ARTS HOUSE DANCE COMPANY MEMBERS

Allison Walter Jennifer Li Nicole Frazzini
Anushka Makhija Jillian Zhang Nick Silverio
Aubrey Kazimi Liz Reckart Nicole Luo
Elizabeth Beugg Margo Buck Ramita Ravi
Haley Pisciotta Maria Kowalchuk Sara Sachs
Hallie Brookman Monica Aber Sarah Pilger
Hannah Nasseri Natalie Meeder Sydney Essex

 

SENIORS

Aubrey  

Aubrey Kazimi
Hometown: Nashville, TN
School: College, Psychology
Year: 2017

What is your favorite style of dance?
My favorite style of dance is ballet. I love the stability, certainty, and precision provided by the technique. Its something you can always fall back on and are constantly revisiting to improve. I also love how there are always nuances in the movement through which you can express yourself, even if you're portraying another character.

Why did you join Arts House?
While I'm madly in love with ballet, I need some contemporary or jazz in my life to let loose every once and a while. Throughout high school I had a lot of exposure to other styles of dance and knew there would be an empty void if I trained solely with the Pennsylvania Ballet during my college years. Additionally, at the very first workshop I saw that Arts House was a diverse, talented group. It was clear that all of the girls had a great bond which I knew I would be lucky to share in.

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
My favorite thing about Arts House is the amount of support and love thats involved. Whether I was sick, performing in The Nutcracker, or pursuing my ballet career in another location all together, the house has always been supportive and there for me.

Describe your dance style in 5 words:
Fluid, grounded, articulate, expressive, and smooth

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Russian Character

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Hallie  

Hallie Brookman
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
School: College, Cinema Studies
Year: 2017

What is your favorite style of dance?
My favorite style of dance would have to be contemporary. Dance has always been a huge passion of mine and pretty much my life. There are always times when there are no words that can really illustrate thoughts and feelings, and for me, contemporary has given those thoughts and feelings a voice through movement. There's nothing like going into the studio, turning on the music, and just dancing out everything that I have been thinking and feeling.

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
I love how the company is all student run and produced. Having the opportunity to choreograph since freshman year has been a really rewarding experience, and has pushed me to grow and mature as an artist and dancer. Because we all spend so much time together, Arts House has become my family and home away from home too.

What have you learned from Arts House?
Being a member of Arts House, we all play a role in decision making, and I've learned that while it's important to have an opinion, it's critical to keep an open mind too. The company works together in developing both our fall and spring show, and it's exciting that we all get to work together to help our vision come to fruition.

What is your favorite Arts House memory?
I have so many Arts House memories it's hard to decide what my favorite one is; however, taking our bows at my first show with the house, fall of freshman year was a really rewarding experience. The week leading up to the show, "Heaven Week," can get stressful and exhausting. It's entertaining sides that we had never seen of one another begin to come out. We grew even closer over that week, and as we took our bows, I felt a strong sense of pride and awe to be apart of such an incredible and talented group of dancers.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Hip-Hop, Modern, Pointe

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Natalie  

Natalie Meeder
Hometown: Palos Park, IL
School: College, Health and Societies
Year: 2017

What have you learned from Arts House?
Arts house has not only allowed me to continue my dance training, but also learn about the "behind the scenes" components of show production. As a member of an entirely student run company, we are responsible for producing our shows from start to finish.

How did you know Arts House was right for you?
Through researching Arts House and navigating through the website, I found that the styles of dance and training techniques at Arts House were similar to the company I was a member of at home. I knew Arts House could continue my training as well as enhance my technique and overall college experience.

What is your signature move?
In my previous company, I was always considered "a jumper". My signature move would probably be a tilt jump.

Why did you join Arts House?
Both my love for dance and the promise of a tight-knit and supportive community influenced me to join Arts House.

Describe your dance style in 5 words:
Emphasis on quality of movement.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Hip-Hop

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Nicole  

Nicole Luo
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
School: College, Psychology
Year: 2017

What have you learned from Arts House?
If I had to choose a few highlights, I would start with the aspect of independence that it has given me. As a Co-Show chair, I gained the experience of handling the production side of dance, which truly strengthened my sense of communication as well as my creativity. Other positions, such as Social Chair, allowed me to practice my administrative skills, which are certainly valuable in the (unimaginable) world after Arts House. Artistically, I've been exposed to so much more Jazz, Tap, and Contemporary than I ever have before, and have even choreographed my first pieces with the company. I'm overwhelmingly grateful for all that I've learned so far, and can't wait for the semesters to come!

