It's only been a few months since I graduated from Miami and left my Dance Theatre family. However, this summer is different because in the back of my mind I know that I won’t be returning to Oxford OH this fall to rekindle my friendships and love for dance. Currently I am working at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh where I facilitate endless art and making activities to museum visitors of all ages. I am also a part of Maker Corps, a professional development program where I am trained through the Children’s Museum and an online community in a summer making education program. Soon enough I will be moving to the Big Apple to attend NYU for a master’s in Art Education. That being said, I don’t think I would be indulging in these opportunities if it wasn’t for Dance Theatre. DT nourished me with the tools needed to take risks and pursue dreams. It was the most worthwhile outlet I could have devoted my time and energy to, and I already miss it dearly. I hope to never stop dancing, but I feel that nothing will be the same as Dance Theatre. I would like to at least teach in years to come so that others can experience the same love that fostered such growth in mef. In the mean time, maybe I’ll return to Oxford, even just once this year, to see old friends and vent to Lana Kay about my post-grad struggles, while admiring the fresh talents of new members.
...Liza Torrence 2017

After graduating from Miami University I moved to Houston, TX to begin working at a Sports Performance Facility. Being in Dance Theatre pushed me and taught me a lot about dance and a lot about mysel;, it taught me things that I am now able to carry over into my new career. I am excited for this new journey in a brand new state and starting my career in a blooming company. However, every day since taking my last company class with Dance Theatre I have been missing dance more than I could have imagined. Not only do I miss dancing, but I also miss being a part of Dance Theatre. Dance Theatre will always be a part of my life even if I am not physically there taking class, laughing and making memories with the members, or sitting in Lana Kay's office talking about any and everything. Once I am settled into my new city and jjob, I will find a way to continue dance. Although it is a bit far, I hope to make it back to Oxford to see some of the DT concerts and hopefully be able to choreograph for one. ...Chelsea Bellinger 2016

Since graduating from Miami University, I have been attending University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. The classes, labs, and clinic spurs me everyday, but fortunately Miami prepared me for these challenges. I haven’t gone a day without missing Dance Theatre since I left Miami. Dance has always been a major part of my life, but Dance Theatre gave me a different appreciation for movement, devotion, and cohesion. I don’t think I will ever fully accept that I’m no longer at Miami as a member in Dance Theatre, I’ll always be living in a little bit of denial of that. I’m so proud to have been apart of such an amazing company with such inspiring company members. Knowing that dance was what allowed me to fully express myself, I knew I needed to continue after graduation. That being said, with dental school being this new journey for me, I didn’t want to commit to another dance company without knowing the devotion I would be able to give in return. After the first semester of dental school, I realized that no matter how busy my schedule was, I will always need to make time for dance. I’m now a member of the Movement Continuum Dance Company in Lexington, KY. The company has also given me a new outlook on dance and I’m excited to continue dancing with the company throughout dental school. Though I’m little more than a quick drive away, I have every intention to come back for all the shows and possibly choreograph for a DT concert.
…Danielle Sadler 2015

I have made so many sappy speeches and written so many sentimental love letters about Dance Theatre during the last month, because I have had to say goodbye to a company that I hold near and dear to my heart. For a while I thought that much distance would separate me from the members of this marvelous company in Oxford, OH, I am now happy to say that I have instead taken a job in advertising right down the road in Cincinnati and, while I will not be in the studio everyday and I will not be in Lana Kay’s office every other day, it’s fortunate for me to know that I can drive just a short distance and be back in my happy place. Over the last 4 years Dance Theatre has pushed me to my limits and outside of my comfort zone, it has helped me gain more confidence in myself and in my career path, and it has provided me with so many lifelong friendships. I think of DT everyday because it lives in a part of my heart that will never forget what an amazing time it was. I owe the company everything and will always be willing to help out whenever I can. Hopefully I can go back and guest choreograph sometime in the near future! ...Kristin Bell 2014

