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.
Mia Pinheiro '15
For Mia Pinheiro ’15, the disciplines of geography, her major at UVM, and dance, her true passion, aren’t so very different. Both are centered in place and space, rooted in a physical location and in the imagination.
A native of New Bedford, Mass., Pinheiro remembers making her first visit to UVM in the middle of winter, but the weather didn’t interfere with the positive vibe she picked up on campus.
“The main reason I chose UVM was the culture—there was a more relaxed, laid back quality that I didn’t pick up on at other schools I visited.”
She took some ballet and jazz dance classes as a child, but knew she had only scratched the surface of her talent for creative expression.
“I owe so much to UVM program, especially to (senior lecturer at UVM) Clare Byrne,” she said. “I took several courses from her and she totally opened up the world of dance, not in traditional sense but radical sense.”
She found ways to blend her interests in geography and dance. One of her student projects was participating in site-specific dance performance at the Kent Museum in Calais, Vt. with Montpelier-based choreographer Hannah Dennison.
“I took her class when she was a guest teacher at UVM, and she hired a few students to be in her summer ensemble,” Pinheiro explains. “We did a period piece based on Hannah’s historical research that was actually set in museum—the performance was a mix of dance and theater that moved through the building.”
Variously describing herself as a “movement artist,” “choreographer” and “roving performer,” Pinheiro has used her UVM experience as a springboard to a vibrant career in dance that has taken her many places, most recently Mexico. In March of 2017, she embarked on a research sabbatical serving as choreographer and collaborator for “Bosque,” an exploration of dance with tension fabric recorded in a black and white film. She also choreographed “La Gra Division,” a sound and fabric movement that “explores tension and continual arrival and discard of idea” performed at Museu de Arte Contemporaneo in Oaxaca.
With Burlington as her home base, she is working on a site-specific movement/choreography workshop for the summer in collaboration with a Jungian psychologist. She likes to think that the variety of experience as a student at UVM has broadened her outlook and potential for future directions.
“You can do so much at UVM– studying traditional styles of dance, diving into genre-bending courses, or both. Being exposed to so many forms really broadened my sense of what is possible.”
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