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Student Embraces the Arts at American Dance Festival

Last Updated on October 01, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Originally published October 01, 2018

By Katie Harding

Senior, Communication Studies and Dance Performance

This summer I participated in the American Dance Festival (ADF) in Durham, North Carolina. This festival has played an important role in the advancement of modern dance since its inception, and it continues to promote the development of emerging artists. I understood the festival’s reputation when I applied for the internship, but I never anticipated the impact ADF would have on my perspective of the industry and my own career path.

Katie Harding
Katie Harding

As a college student, I have pursued two undergraduate degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and a Bachelor of Fne Arts in Dance Performance. While both have given me worthwhile experiences, dance has been my passion since I was a child, and UTEP has only fanned that flame. My professors always have encouraged me to accomplish my goals, and my job at the University Writing Center surrounded me with talented individuals who helped me refine my applications and writing skills. With particular training in performance, dance history and communication, it seemed that working at a dance festival was a natural choice.

As the festival’s grants and development operations intern, I worked closely on fundraising and writing grant reports. At the same time, I participated in classes and helped wherever possible. I served as a tour guide, event manager, and even appeared onstage with one of our dance companies.

While in Durham, I interacted with dancers and teachers from around the world, as well as several VIP guests and donors. The ADF gave me a unique chance to interact with international guests as well, especially those arriving to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the festival’s relationship with China. People young and old arrived in Durham from Beijing to celebrate this momentous occasion. Several Chinese guests called modern dance a gift to their country and thanked ADF specifically.

I learned many valuable skills from this internship, especially grant writing, but more importantly to me, I now have dance connections all over the world. The people I worked with this summer were talented and motivational. They inspired me to pursue new dreams.

This experience also changed my perspective on the value of my arts degree. There is a need for people who know about dance and the fine arts and not all of them are performers or directors. Arts administration is a vital field. Those professionals promote and support the art we love to ensure it can exist for future generations. As I look into future careers, I know that I want to start my journey in arts administration.

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