Which trick are you trying to master?
While it's not necessarily a trick, I would love to improve my contemporary work that involves dancing on the floor. It might take lots of bruised knees, but it'll be worth it!

What is your signature move?
My signature move is a pose called the "Scorpion." It's a back attitude stretch with my leg and foot pulled over my head. It's my go-to pose when I'm taking any sort of dance photo.

Why did you join Arts House?
Growing up, I had hours of ballet training almost every day of the week. I knew that when I came to Penn I wouldn't want to stop my dancing or lose the social aspect that comes with being in a studio. Arts House was the perfect solution to any and all of my concerns. Not only does the company provide weekly classes in ballet and contemporary on a weekly basis, but the love that members have for each other is some of the most genuine support I've been lucky enough to experience.

Dance Experience:Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Modern

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Ramita  

Ramita Ravi [Chair]
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
School: College, Health and Societies
Year: 2017

What is your favorite style of dance?
~Indian Contemporary~

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
My favorite thing about Arts House is that it allowed me to explore my place in the dance world. Arts House encouraged me to combine my Indian and American dance backgrounds and I stumbled upon a style called Indian Contemporary. Now, over the summers, I dance with an Indian Contemporary company in New York, and I couldn't imagine a more perfect place for me within the industry.

Why did you join Arts House?
When I applied to Penn, I was surprised and a little bit disappointed to find that there was no formal curricular dance program. However, as I researched more, I found that joining Arts House would give me the opportunity to dance at the same level that I would have within a formal program while enjoying opportunities to choreograph and become part of a close family of dancers.

What have you learned from Arts House?
SO MUCH ~ arts house has been my most defining experience at Penn. It has taught me about leadership, teamwork, and making ideas tangible. I've learned that its important to see and value diverse perspectives because they come together to create the most magical experiences.

What have you learned from Arts House?
The first Tech Run for our 2016 Spring show Vantage Point. It was my first semester as Chair and as I sat back and watched the show, I began to tear up because I was so in awe of what my family had produced. Every single person worked together to create the most beautiful pieces and videos I had seen & I was so incredibly thankful to have such and amazing team.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Hip-Hop, Modern, Bharatanatyam, Indian Contemporary, Acro

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Sarah  

Sarah Pilger
Hometown: San Anselmo, CA
School: College, Communications
Year: 2017

What is your favorite style of dance?
My favorite style of dance is definitely ballet. No matter how many times I try other forms, I always come back to ballet because it is such a challenge, and everyone is always striving for that impossible goal of perfection.

How has Arts House affected your Penn experience?
Arts House hasn't just affected my Penn experience, it has completely shaped it. More days are spent inside the studio than outside of it. Even if I miss a party or my friends get annoyed with the amount of rehearsal I have, there really is nothing I would rather be doing than dancing with Arts House.

What have you learned from Arts House?
First and foremost I have learned SO much about the dance world outside of ballet and new types of dance. But the best thing I have learned is how to be my true self.

What is your favorite Arts House memory?
My favorite Arts House memory is probably every single load-in of our show when are in the theater from 10 AM to midnight. Everyone is tired, delirious, and sometimes grumpy, but there is something fun and beautiful about spending a whole day with people you care about as you are all working towards a common goal (our show).

Dance Experience: Ballet

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JUNIORS

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Jennifer  

Jennifer Li
Hometown: Houston, TX
School: Wharton, Finance & OID
Year: 2018

What is your favorite style of dance?
This is a hard question. When I'm feeling sassy, I like jazz the most. When I'm feeling kind of serious, I like contemporary. At other times, my favorite style is a mixture of contemporary and Chinese folk dance (yes, this exists! - most of my solos have been a combination of the two).

What is your favorite aspect of Arts House?
I love how everyone in Arts House is so talented in different ways. Everyone brings something new to the group, which makes Arts House such an amazing dance company.

How has Arts House affected your Penn experience?
Arts House is my life at Penn (at least on weekends)! I was able to meet some of my best friends through Arts House and spend time with them while doing what I love (dance)!

What is your dance background?
I started taking dance classes when I was five. I did ballet and Chinese folk dance until high school when I was introduced to contemporary and jazz. I couldn't imagine not dancing in college, so I researched dance groups and Penn. That's how I found Arts House, and I immediately knew I wanted to be part of such an amazing group!

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop, Modern, Chinese Folk Dance

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Jillian  

Jillian Zhang [Marketing Director]
Hometown: Laguna Niguel, CA
School: College, Physics
Year: 2018

Which aspect of Arts House are you most excited about?
Collaborating with other groups and putting on shows! Also classes with amazing teachers and dancing with the fiercest group of people on campus.

