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Dancing Through Life: How Dance Program Alumni Are Staying Involved After Graduation

NC State Dance Program Dancers

“What are you doing after graduation?”

This question is often repeated and always dreaded by underclassmen and upperclassmen alike. Former Dance Program students have faced this dilemma head-on, prepared with the unique experiences and life skills earned through their time dancing at NC State. Combining their dance training and the knowledge from their academic courses, these alumni have forged non-traditional paths in the post-grad world. You can find NC State alumni teaching dance locally, performing in productions, or choreographing their own works.

Several graduates have found themselves in new roles in the Dance Program, transitioning from a student to a staff member. After graduating from the Panoramic Dance Project, Alexandra Burchette returned to NC State to serve as the Dance Program Assistant. In this role, she handles administrative tasks and creates content to promote annual programming. Alexandra has also taken advantage of performance opportunities since graduation, one being the Dance Program Faculty Concert last spring. Another alumnus who returned to NC State as a staff member is John Robinson-Miller IV, who currently works as a Program Coordinator in the African American Cultural Center.

You can find other alumni back in the studio this year, as they choreograph works on the Panoramic Dance Project, one of the two academic dance companies housed in the Dance Program. Brooke Yannayon ‘18 returned this fall to set a tap piece on her former peers. Her piece can be seen in the Fall Concert on November 21-22, 2019, in Stewart Theatre.

Matthew Wright ‘19 choreographed a piece on the Panoramic Dance Project dancers last year. He returned this fall to teach an Urban Choreography Master Class that was open to all NC State students, faculty, and staff.

It isn’t just the career opportunities that keep alumni coming back to dance at their alma mater. The dance faculty have created a welcoming culture that encourages former dancers to stay involved, even just for a visit.

“Tara [Mullins] and Francine [Ott] both are always welcoming to alumni when they come to campus or stop by a rehearsal, and I really appreciate that,” says Wright. “Tara is a great resource for artistic development and idea building.”

Long after graduation, the Dance Program still serves as a support system and artistic resource for many alumni.

Despite the different routes these alumni have taken, they all agree that their time in the Dance Program has allowed them to seek unique opportunities, prepared with the experiences they shared while dancing at NC State.