After a wonderfully long and luxurious holiday break at home with my family, it was finally time for me to head back to the windy city. However, I haven’t come …
After receiving my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Dance from Michigan State University, I cannot wait to dive into my first year of the Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling MA program here at Columbia College Chicago. I couldn’t imagine a better place to learn more about my passion! I truly believe that dance is integral to each of our lives and that the body, mind and spirit hold the key to our healing.
Tell us a little bit about what you were doing before you came to Columbia.
I have been dancing for about 17 years now. I have an extensive background in modern, ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, hip-hop, pointe and I’m always looking for a new class to take. One of my biggest passions has always been teaching, and I also love to choreograph whenever I get the chance. At Michigan State University I was able to further my dance career on a more professional level. I not only performed in several dance concerts, but also choreographed and was given the opportunity to be a producer. As president of MSU Orchesis Dance, I was able to continue spreading the importance of dance as a significant art form within the community in an enriching and meaningful way. I was also able to attend the American College Dance Festival Association conference several times where I continued to discover the overarching power that movement holds. I discovered Dance/Movement Therapy as a freshman in college and knew it was the perfect career choice for me. I continued my undergrad with a direct focus on how I could incorporate Dance/Movement Therapy into my education and future.
Why did you choose Columbia for your graduate study?
Being a dancer, I have always had a strong passion for movement. However, my other passion has also been psychology and the complexities of the human mind. It was always difficult for me to differentiate the two worlds, because I believe they are so dynamically intertwined. Movement can provide a powerful outlet for healing on a physical, mental and spiritual level. Our bodies are sacred landscapes which can reveal an abundant amount of information if they are properly explored. I believe in this idea so strongly that I could not think of a better profession for me to pursue other than Dance/Movement Therapy. After some extensive research during my undergrad, I knew that Columbia College Chicago was going to be the perfect fit for me.
Columbia College Chicago is one of the few schools with a Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling MA program approved by the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA). Columbia is also one of the few graduate programs that provides an opportunity to become a licensed professional counselor (LPC) as well. This opens up a multitude of job opportunities and will also provide me with a chance to further explore my practice. However, this was not the only reason I chose Columbia College Chicago. There is a certain sense of professionalism and rigor to their Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling MA program. I wanted the opportunity to pursue my career and my passion, in a prevailing and intellectual way. Not to mention, the amazing staff and my fellow classmates that provide an atmosphere of a trusting, supportive family.
Tell us about a project you’re working on that you’re excited about.
In the past few years I have been delving into Dance/Movement Therapy as a method of research, while actively making discoveries during my creative movement workshops within the community. After facilitating these workshops with participants from Peckham Inc., (a nonprofit vocational rehabilitation organization that provides job training opportunities for persons with significant disabilities and other barriers to employment) I was able to document my findings and present them at the 2011 Humanities Education Research Association Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. My research on these discoveries (Connected Knowing—Connected Dancing) was also most recently published in the 2013 Spring Edition of the scholarly journal Interdisciplinary Humanities. I have continued this passion of research in Dance/Movement Therapy with a group of teens at the REACH Studio Art Center—a place of safety where it is believed that art in all its forms can be a vehicle for hope and healing. Through our sessions I was able to learn a great deal about personal identity and artistic integrity. I was also able to present my findings on this type of research yet again at the Humanities Education Research Association conference in Houston, Texas this past spring. It is truly amazing how much I have learned from each population I have had the pleasure to work with, and I cannot wait to find out what I will unveil in the years to come.