Junior Clara Michaud has been dancing since she was eight years old, and while she did not like it at first, she has developed a strong work ethic and learned from her time dancing.
Michaud has been a part of Dance Spectrum since she was a freshman and is also working with a professional dance company called Flight.
While dance was not love at first sight for Michaud, she began connecting with it when she started taking hip-hop classes.
“I think once you find that connection with the music, you get more into it and it has an impact on you,” Michaud said.
Michaud described dance as an outlet for expressing herself.
“I think it’s pretty amazing that it has the ability to always brighten my day. I go into the studio and I can just immediately forget about everything that has happened,” Michaud said.
Not only has Michaud expressed herself through dance, but she said she has also learned some valuable lessons.
“I train 15 to 20 hours a week so it teaches me to have a sense of time management with balancing work and everything else that I do,” Michaud said. “It teaches you to take care of your body.”
When dancing at Studio 10 Michaud was approached by her contemporary dance teacher, Joce Satterberg, to be a part of her dance company. Satterberg, who is the founder of Flight as well as Studio 10, started dancing at a young age.
“I got started in classes when I was about three years old and I kind of just stuck with it,” Satterburg said. “It became something that I really loved and that I couldn’t live without.”
After completing one season with Flight, Satterberg and her co-artistic director decided to start a trainee program for students at her studio to work with professional dancers.
“We noticed that some of our dancers were much more serious about going on and becoming dancers…this was a way to help give them experience in the professional field,” Satterberg said.
Satterberg said that she chose to reach out to Michaud to participate in this new program because she felt Michaud was a student that was always present, hardworking, and showed interest in wanting to continue with dance.
Through this opportunity Michaud has gotten to shadow members of the company as well as perform in some of the pieces. Last November, Michaud performed in a piece with the company called Altitude where she danced on boxes, which she said taught her to have more spatial awareness and added a new layer of difficulty to her dancing. While working with the company, Michaud said she has learned new skills and become more aware of her dance techniques.
“The professional company is a totally different mindset than competition dance and Dance Spectrum because it’s not really as much about impressing other people and showing off to others, it’s more like being more artistic and creative, it’s more for yourself,” Michaud said.
In her time working with Michaud, Satterberg said, “She has her confidence now and she really puts her whole self into every time, really working with every aspect from the moment she steps into the room to the moment that she leaves the room. That’s very hard to find.”
Storytelling is also an important part of dance, and through competing and performing with Dance Spectrum and Flight, Michaud has been able to work on this aspect..
“I think you don’t always need facial expressions to show exactly how you are feeling…you can show that through your movement, so I think the different intensity that you put into it impacts the performance,” Michaud said. “I feel like my quality of movement has definitely changed for me. Before I wanted to hit [the moves]super sharp, but now I feel like I am a lot more aware of how my body moves than I was before.”
In the future, Michaud hopes to continue dancing through college and one day open up her own studio, keeping dance as a large part of her life. As for Michaud’s future, Satterberg said, “She has taught me that students can be reached and that I am not just talking to an empty crowd, and that when I put effort into my students they will reciprocate that,” adding, “I have really enjoyed her work ethic, she is definitely on the pathway of being a very successful professional dancer. She is going to go far.”