Grand Valley State University senior and DDD alumni O’Malley Ferguson is busy preparing for her Senior Capstone in Dance which is taking place December 6 & 7 at the Haas Performing Arts Center at GVSU. She and her fellow seniors have auditioned and selected some amazing casts of dancers and are continuing to work hard this semester to put together a cohesive, strong and thought-provoking concert.
O’Malley has had many experiences and opportunities in dance while at GVSU. For the month of July, O’Malley traveled to Austin, Texas and was a Residential Mentor for the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive at the University of Texas at Austin. She worked with children ages 12-18, but primarily worked with dancers ages 16-18. As a mentor, O’Malley guided students around the campus to different classes such as Ballet Technique, Pointe, Jazz, Contemporary, Musical Theatre, and Character. “Working alongside an amazing group of mentors, I was surrounded by amazing ABT faculty and was also able to take class which was really great,” said O’Malley.
O’Malley was also able to investigate new things about herself as she watched all the dancers attending the intensive grow and learn throughout the four weeks they were there. Her favorite part about her time in Texas was seeing the art of dance through the students’ eyes. As O’Malley observed class, she could see things clicking in their minds and bodies. “It was inspiring to see young dancers be so passionate.”
In addition to taking the dancers to class, O’Malley also stayed with them in the dorms. There were twenty-two dancers in her group. From this experience, O’Malley said, “We got to go on outings as a dorm group and explore the Austin area. I learned so much from them and got to see them at their best, goofiest, and worst times. As a mentor, it was truly a learning experience. I made many connections, met amazing people, and made a lot of personal growth as a dancer and individual. I would definitely do it again and would recommend working as a mentor. You are able to play such a big role in the lives of young artists.”