A sampling of our alumni comment on their dance experience at Allegheny College:

Carrie Loeffler and Jill Tachoir ’99
Everything I need to know in life I learned in Dance class…

  • Less is more.
  • You have to go down to come up.
  • Put the support in place before you need it.
  • It is good to have choices.
  • Move from the center and the feet will follow.
  • Life is in the transitions.
  • Let go of your ego.
  • Sometimes the body knows before the mind.
  • Stay connected moment by moment.
  • It takes as long as it takes.
  • And always remember: Dance the dance you get.

Le Roy Holmberg ’96 — “Also, I have to admit that all the dance classes (particularly technique) [i.e., upper level and modern with James] have helped to no end. Also, I’ve been discussing the realm of dance with a friend who is into very classical ballet, figure skating, and gymnastics (who also does Aikido), and I think that perhaps classical training works toward training one to very effectively inhibit one’s movement to one single genre, whereas more modern training works toward training one to be quickly capable of adapting to new forms and systems. I say so because I’m picking up the foundation very rapidly and my friend is having a lot of trouble keeping her arms from stiffening into old habitual places and her legs from extending on turns and what not. This is a very (to use a Jan Hyatt key term) “under-curve” art form.

Kristen Pore ’94 –“The dance program at Allegheny was the most inspiring experience I’ve had, connecting my mind and body, creating inner peace and happiness. ”

Emily MacDuffie ’94 –“I chose Allegheny over Gettysburg and Carnegie Mellon specifically because of the dance program. The technique and choreography classes were a major contributor to my physical and emotional health, well-being, and growth. My experience with the children’s summer program finalized my decision to turn my career toward working with children. I plan to obtain certification in Dance Therapy to work with special needs children . Please keep expanding the program!

Erin P. Binder ’93 –“I can also be sure that dance is not just what it seems. Perhaps it looks like a gym class with no more benefit to the student than some coordination development. But dance does involve thinking critically. It is an academic discipline, especially the way the curriculum has been developed at Allegheny, with its feet in philosophy, education, communication arts, and physical education.’

Heather Rae Hoffman ’93 –“The dance program at Allegheny College was an integral part of my liberal arts experience and the continued development of my whole being. I developed leadership skills. I expressed my creativity. I strengthened my physical body. I integrated academic knowledge. I increased my awareness of cultural difference. I shared the joy of dance with my fellow Alleghenians… ”

Erin Morgan ’93 –“Mrs. Hyatt was the most wonderful dance teacher I have ever had. She opened my eyes beyond classical ballet into the beautiful world of modern dance. I loved my dancing experience at Allegheny College. And, as a current teacher of middle school, I have involved dance into my curriculum/instruction. I smile when I remember all of my “dance” memories from college performances to evening practices. They all bring back so many wonderful memories and thoughts! ”

Jennifer C. Young ’93 –“Allegheny’s dance program made it possible for me to continue my experience and growth in dancing. For someone who had been taking dance classes for a long time, I was so grateful to have an outlet, a space, and qualified teachers and resources to further my dancing as part of my liberal arts education. ”

Pamela Logsdon ’93 –“I view dance at Allegheny as a transformative experience in my life. Not only have I become more aware of my body’s need to move, I have also acquired a stronger sense of the intersections between dance, art, philosophy, psychology, and spiritual development.”
Lynnette Pisone ’92 –“There is much more to dance than what meets the eye. If you truly want to learn something valuable about yourself– take a dance class. ”

Joan Meggitt ’92 –“Participating in classes offered by the dance program literally changed my view of the world. They helped to broaden my perspective on everything from art to economics. In addition, I received excellent preparation for graduate studies in choreography and dance. ”

Laurel McGowan ’91 –“Jan was an excellent mentor and role model, encouraging me to develop an intellectual, emotional, as well as a physical relationship to dance. The marriage of these skills helped carry me through a Masters program in Expressive Therapy. And still today, I draw on what I learned through my dance experience at Allegheny in my current position as a Therapeutic Recreation Director in special care facility for persons with Alzheimer’s Disease. ”

Kate Overmyer Cooper ’89 — “…the thrust is to teach that as teachers, actors, publishers, ministers, engineers, or governors we need to think creatively. I would encourage the biology majors, physics whizzes, psychology students, and football players of Allegheny to take a dance class for credit (or take a minor, for that matter) because they are the future CEOs, therapists, teachers, road builders and doctors of my children and their children. I want their advice to be to think and retry and experiment until a problem is solved, and to celebrate when the solution comes forth. Sitting still and listening has an important place in our classrooms and life, but it certainly shouldn’t reign. ”

Timothy Nojaim ’89 — “… an experience (with the Creative Process and an Independent Study) that intellectually and spiritually strengthened and facilitated my art and subsequently my person. Jan and the dance experience she gave me is utilized every day in my sculpture studio.”

Seth Wayman ’87 — “All the dance classes … provided me with an education that one may truly call Liberal Arts. The exploration of the mind/body connection expressed through movement and dance is at the core of the Allegheny dance experience. ”

Debra O’Brien Zaecky ’87 — “My experience with dance at Allegheny was certainly one of the most formative of my college years. Dance had a profound impact on my self-esteem. I learned to look at my body and my self in a different light as I discovered what I was capable of as a dancer and as a person. In turn, dance had a positive impact on my relationships with others and my academic performance. Dance and the other arts activities in which I participated at Allegheny were critical in helping me to find a balance in my life — a goal which I believe is fundamental to a liberal arts education. ”

Maribel H. Cruz ’87 — “As a psychologist I have used dance as a medium for self-exploration and self-expression. … It is an alternate form of knowing every bit as valid as other forms of learning. … More important than its clinical applications are the very real effects dance has on the individual as s/he learns to express emotions and cognitions in a truly universal way. Given our multicultural world, dance affords students the opportunity to learn about themselves as they interact with others. “