Dance at Stockton - Alumni Stories
Stockton University Dance alumni are active in many fields, and studying dance has helped them get where they are. Learn some of the stories of our alumni.
Dylan Brierley (2016)
Walt Disney World Character Performer
I only graduated a few months ago, so my alumni story is short! I am currently a Character Performer at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. Stockton’s dance program gave me the technical training I needed to succeed at Walt Disney World, because the position is very movement oriented, and dance oriented, and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the training I received at Stockton.
I miss the tight knit family the dance program gave me while I attended, although I’m still in touch with many of them through social media. I hope I can make it back to see some of the shows!
For anyone who is considering studying dance at Stockton, I’d say go for it! Try everything! Learn as much as you can, and take that master class in a style you’ve never taken before! You never know when something as simple as a shuffle ball change can set you apart at an audition.
Simply, have fun, keep an open mind, and never doubt yourself! You never know where you might end up a couple years from now!
Kacey Zane (2013)
Nurse, NFL Cheerleader
Major: Biology - Minor: Dance
Kacey (Bohrer) Zane
After studying Biology and Dance at Stockton, I attended Seton Hall University, where I received my Masters of Science in Nursing. I currently working as a nurse, and I am an NFL Cheerleader.
Networking is huge in the dance community. Whether I’m taking a class, or at an audition or gig, I always seem to run into an alumnus of the Stockton Dance Program! I feel as though those connections have definitely helped me. Additionally, I was a part of the All-Starz Dance Team at Stockton, which was my first exposure to that style of dance and my first experience performing at a sporting event. That was my stepping stone into cheerleading so I thank Stockton Dance for allowing me to be where I am today.
I often think back to my time at Stockton and how much I miss the long rehearsals, tech/show week, Spring Dance Concert, dancing with an accompanist, access to classes on a daily basis, and of course the amazing friends I made in the program. I loved the smaller class sizes at Stockton and the individualized attention it allowed. As a science major, I was attracted to their program, especially because I could be studying dance at the same time and be part of both communities. Also, the campus is beautiful and is in a great location.
If I could give advice to any current students, I would tell them to give it your all every class, and soak in all of the wisdom and knowledge of your professors because four years fly by in the blink of an eye!
Adrianna Poindexter (2011)
Major: Dance - Minor: Theatre
I currently work as a freelance dancer and choreographer. My most recent project is producing and choreographing my own show as the beginning of a dance company in Philadelphia.
I can see so many of the techniques and skills I learned in Dance Composition classes in my choreography today. Choreography has become a major part of my career and I’m so happy to be putting those skills to use. Also, taking Kinesiology at Stockton gave me an awareness and knowledge of my body I did not have before. Since I graduated, I have revisited the material many times; the information in this class enabled me to improve technique and increase longevity.
Something I knew while at Stockton, but have really come to realize as I pursue my career is that dance is hard! It’s really rewarding, but also very difficult. Before you decide whether or not to major in it or pursue it, you need to be sure you absolutely love it and you have to be ready to work. If you do decide to be a major, learn everything you can! Go to different studios, summer programs, intensives, etc., and don’t stick to just one style. Take classes in all different types of dance. Choreographers and casting directors are looking for versatile dancers who can do all styles of dance.
Stockton was a great environment for me to learn because it is a smaller school with a more intimate learning environment. I miss taking dance classes almost everyday. I also miss the tight knit group of dancers at Stockton.
Gabriel Reyes (2013)
Major: Criminal Justice - Minor: Dance
Gabriel Andrew Reyes
I’ve just returned to Atlantic City after finishing a national tour of Saturday Night Fever. Currently, I work for several entertainment companies and am auditioning for shows in New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. I also work for the LGBT Alliance of Atlantic City and am the assistant production manager for the Miss’D America Pageant. I am a dancer and provide wardrobe for Providence Night Club in Atlantic City as well as produce, coordinate, and choreograph a Burlesque show at Delilah’s in Philadelphia, often incorporating silks and other apparatus for aerial dancing. Beyond these gigs, I work with one of the world’s greatest illusionist and Cher impersonators. In a few months, I will be performing for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Beyond being a professional performer and choreographer, I mentor younger dancers by choreographing and teaching at Oakcrest High School.
Studying dance at Stockton prepared me for the extreme hard work it is to be a dancer. The world and career of dance can look easy when just watching it. In reality it’s hard work, dedication, and a lot of maintenance, training, and endurance. Stockton helped me grow as a dancer by being engaged with my education as a whole person, helping me to learn skills to balance the multiple parts of being a professional in the dance field. Stockton taught me to not give up, keep trying, and stay positive.
I miss so many things about the amazing program at Stockton, especially my mentors and friends. I always loved that moment when you go into class and see everyone in black, ready to dance. I also really miss preparing for a performance. The process that goes with putting together a show is the most amazing feeling. When everything comes together, the smiles and applause for what you have created with everyone is just exquisite.
If you are thinking of studying dance at college, dance as much as you can. Take every moment possible to be in every performance; utilize friends and mentors to guide you through it. Listen and learn from others’ past experiences to help you grow and find the type of dancer you want to be. And always remember to have fun and make every moment last!
