Dance program alumni have pursued an enormous range of careers in fields such as performance, arts management, physical therapy, and education. Here are a few of their stories.
Lily Lovinger '09
Deeply involved in school government during her high school years in Fairhaven, Mass., Lily Lovinger declared political science as her major when she arrived at UVM. She wouldn’t have guessed at the time that her academic path would lead to a career in arts administration at New York City’s Lincoln Center, and that her experience in the UVM dance department would be so influential in her trajectory.
Dance wasn’t really a factor for her when it came to choosing a college.
“UVM felt like a good fit—it was a large school but not so big that I felt overwhelmed. I’d taken ballet from the time I was four until I was a freshman in high school, but I had pretty much left dance behind.”
At UVM she began to miss the physical discipline of dance, and took a ballet class for a PE credit. Her instructor introduced her to Paul Besaw, who was building the dance minor at UVM, and the two hit it off.
“I got hooked. I took every class Paul offered through graduation,” she said.
Lovinger jokes that the two gave each other a hard time about ballet—“I had such tunnel-vision for the dance form I had grown up and loved so much”—but Paul’s classes provided an eye-opening education in other dance forms.
“I had a lot of amazing experiences at UVM but the piece I still feel most connected to is the dance program. Paul was so energized about starting the program and making sure there were lots of opportunities for students to learn and explore.”
With her political science major and a minor in African studies, Lovinger had her sights set on a career in sustainable development, perhaps working for an international NGO.
During her job search she came across a post for a fundraising position at a ballet company and she suddenly saw another career path that could keep her connected to the arts world. She scored an internship at the New York-based Mark Morris Dance Company and got a close-up look behind the scenes of an internationally renowned arts organization. The experience helped her gain a variety of skills in marketing, public relations and fundraising that prepared her for her position at Lincoln Center as assistant director for fundraising and special events.
She oversees galas, receptions and private performances with fundraising goals ranging from $300,000-$2,500,000 per event. In addition to event logistics, her work also involves development of prospect lists, extensive letter campaigns and follow-up to prospective donors.
“If it hadn’t been for UVM dance, I don’t know if my passion for the arts would have been reignited. It wasn’t just the love of dance itself but learning about the history, and different forms and choreography that made me excited again about the importance of the arts.”