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by Rebecca Boelzner04/27/2015
What do you do when you're stranded late at night with a flat tire and 11 professional dancers? Just ask senior Hillary Kooistra.
Kooistra, a student at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, was one of this year's 21st Century Artist Interns. The internship, a collaboration between SMTD and the University Musical Society, matches U-M students with professional performing ensembles that UMS will present the following season. The students complete summer internships with the ensembles and then act as campus ambassadors for the groups when they are in Ann Arbor.
For six weeks last summer Kooistra, 21, worked with the Trisha Brown Dance Company, an iconic post-modern dance company based in New York City.
She accompanied the dancers for two stops of their tour, giving her a taste of fast-paced life in a touring dance company and showing that anything can happen on tour - even a flat tire. For Kooistra, observing the group's rehearsals was "like getting a sneak peek at the man behind the curtain."
Between trips, Kooistra served as on-site coordinator for TBDC's three-week summer dance intensive in New York, assisting the students and teachers as well as participating in the workshops. She said the instruction was valuable to her growth as a performer: "Some of what I learned will surely find its way into my Senior BFA Concert this April."
When she returned to campus in the fall, Kooistra planned a host of events to go with TBDC's Ann Arbor performances in February, including master classes, community workshops, and a post-performance reception for U-M dance students to network with company members.
"I seldom see students who are so committed to and passionate about using their art form to effect change in the world," said Jim Leija, UMS director of education and community engagement, and Kooistra's mentor for the internship.
"Hillary has been a joy to work with around the Trisha Brown Dance Company performances. Her enthusiasm, expertise and vision for community engagement around the medium of dance have enlivened our institutional thinking about community and campus engagement."
This spring, Kooistra, who is from Teaneck, New Jersey, will receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance with a minor in performing arts management.
(This article originally appears in the April 27, 2015 edition of the University Record)
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