Q: What did you learn or develop at UArts that you have carried with you throughout your career?
There are so many things that I learned at UArts that have served me throughout my career. The most important of these were incredible work ethic and an appreciation for the necessity of all art forms. UArts was the most demanding program I had ever encountered. It taught me to make a schedule, to be disciplined in every single aspect of my life from my diet, to my sleep, and to my emotions.
The encouragement the amazing dance faculty offered me at every turn supported me in making these life changes that have now stuck with me and have become habit. I wouldn’t be nearly as successful without them. Tough love in dance seems to be a thing of the past which is disheartening at times because it is that very thing from my teachers like Pat Thomas, Wayne St. David, Ruth Andrien, and Roni Koresh that made me know this road wouldn’t be easy. It was the bright light of encouragement and belief from Molly Misgala and Connie Michael who inspired me to know that in spite of that hard road, I could do it. I learned that you can do anything you put your mind to regardless of the talent you possess.
UArts gave me the tools I need to succeed at the business end of managing myself as an artist and branding what I have to offer. The Business for Dancers class has proven to be one of the most important classes I ever took. My dance history class taught me an appreciation for everything that came before me so that I could lead dance into the future. It deflated my ego and made me humble in my craft. Nina Bennahum was the most intelligent human I had ever encountered and I wanted to be just like her. It is not often someone can inspire me to read and research but to this day I am always seeking new information about the past to bring into the work of the future.
My time at UArts was filled with so many lessons that I reflect on daily and not a day goes by where I am not accessing some gem given to me in my time there. I am forever grateful to be an alumna.
Cheryl Copeland BFA ’03 (Jazz Dance) is a choreographer and educator. She has served as resident choreographer for Teen Dance Company of the Bay Area, and as artistic director of pre-professional companies; Breakthru Dance, DAC PAC, and Humnz Dance Ensemble, as well as her professional company BHumn Dance Company. She owned BHumn DanceSpace, the leading training facility for modern dance in Austin, Texas for four years and then retired as owner and headed to New York City to serve as the director of Education at Peridance Capezio Center, where is she is still head of their audition tour and communications.