When I chose Stockton it was because it was affordable and close to home. Now that I have graduated, I can say that choosing Stockton was the best choice I made. Stockton’s affordability helped me take more classes, giving me more options. Being close to home gave me the chance to be closer to my friends while also making new friends through school. Stockton creates a dance family; it bonds people together. It’s like a small town where everyone knows you and wants to see you succeed.
Tricia Zweier (2002)
Assistant Professor of Dance
Major: Biology - Minor: Dance
I am currently an Assistant Professor of Dance at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri where I teach contemporary and jazz technique, dance science courses (anatomy and kinesiology), dance history and dance & technology. I also dance with a St. Louis dance company called Leverage Dance Theater and set work on area colleges/universities/dance companies.
Immediately after I graduated from Stockton, I worked for 4 years with Carnival Cruise Lines as a lead dancer and dance captain. I moved to North Carolina in 2006 to complete an MS in Kinesiology and MFA in Dance from UNC-Greensboro.
When I think back to my time at Stockton, I remember the great energy in that dance studio. The studio always felt like a comfortable (yet challenging) place. I appreciated the opportunities that were afforded to me at Stockton. Even though I wasn’t a major, I was able to audition for guest artists and take classes with numerous guest faculty and performing companies: Ruth Andrien, dancers with Garth Fagan Dance Company, Sean Curran’s piece set by Heather Waldon. The faculty at Stockton helped me realize that I could combine my loves for science and dance. Nancy’s anatomy class and her frequent practical examples of anatomical references in technique class helped me understand the importance of body knowledge, and solidified my goals to pursue this cross-disciplinary career.
Stasia Bahring (2006)
Clinical Director and Physical Therapist
Majors: Dance and Biology
I am the Clinical Director and a Physical Therapist at Strive Physical Therapy.
Maintaining majors in a performing art and scholastic studies helped me to have both a working and performing life. Since graduating from Stockton with a Doctorate in PT, I’ve continued to teach, and occasionally perform, while maintaining a full time PT position in South Jersey. I use my dance degree to provide a different perspective for my clients. I’m able to include breathing and posture to help with various orthopedic conditions as well as rehabilitating injured dancers by addressing technique and sport specific activities.
Being a dance major meant that it was always easy to find someone in the dance program who could relate to what I was feeling or going through. A lot of us were taking courses in multiple majors with different demands outside of performing. Even though we would share a dance class room together, we knew that it was only a piece to our human puzzle. Also, Atlantic City and Philadelphia are so close, you can go on auditions or work and be back in time for class the next day.
I also loved that Stockton allowed me to pursue my dual majors at the same time. Other schools offered one 4 year degree and then I would have to apply to the school again for the other 4 year degree….ugh, so much time would be wasted. The dance program didn’t have the Pre-Physical Therapy concentration when I was studying there, but that’s another great thing about Stockton, the faculty want to work with the students to provide an education that applies outside the school.
Courtney Colón (2015)
MFA Candidate and Independent Choreographer
I am currently enrolled in an M.F.A. program in Dance at Hollins University, and continue to present my choreographic work in professional venues in the tri-state area.
The dance department at Stockton built a safe and encouraging environment where I was allowed to be curious, face new challenges, and grow. The coursework and mentorship that I received, along with the open dialogues found inside and outside of the classroom, prepared me for further scholarship in graduate school and for further investigation surrounding who I am within the dance world.
I truly value the sense of family and community that can be found at Stockton. Although the world of dance can be a competitive one, and there are auditions at Stockton, we all supported one another and were genuinely happy for one another in our achievements.
If I could give advice to an incoming student, it would be to become as knowledgeable
about your craft as possible. Work hard. Understand that in the professional dance
world, you will be expected to not only have a strong foundation of technique, but
you will also be asked to intellectually explain who you are as a dance artist and
where your own aesthetics and interests lie. College allows you to engage yourself
and be open. You have an amazing opportunity to build your performance and choreographic
resumes, mature, learn, and develop lasting relationships, all within a nurturing
environment. You have the option of collaborating with your classmates, in your own
major and across departments. You can take advantage of the different concentrations that
the dance program has to offer and find your niche. And it can be really, really fun!
Morgan Phillips (2015)
High School Dance Teacher
I transferred to Stockton my sophomore year because I fell in love with the school and — more importantly — with the Dance Program. It was exactly what I hoped for as a student —a strong program that helps instill students with a drive and desire to excel and improve.
While studying at Stockton, I was a Studio Operations major, but little did I know I would not pursue a career at a dance studio. My senior year at Stockton I applied for a dance position at my high school Alma Mater, Middle Township. A month after applying, I found out I got the job as the Dance Academy teacher, a brand new program. I had just under two months to create the curriculum, have auditions and build a program before September. Thankfully, I found support through my mentors at Stockton, who helped me navigate this transition. Although it was challenging being a full-time student and a full-time teacher, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. I genuinely have the best job a person could ever imagine!
Stockton’s Dance Program not only enhanced my dance training and technique, but prepared me for a multitude of different challenges and experiences. I was fortunate enough to have held every position in a show production, have a background in stage and lighting design, costume design, and Kinesiology. Without the background I had at Stockton, I would not be in the position I am today.
Whether you want to take a dance class for fun or are considering dance as a major, just know that it will be one of the best experiences you will have in college. Get involved in every aspect of the Performing Arts. Take a music class, take a theater class, and take stage production because you never know where those experiences can lead you in your future career.