Why did you join Arts House?
Arts House was the only group on campus that possessed the high-energy and technique-based styles that I was used to. Their performance at FPAN when I was a freshman was phenomenal, and now, as a part of the company, we definitely continue to uphold the high standard of stylized performance and technique I witnessed before.

What have you learned from Arts House?
Arts House has taught me what is truly important in life: food, shopping, a passion for something (in this case, dance), and how eating, shopping, and dancing together with the same people for your college career creates long-term friendships.

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
The family! It's always the best when you get to dance with the same people you sleep, study, breathe, and eat with.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet

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Margo  

Margo Buck
Hometown: Greenwhich, CT
School: College, Cognitive Sciences
Year: 2018

How did you know Arts House was for you?
Before I even stepped foot on Penn's campus I had studied Arts House's YouTube page, watched many of their dances, and had my heart set on the company; my experience at auditions just reaffirmed those feelings. The company members went out of their way make an intimidating process enjoyable and welcoming. The choreography was also a huge selling factor! The combinations they taught were all amazing but also vastly different from one another and now I really look forward to experimenting with new styles of dance. Prior to meeting the group I was already blown away by everyone's technique and the diverse choreography and after witnessing the evident friendship amongst all the members I knew Arts House was perfect for me!

Describe your dance style in 5 words:
Smile, jump, jump, smile, extension

What is your favorite Arts House memory?
My first Arts House show experience was incredible. All semester the upperclassmen talked about how amazing the audience is and how exciting it is when all your friends are cheering for you. I assumed they were all exaggerating just to get the newbs excited so when the curtain opened on the first night I was so surprised. The shouts from the audience throughout the entire show made the experience more exciting and fun than I could have imagined (though it made keeping a straight face during contemporary pieces real hard..)

How has being in Arts House affected your Penn experience?
Arts House has absolutely made my Penn experience! Rehearsals and dance classes have been my much needed stress reliever. Whenever I am overwhelmed with school work, dance is my escape and never fails to make me happy. I also met my absolute best friend! The House has given me an amazing friend group that I have such a fun time with and that I know will always be there for me.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop

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Nick  

Nick Silverio [Artistic Director]
Hometown: Shrewsbury, MA
School: Wharton, Management
Year: 2018

What is your favorite style of dance?
This is an impossible question, so I will say contempacrobazz: contemporary (I love exploring new ways of movement), acrobatics (a new but true passion), and jazz (nothing beats a good jazz walk).

How has being in Arts House affected your Penn experience?
I took a gap year after my freshman year to pursue a professional dance career in NYC. It has been extraordinary, but one of the main things pulling me back to Penn has been Arts House. I miss the dancers, the collaboration, and the friendships that I have made here, so I have to thank Arts House for bringing me back to Penn!

What is it like to be the only boy in Arts House for the past couple of years?
I love it! Of course, we LOVE having boys in the company, as it creates opportunities for partnering and great storylines. It has been amazing getting to know this incredible group of women, and I hope more guys get to share that experience! #boysdancetoo

What is your signature move?
Pirouettes on the left (go lefties!).

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Hip-Hop, Modern, Acro

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NicoleF  

Nicole Frazzini [Finance Director]
Hometown: Lorton, VA
School: College, English
Year: 2018

What trick (if any) are you working on at the moment/which trick would you like to master?
I LOVE watching beautiful extensions, so at the moment, I'm working on longer and more controlled lines, which means ballet, ballet, ballet (and a lot of stretching)!

What is your favorite Arts House piece that you've ever danced/watched and why?
I love the "Lay Me Down" video Arts House created. I feel like it was such a good representation of the company because when everyone improv-ed they were so different, but the video did a really good job of combining everything seamlessly so that it all blended together to create something new!

How did you know Arts House was right for you?
When I visited Penn as a prospective student, I saw Arts House passing out fliers for their upcoming show on Locust Walk. It was honestly something that just happened by chance; we were just about to leave to go home, and we almost decided to just leave straight from the hotel, but we decided to walk through campus one more time before leaving. I talked to them for a little while, and when I visited Penn for a second time, I reached out to them to find out more about dance at Penn. After Allie and Kelly agreed to meet me, and talked to me for almost an hour about Arts House, I knew it would be a perfect fit for me if I got in!

What is your signature move?
I don't know what to call it, but when I improv, I ALWAYS do some sort of slow back bend/arch. I don't know why, but it just always happens. I also love attitude turns, and I do those a lot too.

