. While the realities of excessively high rent payments and many other bills, in addition to the daily cost of living in this extravagant city can become frustrating, it is all worthwhile for the many moments that I realize I am truly living the beginning of my dream life."

photo caption: GMU dancers making quite an entrance! Alumni and current majors taking in a performance by Parson Dance on June 2nd at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center in New York City

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