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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Dancer to spread ‘magic’ with endowment

    Rebecca Rillios / Arizona Daily Wildcat

    What is the price of inspiration? For Rachel Soule, it’s worth $500.

    On Saturday, dance freshman Soule will receive “”The Magic In You”” Endowment for Fine Arts Outreach Award, which will help her to inspire a little bit of magic in others.

    Every year since its creation by Dr. Ruth Mondschein in 2004, “”The Magic In You”” Endowment has been awarded to a University of Arizona College of Fine Arts student who has shown an interest in working with K-12 children and youth, especially those who are disadvantaged or disabled. According to Suzanne Rice, the director of development for the College of Fine Arts, “”Dr. Ruth created this endowment to reflect her own deeply held beliefs in the transformative power of the arts and their ability to touch lives, especially of those with disabilities.””

    The funds provide resources to enable the recipient to reach out and host educational workshops or performances in local schools. Soule will be the first recipient of the “”Magic In You”” Endowment in honor of her future endeavors.  

    Soule was chosen to receive this year’s endowment to help with a project that combines two of her greatest passions. “”I want to choreograph a dance using both UA dancers and deaf children from the Arizona State School of the Deaf and Blind,”” said Soule.

    Soule first got the idea for the project after dance professor Melissa Lowe mentioned an opportunity to incorporate American Sign Language and dancing.

    “”I have always been interested in the deaf culture,”” said Soule. “”When I was in elementary school, for book reports I would always get an American Sign Language Dictionary and decide to give my report on that. I don’t know why … I don’t know anyone who’s deaf and I am not really even incorporated with the deaf culture that much. I just really have found an interest in it.””

    Her interest will soon mean an opportunity for both UA dancers and students at ASDB as Soule begins to make plans for her dance piece. “”Right now I am envisioning having a trio of dancers and a handful of children from the ASDB,”” explained Soule. “”At first I was just thinking about having the dancers dance around the stage and then just having the students signing in the back,”” said Soule. “”But now I would really love to merge the two groups together, incorporating the deaf students dancing and maybe the dancers signing.””

    Soule is also excited to begin working with the ASDB students. “”I think it would be really great for them to learn dance movements,”” she said. “”I mean, I don’t know what their school curriculum entails — if they’ve had dance before. I think it would be great to teach them and try to incorporate dance into their vocabulary and culture.””

    While Soule will not begin physically working with the dancers and the ASDB students until classes resume in the fall, she will be using her summer break to brainstorm and lay down a clearer vision of her plans.

    “”That is where the endowment will help,”” said Soule. Soule plans to allocate some of the funds toward transportation costs, such as busing ASDB students to and from the UA campus. Leftover funds will contribute to costumes and props.

    Along with meeting the demands of such an innovative project, Soule also faces nerves surrounding being somewhat of a rookie to the choreographic scene. “”I choreographed when I was younger, but I haven’t really done anything since then so I am kind of nervous,”” Soule admitted. “”We have so many great choreographers (at the School of Dance), so I am going to do my own thing and see if it works out.””

    Soule is ballet-trained, but she describes her choreographic manner as kind of “”a strong, weird, non-classical style.”” Once Soule finishes her dance, she will audition her piece to be placed in the fall Student Spotlight Concert.

    Soule sees her project as an educational experience that will prepare her for a future of inspiring others. “”I want to do something with dance therapy later on,”” said Soule. “”I am so honored to have this opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.””

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