Moving back to Texas has been a long dream of mine, so when I got accepted into Baylor University's school psychology specialist program in the spring, it was a no- brainer for me. Making such a large move has been quite a challenge, but it has been an amazing experience overall. I have to say that although the heat is sometimes unbearable, having the sun shine everyday is something that I don't ever see myself giving up. As for grad school... all I can say is that I have not flunked out yet! And, I don't plan to. Classes are rough, to say the least, but I am learning so much and it just makes me more excited to start my own career once I graduate. The hardest part is definitely not having my parents, boyfriend and friends near me, but I am a true believe that distance makes the heart grow fonder! And Dance Theatre is no exception to that! I could not be more thankful for the lessons that I have learned being a part of DT, and I hope that I will be able to make a return visit to choreograph sooner rather than later! I am beyond fortunate to have been a part of such a wonderful and talented group. I actually just took a dance class for the first time in months and well... I hated it... because it wasn't Dance Theatre. We jumped and turned, but all in all there was no meaning behind it for me. It was all very surface level dancing, and being a part of DT, I am used to digging deep, into movement, into feeling, and into the story. For me, dance is no longer just about fancy tricks, there is an intricate art form to it. That's something that a lot of people, even some dancers, do not understand. But, Dance Theatre does understand this, and that is why it is so special to me! DT has not only given me a wonderful new family, but it has also shaped how I dance, act and think. This isn't something that only shows up on stage, it has become a part of who I am, and I cannot thank DT or Lana Kay enough for that!  ...Sami Ackard 2013

This past summer has been the busiest yet. Since graduation I have completed training for Teach for America in Houston, moved to San Antonio, and begun training and working for the upcoming school district. While I have been embarked in an entirely new and different adventure from university, it still had not struck me that I was not returning to Miami and Dance Theatre until this week. While I have been attending professional development trainings and setting up my kindergarten classroom for the first day of school, I realized that this time last year I was moving back to Oxford and preparing for my senior year in DT. While I am excited about my upcoming school year as a kindergarten teacher, I still couldn’t help feeling like I was missing out on something. While I have graduated from Dance Theatre, a part of me will always be with the company. This is a fabulous group of dedicated dancers and caring friends. I am so proud to have been apart of this company for four wonderful years and I am excited to continue my commitment to Dance Theatre and dance in the future. While I am may be far away from DT and Oxford down in San Antonio, I will be thinking of the company often. Dance Theatre was such an enriching experience that provided me with so much opportunity for growth, exploration, and creativity. In a few short days when I stand in front of my classroom full of vivacious five year olds, I know I would not have been able to do this without the love, support, and friendship of DT and its wonderful dancers. …Lisa Walsh 2010

This fall marked my first year of not going back to school. The greatest thing I miss about August is all of preparation for the new year of Dance Theatre! I miss exec dinner at LKR’s house the night before classes start, auditions and initiation, the first company class that leaves you sore for days, and starting rehearsals for the winter concerts. I miss hearing everyone’s ideas for pieces they are going to show and getting to know the new company members. Even though I’ve only been away from Oxford for a few months, I know that I will miss each day I am not in Phillips alongside the other DTers. Dance Theatre defined my college experience and helped me to grow as both a dancer and a person. It helped me to mature as a modern dancer, to be better at improv, to trust a fellow dancer to hold me during partnering work, and to feel confident in my “earth” (not “air”) dance persona that LKR declared during one of my first apprentice classes. Being a part of exec for three years allowed me to become even more involved in the company. I had the opportunity of working closely with Lana Kay and helping to organize classes taught by guest teachers from around the country, trips to NYC in the fall, and ACDFA in the spring. Following Ali Tanker’s “school day of dance” theme for Dance Rep performances brings back even better memories… “Do you guys eat cookies?” and putting on my most embarrassing (and entertaining) performance which entailed busting out some hip-hop in LKR’s bright yellow tennies in a gym filled with hundreds of elementary school students. I met some of the most important people in my life through DT and doubt that I will ever feel the same connection to any group of people in the future. I will always cherish my time with Dance Theatre and feel privileged to be a part of the DT family! ...Liz O'Connor 2009

