Roundtable Panel with Dance Department Alumni
On Friday, September 23rd, current DeSales dance majors had the opportunity to meet with the first graduating class of DeSales University dance majors over lunch. Of the five alumni from the class of 1986, several travelled across the country to share their life stories and discuss how their degrees affected their careers. In the spirit of Homecoming weekend, old friends reconnected and related to current students through their mutual experiences in the DeSales family.
After focusing on dance education in her undergrad, Suzanne Winoski pursued her teaching goals by joining the staff at her local studio and eventually transitioned into the roles of owner and director. Her numerous teaching certifications contributed to her current positions as a voice for dance and wellness in the public school system. Moreover, her path in the dance world has allowed her to balance her family life with her career. For all considering a future in teaching dance, Suzanne was definitely an excellent source of information.
Carol M. Heverly’s experience after graduation could not have been anticipated. After booking a dream job as a Sesame Place Theme Park performer, a torn ACL cut her performance career short. Despite many setbacks due to injury, Carol found fulfillment in using her experiences to assist others in coping with physical obstacles, working in movement classes with chair bound individuals as well as those with brain damage. Residing locally with her husband and children, Carol offered the great advice that you don’t necessarily need to relocate to utilize your degree; also, the course of your life is entirely unpredictable, but it’s still worthwhile despite the trials you’ll face.
An incredibly passionate and vocal individual, Lindsey Hanahan enjoyed success as a musical theater performer around the world before discovering her passion for Laban movement studies. She currently works as a movement therapist in Denver, Colorado where she owns MOVE studios. In addition to offering advice regarding auditioning and staying motivated after graduation, Lindsey encouraged the dance majors to seize every opportunity and explore all aspects of dance as often opportunities and career options exist of which we aren’t even aware.
Next, Kara Callahan-Boyd described her endeavors as a cruise line performer for Royal Caribbean International. Beginning as a dancer, she now operates in the creative and production areas of Disney Cruise Line. As a Talent Casting and Operations Manager, Kara gave insight regarding audition tips, financial situations, and balancing her job with her family. As several dance majors are interested in someday working for Disney, Kara was an incredible contact to have on campus.
Finally, Danny Cunningham illustrated his career as a Modern dance performer, an actor with the European tour of West Side Story, an esteemed competition adjudicator, and more. His experiences as a dancer during the AIDS epidemic shed light on some of the harsh realities in the arts community while reminding all present to appreciate every opportunity they face and take nothing for granted. Additionally, he shared his incredibly generous plans to found a new scholarship for incoming dance majors at DeSales.
Overall, the discussion with Dance department alumni was interesting and informative. The variety of routes pursued with the same degree was eye-opening for the young artists deciding which direction to turn upon graduation. Meeting graduates from the class of 1986 was a great reminder of how rare the familial community found at DeSales is, and how responsible we are for cultivating and preserving it.
Alumni with DSU dance faculty