By junior year of high school, every young dancer has to make a decision: Is this passion something I want and can make a career out of? For me, the answer was simple: YES! Ever since I began dancing, I've never been able to see myself pursuing anything else as a career. I have found through my experiences that dance can heal so many, and I've always known that I wanted to spread the love of the art form. To that end, I auditioned for every dance program that appealed to me and my needs as a dancer.
Auditioning for a dance program can be nerve racking until you realize that these programs are really just looking for YOU and what makes you unique. This is not the type of audition where a casting director is searching for one specific person for one specific part. The school faculty who are running the auditions are looking for people who will bring something new to their program and will benefit from what the school has to offer. So, if you're feeling anxious about the prospect of auditioning, take a breath! You will find the right school for you.
I was fortunate enough to be accepted into all of the dance programs I auditioned for. I was relieved until I realized that I now had a hard decision to make: which school do I commit the next 4 years of my life to? I ended up choosing Pace, and three years later as a junior, I still know that this school was the best choice for me. Here are a few reasons why:
1) Pace offers a multitude of dance genres & techniques including ballet, tap, theatre dance, hip hop, jazz technique, modern and contemporary. The versatility of the program allows us as students to receive training that prepares us for any job opportunity that comes our way.
2) Our professors are industry professionals. They have a wealth of experience to share with us and genuinely care about each student’s growth.
3) Pace's commercial dancers are required to study acting and singing, which was a deciding factor for me when I was choosing a program because one of my many goals is to perform in a Broadway show. After a few semesters of singing and acting, I truly felt like I could conquer a singing audition and make confident acting choices.
4) I love that Pace offers exciting, one-of-a-kind experiences! One of my favorite experiences to date happened in the fall show during my sophomore year. I was cast in a restaging of Bob Fosse’s original “Crunchy Granola Suite,” which was set on us by his assistant, Kathryn Doby. That experience gave me the opportunity to learn an iconic movement language from an artist and educator who had such close ties to the source. I learned so much about classic theater dance and particularly Fosse's work and style during that time.
5) Pace continues to cultivate my talents as both a dancer and a choreographer. In our classes, we are constantly reminded to go out of our comfort zones in order to reach our full potential. Pace offers a safe and supportive environment for us to experiment and create in.
Above all, my classmates and peers at Pace are like a second family to me. Because the dance industry is such a small world, I feel lucky to be surrounded by such talented, kindhearted people who I trust will be by my side throughout my life and career.
**Haley Nachlas is the 2016 Emerging Artist & a junior in the commercial dance program at Pace University in New York City.