For most young women, college is undoubtedly a pivotal time period, charged with new challenges, development, self-discovery, and self-acceptance. For the young women of Dance Theatre, their time spent in college is enriched from every angle due to their commitment and devotion to a group of peers and art form that is much more than the sum of its parts. I was fortunate enough to be one of these women, and saw my experience in undergrad marked at every turn by the relationships, movement, and creative energy that is Dance Theatre. I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to turn what was a relatively-new love of dance – stemming from a pervasive gymnastics background – into the deep appreciation and respect for the modern genre I felt upon graduating. The rich history of the company that is steeped in tradition creates a sense for each dancer that she or he is part of something greater, something special. It is this feeling that surfaces every time I hear a song a friend choreographed a piece to, or walk the streets of NYC, or get to catch up with a fellow DTer in life after graduation. And it makes me happy to think that every year, more and more young dancers get to enter this tightly woven circle and experience for themselves the magic of Dance Theatre. ...Shannon Gierl 2007

In the spring of 2005 I bid my final adieu to Miami, leaving behind all the security and comfort of college life and my DT family to return home to Chicago and dive headfirst into the “real world”. Soon after returning home I quickly realized how badly I needed dance in my life and how unhappy I would be if I put my passion on the backburner to replace it with a common 9-5 career. I easily could have become unhappily comfortable not dancing, but thank god for my mom and a priceless graduation present, I registered for a week long dance intensive workshop with one of Chicago’s top modern dance companies. After a week of dancing 8 hours a day, my body was tired and sore but my passion for dance had been revived. I soon auditioned and was accepted into my first post-collegiate professional company; began teaching dance part-time; and even found a “real job” working in the counseling/bereavement department of a Hospice. Fast-forward to the present. Looking back I can honestly say that I am happy with the choices I’ve made and grateful to have been a member of DT. In the company of dancers in NYC who all majored in dance, I do not feel cheated or less qualified/capable. Dance Theatre offered so many opportunities and experiences to me that at times I feel more capable – I mean really, how many dance majors do you know that have taken masters classes from such a diverse range of companies: the Paul Taylor school in NYC, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, the Capoiera classes led by master teachers, and everything in between. Also, being able to explore and display one’s own creativity and movement vocabulary through choreographic opportunities has been a very important and invaluable experience for me. I encourage all Dance Theatre members to make use of all that DT has to offer because it’s a very special program and we’re truly lucky to be given such amazing opportunities and advantages. Pursue your passions in life and don’t be afraid to put yourself out on a limb – you never know how far you can go if your too afraid to take risks in life. Since graduation I have continued to dance professionally, most recently performing in February 2009, at the Merce Cunningham studio with a small group of independent dancers and choreographers. I have also completed my degree in clinical social work at New York University (2009), and am living and working in NYC!  …Denise Baker 2005

Its hard to believe that my Miami and Dance Theatre days are already over. It seems like just when I really began to understand what DT meant to me, it suddenly all ended. It took me a while to open my mind to modern dance movement and it took even longer to build up enough courage to create my own movement and choreography. Before I came to Miami, I had danced for many years and my dance training was black and white, emphasizing tricks and 8-counts. DT showed me the many colors and possibilities of modern dance and encouraged me to think of dance in new ways. When I came to Miami, I thought that I had given up dance forever. Finding Dance Theatre was the best thing that happened to me my freshman year and I soon learned that joining the company meant so much more than technique sessions and concerts. As a freshman, older company members scared me to death, but they held me to high standards and challenged me to push beyond my limits every day. Members of my apprentice class were there to share in my victories and failures and as a group, we bonded and became closer as the years went by. Monday/Thursday technique sessions soon stretched to seven days a week spent rehearsing and soon made the dance studio feel almost like home. Even after we moved to the new dance studio, we quickly made it our own and became defensive of its use. Though the course of my four years in DT, I met many amazing people with diverse backgrounds and talents. Each year, DT lost several talented seniors who had been my mentors and gained several eager freshman who I knew one day would take my place. Now, I have joined the masses of DT alumni and with a tear in my eye, I look back on my DT days with utmost pleasure and would give anything to spend all my days in Phillips Hall again. ...Nikki Few 2002