Dance Experience: Ballet (15 years), Jazz (11 years), Lyrical (10 years), Contemporary (4 years), Hip-Hop (3 years), Acro (2 years), Tap (1 year)

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Sara  

Sara Sachs [Scheduling Director]
Hometown: Yardley, PA
School: College, Communications & Cinema Studies
Year: 2018

What is your favorite Arts House piece that you've ever danced/watched and why?
I was lucky enough to watch Arts House perform Royal-T live. The dancers were fierce, their technique was spot-on, and the stage lighting made the song really intense. I wanted to jump into the piece so badly!

What have you learned from Arts House?
Choreographing is more difficult than it seems, but incredibly rewarding.

How did you know Arts House was for you?
Over the years, I have observed several of the other dance groups at Penn and realized that Arts House and only Arts House would allow me to do what I love, at the level in which I love to dance, and learn quite a bit more as well!

What is your signature move?
Hinging on my toes. (Easier to explain with visuals than words)

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Hip-Hop

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SOPHOMORES

anm

Anushka Makhija
Hometown: Bridgewater, NJ
School: Engineering, NETS
Year: 2019

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
My favorite thing about Arts House is the people! Joining Arts House definitely made me feel much more at home at Penn and I already feel like I'm part of a family on campus. Everyone is so close, fun, and welcoming! I can't wait to spend my next four years in this amazing community.

What is your favorite Arts House memory?
I'd say the night I got in! It was the night after callbacks, I had thought I'd messed mine up pretty badly and was not feeling great about my chances. I was in downtown Philly for an event afterwards, and suddenly a girl (Ramita) pulled me outside and the entire team had come all the way downtown to welcome me into Art House!! It was great.

What is your dance background? What led you to Arts House?
I didn't actually start training in my current favorite style of dance (contemporary) until high school! I originally started off doing rhythmic gymnastics, Bollywood dance, and Indian classical dance until I was 14. Going into high school, I ended up stopping gymnastics and taking up contemporary, ballet, and jazz, and haven't looked back since.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop, Indian Classical (Kathak), Bollywood

 
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hp

Haley Pisciotta [Costume Director]
Hometown: Westhampton Beach, NY
School: College, Environmental Sciences
Year: 2019

How did you know Arts House was for you?
During auditions when I first met everyone on Arts House and saw how close they were I knew I wanted to become part of their family. Dance to me has always been more than the performance itself but the people you spend time with in and out of the studio.

What is your signature move?
My signature move is probably a switch ring leap..... or pretty much any tumbling.

What is your dance background? What led you to Arts House?
I started dance and gymnastics when I was 4 and began competing in both by the time I was 10. As I got into higher levels in gymnastics that were much more time demanding, it got a lot harder to continue both but I somehow found a way to do so. Gymnastics ended up helping me with dance and getting me to where I am today. The crazy talent of everyone in Arts House and the high level of technique I have always been used to definitely led me to this company.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop, Modern, Acro

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lr

Liz Reckart
Hometown: Tucson, AZ
School: Engineering, Computer Science
Year: 2019

How did you know Arts House was right for you?
I absolutely loved the jazz combo we learned in auditions. It was challenging, sassy, and a ton of fun all wrapped into one. I knew I was in the right place when the class flew by without me realizing!

How has Arts House affected your Penn experience?
Arts House has helped the college transition immensely for me. Everyone has been so wonderful and the dancing is a great way to let loose from school! I am so thankful to be a part of Arts House!

What is your dance background? What led you to Arts House?
I started training in ballet when I was 4 years old. Ballet has been my base, but over the past few years I have branched out. Coming to Penn I was very excited to explore and improve on other styles of dance! Arts House had a great variety of styles so I knew it was the place for me!

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Tap

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mk

Maria Kowalchuk
Hometown: Rochester, NY
School: Engineering, Chemical and Biomolecular
Year: 2019

Why did you join Arts House?
When I came to Penn, I honestly wasn't even continuing with dance. By chance, I heard about the Arts House workshop and decided to check it out just for fun. I had such an incredible time and it felt so good to dance again that I realized I had to audition and keep dancing in some way.

How has Arts House affected your Penn experience?
Arts House has opened me up to a whole new group of people in the performing arts community here at Penn who I wouldn't have met otherwise. Dancing is also the best mental and physical release from the stress of regular college life

How did you know Arts House was for you?
For me, dance is all about the people. I felt immediately at home with the Arts House girls. As a freshman coming in, they were genuine about welcoming me into the Arts House family, and I was so excited to be a part of that.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Tap

 

 

FRESHMEN

Allison  

Allison Walter
Hometown: Hingham, MA
School: Engineering, Chemical and Biomolecular
Year: 2016

What is your dance background?
I was trained only in ballet for 15 years. I was led to Arts House because I looked up contemporary groups at Penn and watched videos of the different groups to find that Arts House had the best dancers.

