A Balancing Act

Diane Jong / New University

Here at UC Irvine, our Department of Dance under the Claire Trevor School of the Arts has reached world recognition for its successes in both performance as well as the study of dance as an artistic field. With UCI also being a premiere university known for its strong academic programs, one has come to expect students with strong talents both in the classroom and on stage.

Brittany Steacy is one of those students, currently a second-year dance major also enrolled in the Campuswide Honors Program. In this San Jose native’s own words, “people are often surprised that I’m in the honors program as well as being a dance major because it often seems like academics and dance don’t fit well together.” However, she feels as though her experience in CHP has only helped her become a better dancer, in that it allows her to add to her “creativity in dance” and ability to “find or portray deeper meanings through dance.”

As with most great artists and athletes here at UCI and other universities across the nation, the learning process started at a very young age. Steacy started dance at the ripe old age of four, after her mother put her in classes. She also remarked, “My dad has always been into the performing arts as well, mostly as an actor, so he’s been a big supporter along with my mom.”

Beyond her many instructors who have crafted this young dancer’s abilities and style, her peers have also had a major impact on the way she views dancing.

“Often times, I’ll have peers who are more advanced than me,” Steacy says. “That always pushes me to do better and I try and analyze what they do well in order to apply it to my own dancing.”

For Steacy, then, the ability to analyze and adapt has not only helped her in her academic ventures, but also in becoming a more well-rounded dancer, capable of performing here at UCI.

On top of being a dancer, Steacy is very active in her studies. With a minor in biological sciences, she is preparing herself for her future beyond dancing.

“I want to go to a graduate school in order to get my master’s in athletic training. I feel like my experience in dance and bio can be combined in a field like athletic training in which I can help dancers and maybe even other athletes with their injuries,” Steacy says.

With her education here at UCI, Steacy’s future is bright with opportunity in the ever-competitive field that she wishes to become a part of. Before that, however, Steacy says that “[she’s] hoping to first pursue a performing career in dance.”

After all, we’re only young once. With a career in performing dance, many opportunities for traveling the country (or even the world) are within her grasp. Her time here at UCI will surely be a fantastic stepping stone into the industry, and by putting her studies here to use she will be able to take her career to a level past performance.

“If I was just a dance major, I’d feel like I would be wasting the fact that I’m attending such a highly regarded academic school,” Steacy states.

Another thing that keeps her going is a pure love for the art of dance.

“One of the main reasons why I love dance so much is that the possibilities for movement and the meanings that movement can portray are endless.”

Having been in about 25 to 30 major productions in her career, she’s no stranger to the wide variety of possibilities of artistic expression available through dance. With most of her performances being performed in her hometown of San Jose, she has performed at various studies such as the Dance Arts Academy, Los Gatos Ballet, San Jose Dance Theater and the Teen Dance Company. Last year at UCI as a freshman, she performed in four major productions, building her already impressive resume of performance experience.

Steacy continues to praise dance as something that transcends the art form.

“Dance is a fundamental part of being human. I can’t imagine myself without it. It’s such a natural form of expression and I hope more people can come to appreciate how meaningful dance can be,” Steacy says.

Even if you don’t think you have any knack for dance, there are plenty of opportunities on campus here at UCI to learn through classes at the ARC.

Even if you can’t get out and participate yourself, there are still productions that you can attend at the Claire Trevor Theater. Watch Brittany perform in her next production, “Dance Visions,” on Feb. 17 – 20.