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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Dancing on


    Courtesy of Alex Tijerina
    Alex Tijerina dances outside of the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre. Tijerina will be going to Miami after graduation to dance with the Mosaic Dance Project.

    As the spring semester comes to a close, the UA says goodbye to another batch of seniors. For many graduating dancers, their time at the university helped define this generation’s standard for performing arts. They have been pilgrims in the dance community — reflecting their professors’ enduring technique while letting their own genius permeate through. These are seniors with the world at their fingertips.Tanya Haglund, a dance senior, said she will go to St. Louis this summer to sing and dance in the ensemble of two musical theater shows, “Oklahoma!” and “My Fair Lady,” at The Muny.“It’ll be a fun way to kind of jump into the professional world,” Haglund said. “It’s really quick. You rehearse for about a week-and-a-half, and then you go on stage and perform for a week or so. It’ll be a whirlwind.”

    After performing in Missouri over the summer, Haglund wants to head to the fast-paced and artistically buzzing city of New York, where she will work as a freelance performer. However, Haglund will not be the only dancer representing the UA in the Big Apple. Raffles Durbin, a senior studying dance and biomedical engineering, will also start his professional career in New York, where he hopes to work in a medical college research lab.

    “Basically, I want to dance in New York, but it’s hard to do that,” Durbin said. “Even if you have a job, it’s hard to live financially, so most dancers work a second job; but because I have an engineering degree, I can work in a lab and make a lot more money doing that than I can being a waiter or teaching yoga or whatever a lot of things that dancers do. And then I’ll search for a dance job.”

    Reflecting on his time at the UA, Durbin said that he cherishes his freshman year the most.

    “I lived in the fine arts dorm in Manzanita-Mohave, and most of the dancers lived there,” Durbin said. “It was just great being near them all the time. I could walk down the hall and see all my friends.”

    Durbin came to the UA as a National Merit Scholar.

    “I would love to perform for at least five years, hopefully more than that,” Durbin said. “I’d love to tour Europe. … At some point, I want to go to grad school, so probably medical schools. So, doing that would be fun, especially if it was in New York.”

    Alex Tijerina, another senior studying dance and philosophy, will bring her passion and skill to Miami, where she will dance for nonprofit dance company Mosaic Dance Project.

    Tijerina said she came to the UA as a National Hispanic Merit Scholar. She is an honors student with a double major and a minor in pre-law.

    “I’ll be working Monday through Thursday from 9:30 [to] 3 every day, and I’ll be training and having rehearsals and stuff,” Tijerina said. “And then, I’ll also be teaching at other dance studios … on the side. And then, we’ll have a certain amount of performances per year.”

    As all three dancers leave the UA, they take with them more than pieces of paper stating their degrees. Haglund, Durbin and Tijerina expressed their gratitude for the unique and well-rounded education they received.

    “It’s really great, because as dance majors, we’re required to take music and arts credits as well,” Haglund said. “It’s a requirement for us to try out the other arts and explore that. It’s great that I’ve been able to get a solid foundation in music while I’m here on the side, in addition to dance.”

    Durbin said that what drew him to the UA School of Dance was its emphasis on creating versatile dancers with its three-track program in ballet, modern and jazz. He said this kind of education at a dance school is rare.

    Tijerina recognized that the School of Dance would be nothing without its well-versed professors, who breathe life into the program.

    “They just always go out of their way,” Tijerina said. “They’ve just really prepared us well. They’ve been our mentors when we need it. They’ve been our friends when we need it. Knowing all that they’ve accomplished and everything they want to share with us and how much they care about us and want us to do well just really means a lot.”


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