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MFA, Dance, 25 Years Experience as Artist and Dancer

Born in New York and raised in Connecticut, for the past X years, I have made my home in North Carolina, continuing to advance my career as an artist, a dancer, and a teacher. My goal is to earn my MFA at Duke University with a focus on dance, complementing the two Master's Degrees that I have already earned, first an MS in Organizational Management in Vermont as well as my MA in Art Business at Sotheby's Institute of Art in London, England. I am convinced that my more than 25 years of experience as an artist and dancer will enable me to make valuable contributions to discussions at XXXX concerning dance and its relationship to the broader academic and art worlds of our times.

Now, with more than a quarter of a century of professional experience centered on dance – performing, teaching, and choreography, I have become proficient in a wide variety of dance techniques and styles and have become accomplished at teaching dance. I take delight in the relationship between dance and culture and now want to give my fullest attention to the visual aspects that impact dance, keeping it alive and developing as an integral part of culture.

Research stands at the center of my long-term professional plans, especially inter-disciplinary research into disabilities associated with aging. I very much look forward to traveling as part of my research as well as teaching and passing on the torch to new generations of artists and scholars. Few things excite me as much as the prospect of teaching dance, movement, and visual culture, serving in a uniquely creative environment where research and departmental growth are revered, and collaboration between professors, students, and other departments are encouraged to fully maximize artistic choice.

I hold certifications in Yoga, Gyrotonic®, and Gyrokinesis® and have performed with diverse dance companies and in many musicals. My special passion lies in techniques from Contemporary, Ballet, and African dance. The choreographers that I have worked closely with include Patrick LaCroix (Massachusetts) Kelly Holcombe (Connecticut), the Alvin Ailey Student Group (New York City) Pierre Matras (Zurich) Misato Heimann-Inoue (Bern) and Maja Zurburchen (Bern). My foremost mentors include Arlene Begelman, Ana Marie Forsythe, Kevin Wynn, Gerrie Houlihan, and Irene Tassembedo. Presently I am rehearsing with Gerrie Houlihan for an upcoming performance at Duke. This coming February 29th, I will give an intention-based Gyrokinesis class as part of the Culture Mill's Black History Month Celebration in Saxapahaw.

Dance is composed of streams of movement and pauses and has been a steady constant in my life. Academically as well as professionally, I have maintained over two decades of conceptual continuity, developing myself as an artist and a human, made up of different streams of movement and pauses. I now crave the opportunity to gain further academic experience and professional preparation by earning my MFA in Dance at a state-of-the-art university such as Duke, where I plan to become a stronger conceptual thinker and learn to focus my energy better to make my maximum contribution to society.

It is my hope that my background and extensive experience will enable me to contribute to the rich tapestry of the XXXX MFA in Dance Program. I am especially looking forward to interdisciplinary collaboration, access to a robust support system of solidarity and collaboration between artists, thinkers, and esteemed scholars in the realms of performing and visual arts, sociology, and health studies. This will prepare me for the rigorous investigation of dance, movement, visual art, and healthy aging through research that is trans-disciplinary in its method, creating, publishing and performing for the greater good through the exploration of social issues engaging with the community.

Many wonderful experiences in learning as an undergraduate student at the School of the Museum and Fine Arts and the XXXX School of Dance, helped me to synthesize my voice with my abilities as a creator of visual and performing arts. However, especially as someone who fully embraces lifetime learning, I feel that my current education level fails to offer me adequate opportunities to continue to advance as an artist and educator. Thus, I feel that I need to earn the MFA to re-gain my momentum as an intellectual and a teacher as well as a dancer.

I have spent my life living amongst many different people and their cultures, at a variety of socio-economic levels. My work with various adult day facilities as a coordinator of activities, director, and dementia practitioner, particularly my work with Parkinson's Moves initiatives, has given me a great desire to encourage and assist people to engage in practices beneficial to themselves and their society – especially as they age. Obtaining an MFA in Dance from XXXX will provide me with a platform to share my findings through teaching, publishing, performing: unraveling, expanding, and reinventing my practice.

I am especially excited by the possibility of teaching at a collegiate level after earning my MFA at XXXX. It will inspire and empower me to give back my very best to the Arts, my profession, and my society.

I thank you for considering my application to the MFA in Dance Program at XXXX.

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