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Humans of the U: Annalise Wood

“It’s always been my dream to dance professionally. Once I got to my senior year of high school, I was so overwhelmed by the decision of whether to go to college or to focus on conservatory auditions instead. I’m so grateful I found the U during that process because I realized it was exactly what I was looking for—an institution where I could study ballet passionately and dive into my academics. It was the perfect in-between for me.

There are so many things I like about the School of Dance. There is such a strong sense of community within the program; my peers and teachers are really keen on encouraging us to create a safe space where we feel inspired to push ourselves and test our limits. I think we all face daily struggles as dance majors, but we push through to become better dancers, not out of fear or discomfort.

I think it’s unique that although we’ve all found the U, every dancer in my class comes from a different background. It’s inspiring to see the many aspirations that they have and the fullness of their lives outside of dance. Some of my friends are taking pre-med classes, some are studying business and some are involved on campus through leadership or teaching assistant jobs. Many of the dancers in the School of Dance have performed within the SLC community outside of the school, which is awesome. It can be rare to find an environment this positive in the dance world, so I feel extremely lucky to be here.

I am earning a double major in psychology, with hopes of pursuing a minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. While any practice in the fine arts can be so formative, I think dance specifically allows you to see things from a different perspective. Dancers can use movement to express an opinion or statement about something they care about, maybe an issue they see in the world or something they’ve been studying in a different class. I am definitely interested in eventually adapting a topic or research study within the field of psychology into a choreographic work I could put on stage and say something with.”

— Annalise Wood, sophomore, School of Dance