How has Arts House affected your Penn experience?
Being in Arts House hasn't affected my Penn experience, it's made my Penn experience. I always say that every way that I have grown since being at Penn isn't because of my classes, my professors, my sorority, or my jobs, but because of Arts House. Arts House has shaped me as a person and a leader in addition to giving me lifelong friendships.

How did you know Arts House was for you?
It's such a quirky and awesome group of people just like my group of ballet friends back home.

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
Everyone is so different personality wise and dance training wise, but we get along so well and everyone is so close.

Dance Experience: Ballet/Pointe

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Elizabeth  

Elizabeth Beugg
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
School: College
Year: 2020

Why did you join Arts House?
I joined Arts House so that I could continue training at an advanced level at a school without a dance major. I love how much freedom Arts House gives its dancers and how much input we have in our experience!

What is your dance background?
I started dancing when I was five years old, took a 10 year break, and then danced competitively in high school. When I was deciding where to go for college, I researched all of the dance companies at Penn and found Arts House on Youtube. It was a huge part of my decision and I am so happy to be a part of the company!

What is your signature move?
Any left leg extension.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip hop, Ballet/Pointe, Tap, Acro, Musical Theater

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Hannah  

Hannah Nasseri
Hometown: Beverly Hills, CA
School: College, Health & Societies
Year: 2020

What is your dance background?
I actually originally was stalking Nick Silverio's instagram in February. After seeing how incredible he was, I was determined to figure out where he danced -- then I found Arts House. I went to a performing arts high school where I was Artistic Director and Head Choreographer for the Crossroads Dance Company for three years. There I studied choreography. I am most passionate about choreographing dances about global issues to raise awareness. My most recent pieces include "Heart Cry" which is about the Syrian refugee crisis, and "Medicine" which is about Tuberculosis. In addition to dancing at school, I was a member of the Debbie Allen Dance Company for three years where I studied all styles of dance from ballet to dunham to krumping to silks. I am looking forward to further developing my choreography skills as well as technique with Arts House.

What is your signature move?
ANY CHEST OR HIP ROLL OR HIT EVER.

Why did you join Arts House?
I knew I wanted to join Arts House after stumbling upon the company's instagram page in May. I watched the company's video collaboration with Counterparts, "Creep," which highlighted the company members ability to come together to create a cohesive and multidimensional high quality production. I fell in love with Nicole Frazzini's emotional performance and the high caliber choreography. I knew the second I saw her do a back bend in the video that I would aspire to become a member of Arts House!

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
The people.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip hop, Modern, Ballet/Pointe, African, Chinese, Salsa, Flamenco

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Monica  

Monica Aber
Hometown: Boca Raton, FL
School: Nursing
Year: 2020

Why did you join Arts House?
I wasn't sure I wanted to begin dancing again in college, but when I went to the workshop and saw how amazingly talented and nice the dancers are, I knew I had to be a part of Arts House.

What is your dance background?
I danced from the age of 6-15, stopping my freshman summer of high school. I went away to ballet camps including: Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Central Pennsylvania Ballet.

How did you know Arts House was for you?
The dancers were so welcoming and made me feel part of a family :)

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
I love rehearsal on the weekends. Even though it's a lot of hours you get to really bond with everyone and get to know them even more.

What have you learned from Arts House?
I've been introduced to so many more dance styles and learned new choreography from students.

How has being in Arts House affected your Penn experience?
It brings my Penn experience a sense of happiness and a place I can de-stress and be myself.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Lyrical, Modern, Ballet/Pointe

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Sydney  

Sydney Essex
Hometown: Sayville, NY
School: Engineering, Material Science
Year: 2020

What is your dance background? What led you to Arts House?
I began taking dance movement classes when I was little, but eventually started at a ballet only school until 8th grade. Over the years, I've branched out to other styles, keeping ballet as my foundation. I knew I needed to continue dancing at Penn, but only wanted to so if it was somewhere that valued technique and would allow me to continue growing as a dancer, like at Arts House.

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
I love being able to let loose after a crazy day with people I love to be around. Arts House and the people in the company have become my happy place!

How has being in Arts House affected your Penn Experience?
I'm so thankful to have a community as welcoming and fun as Arts House. Since starting at Penn, I already feel like I have support system that I can depend on for the next 4 years.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Modern, Ballet/Pointe, Theater, Character

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