When I think of my most significant life experiences, I usually recall the very beginning and the very end. There is so much expectation and anticipation for things to come, then you go through the experience, and when you finish, you have this tremendous sense of accomplishment. What makes Dance Theatre so unique is that my fondest memories are not the first technique session or the celebratory chicken tenders and fries at Mac & Joe's after strike (although, make no mistake, those fries are quite memorable...). It's the rehearsals- a dancer with a sprained ankle limping through her part, the choreography application someone threw together in the middle of a lecture class, walking around in threadbare dance rags with a hooded DT sweatshirt and a "What are you looking at?" and "No, I'm not wearing any underwear. Do you have a problem with that?" expression on your face. (Uh.... Where was I?) Sometime during those four years in DT, between those delirious rehearsals, carpooling to a rep performance and dropping off a sandwich board, it dawns on you that you are part of something larger than yourself, something passionate and real. And when you finally perform a piece, if you are paying attention to that moment, really paying attention, and you are not scared of messing up and you are not wincing in pain from the blister on big toe, you learn that all of those individual moments- sweating and working and twisting your body around when you were at your grimiest and your exhausted body was screaming, "No more! I can't come up with sixteen more counts of improv!"- all along you were contributing to something divinely magical. And if you can experience that, if only for four short years, it brings a satisfaction and fullness to your life that is incomparable. ...Catherine Cochran 2000

It's very difficult to sum up my feelings for DT in a short bit of space-the company and its experiences are so dynamic, but I definitely can say that looking back, it was overall the most exciting and enjoyable part of my time spent in college. I learned so much about myself through the endless technique sessions and rehearsals, by participating in Dance Rep, serving on the Executive Board, and working as a student choreographer, somehow squeezing everything in around my academic classes. Consistently, what didn't break me most certainly made me stronger. Now, still freshly out of school, I often think of my time spent at Miami, and DT as by far the aspect I remember most vividly and miss most passionately. ... Eileen Paciotti Walters 2000

I miss Dance Theatre every day. While I was there, I couldn't wait to get out to New York and chase this dream; what I didn't realize was how much the closeness of our group inspired my dancing. Honestly, it is a difficult transition. I miss dancing my friends' choreography, and having them dance mine. I miss giddy rehearsals. I miss that energy in performance, where I could look at any member of Dance Theatre with whom I might be sharing the stage, and connect and feed off their excitement for dance and their love of our group. There was a support and nurturing in Dance Theatre, such a fostering of our passion for dance, that I will be amazed if I ever find the likes of it elsewhere. And I know I won't find the likes of LKR. ... Megan Mills 1999

Although I had been taking ballet class since the ageof 6, Dance Theatre at Miami University was my first introduction to modern dance. I instantly fell in lovewith modern and the idea of being in Dance Theatre. Isplit my time between the architecture studio and thedance studio and formed long lasting friendsh.. Joanna Kotzeips withother Dance Theatre members. I remember so much:Rehearsals, DT technique class, officers meetings,rep, ACDFA, laughing, crying, frustration, excitement,and the amazement of pulling off a concert twice ayear when no one in Dance Theatre is a dance major. Ilearned so much about myself and dance throughout thosefour years that it literally did change my life. I have now been dancing in New York City for 3 years, have traveled abroad and nationally with the companies I've been in and am still going! All that work paid off! DT was a wonderful experience. ...Joanna Kotze 1998

Since graduating from Miami, I have come to understand the importance DT played in my life. It wasn't until I was gone, that I truly appreciated what I had - isn't that always the case! DT let me explore places in myself through dance that no other group, job, hobby, class, friend or family member could. It was in DT that I was given many opportunities to grow as a person, friend, and a dancer. As a choreographer, I had the priveledge of setting my ideas onto some great dancers...and some great friends. That part of DT, the part where I could express myself through dance and see how it looked on other dancers, is my most treasured memory. Seeing the idea that I had come to life on my dancers was amazing. Sure, it didn't always turn out like I envisioned, but what did come out on stage was always beautiful to me...and expression of a part of me shared through the dancers and the dance. As far as silly memories go, I can still vivdly recall the late night tech rehearsals that sometimes sent some of us into fits of giggles. There we would be, 1 or 2 in the morning on a Wednesday or Thursday night. The stage would be lit and we would be in some form of our actual costumes just sitting around waiting for the lights and music to work perfectly so we couls all go home. At some point one of us would crack and start to laugh...at nothing really, just out of exhaustion or frustration or even boredom! That one giggle was enough to send the rest of the group into fits. I don't think anyone really minded those long hours, especially when we could sit and giggle like little kids into the wee hours of the morning. ...Liz Winfield 1995

No matter how many developpés, no matter how many coccyx sits, and no matter how many relevés—many of them attempted EN POINTE!—dammit, I could never achieve a belly as flat or a set of gams as shapely as Lana Kay Rosenberg’s. These were not to be the gifts that Dance Theatre bestowed on me. Instead, I received something so much more precious: a voice. During my teenage years, my long-suppressed self yearned for expression in movement. Disastrous forays into the worlds of cheerleading and gymnastics led me to my first dance class at the late age of 16. I was hooked. My straight A’s came in handy—they got me into Miami University. At my Dance Theatre audition, I was one of the apprentices voted in on “potential.” and would have loved to be a fly on the wall during that decision! By introducing me to the art of choreography and its associated performance opportunities through Dance Theatre, Lana Kay showed me a fertile place where my bruised soul could flourish. It felt as though Lana Kay had asked me, “Who are you?” and then waited patiently for the answer. It was the first time anyone had asked. Choreography was the perfect intellectual puzzle and emotional release for me and I couldn’t get enough of it. Not surprisingly I guess, I created dances about trust, the risks of being an individual, emotional release through movement, the blues, grief. My efforts were rewarded when one of my pieces was performed on the gala concert of the American Dance Festival at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, in 1980. If one defines family as the group of individuals with which one first explores intimate relationships, a group that will nurture and accept you unconditionally as you seek to discover what is truly important in life, then Dance Theatre was my first family. As a subdivision of the larger Miami University, where I could have easily continued my dutiful student camouflage and emerged six years later with two degrees yet none the wiser, DT was a saving grace. To all of my Dance Theatre brothers and sisters who may have occasion to read this, you now know how precious was every word of encouragement, every act of respect, every dutiful interpretation of my ideas, and every opportunity to lead. As you can see I no longer fear self expression! I have learned that my sensitivity was never meant to be denied, but celebrated as a gift from God. I have been a dance critic for seventeen years and am completing work on my first novel, a journey of self-discovery. May the journey never end. ...Kathryn Graham Craft 1980

When my first-born left for college 8 years ago, I had one suggestion for him outside of the usual go-to-class-watch-your-spending-eat-meals-do-laundry, et al. It was: Check out things that vaguely interest you and find those you want to explore and participate in. And go for it. Be brave. If it’s physical activity, even better. It may “make” college for you--may become a source of lifelong enrichment and interest. I found that in 1970 when a teaching assistant encouraged a terrified 17-yr. old freshman who had taken childhood dance classes to audition for the Orchesis Dance Club. Lana Kay Rosenberg had agreed to direct the formerly Isadora-Duncanesque troupe. My little world changed; in exchange for a lot of hard work, I received all the many benefits described in all other Alumni Reflections on this page . . . AND a lifelong friend AND a lasting interest in dance, theater, music, and art. No experience, with the exception of parenting (!), has had a more profound affect on my life than being a part of Dance Theatre for 6 years. Dance did not become my vocation, alas, but the DT experience shaped my perspectives on: creativity, process of inventing, open mindedness, setting priorities, improvising, working with others, trying new things . . . the list could be much longer. In the fledgling years of Dance Theatre, we made flyers via mimeograph and rehearsed to albums on a record player. We HAD to include a pointe piece in every concert, as that was an audience expectation for “dance.” Occasionally, someone fell into the light trough at dress rehearsal. Lana Kay “made” dancers of us, trained us to choreograph, took us to master classes, exposed us to great performances, & started the annual NYC Safari. In the many DT concerts I’ve attended over the years, I always have the same general reactions: that Mrs. Rosenberg continues to attract talent and then develop that into professional and polished performances; that she continues to inspire “non-majors” to work, learn, create, and accomplish so much; and that those “kids” are having as great a time and experience as did I. Every time I see a Dance Theatre concert, I am proud and gratified to have “gotten in on the ground floor.”
...Sue Stoltz Nason 1974 & 1977