Student to intern for top ballet school

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
Adyson Johnson (middle) partakes in the dance “Xx” during a dress rehearsal for the 2017 Dancescape performance on Tuesday, Feb. 15. (Photo by Taylor Nyman)

Adyson Johnson (middle) partakes in the dance “Xx” during a dress rehearsal for the 2017 Dancescape performance on Tuesday, Feb. 15. (Photo by Taylor Nyman)

Elizabeth Pulanco / Winonan

This summer, Winona State University junior Adyson Johnson is moving her passion for dancing away from the spotlight.

As a child, Johnson said dance was something to do after school, but as she continued to dance, it became an important part of her life.

“It is the one thing I have always gone back to,” Johnson said. “It has been in my life for so long and it is something I am comfortable with, so it just made sense to make a life out of it.”

When Johnson, a junior at Winona State University, signed up for classes her first year of college, one of the first things she did was declare her dancing minor. Johnson is a marketing major and is also pursuing a minor in arts administration.

After declaring her dance minor, Johnson said Gretchen Cohenour, her advisor and director of the dance program, took Johnson under her wing.

According to Cohenour, Johnson has been an active member of the dance community, working with many different productions within the program. In preparation for the 2017 Dancescape production, Cohenour said she was looking for a production assistant, and Johnson’s skills made her the perfect choice for the job.

“She came to mind because of her strong organization and communication skills, and her friendly, affirming presence,” Cohenour said.

Along with being involved in the production process, Johnson has also performed in Dancescape productions. While dancing, Johnson said she feels connected to emotional and modern dance pieces.

“A lot of time with a dance there is a story or some kind of intention,” Johnson said. “Anything I can relate to is obviously easier to give emotions for, and if I am familiar with a feeling or have been in a situation that the dance is about, it is easier to give that to the audience.”

The internship Johnson has earned from the Joffrey School is an arts administration internship. According to Johnson, interns will participate in standard office work like filing and organizing and also helping with registration for summer dance sessions.

Johnson will be in New York City for two months, and the internship is paid and offers housing.

Johnson, who has never been to New York City, said she is excited to explore the city and meet the other interns in the program.

“I think there will be five or six of us that will be working together,” Johnson said. “That will be really fun because I am sure we will all be coming from different places.”

By traveling to New York City, Cohenour said she believes Johnson’s experiences will have a positive influence on Winona State’s dance program.

“Her experiences in New York City and the dance world over there will give her some experience and perspective on how things are in that world,” Cohenour said. “She will bring that understanding and insight back and she will have so much more to contribute.”

Johnson said she was also interested in other internships at the Hubbard Street Dance Company in Chicago and smaller dance companies in Minneapolis, but she only applied for an internship in New York City.

“I knew I wanted to be in New York because that is a huge place for the performing arts,” Johnson said. “I already knew of the Joffrey School and I thought, ‘Why not take a chance and just apply?’’’

The application process took place online and after applying, Johnson interviewed with two representatives from the Joffrey School’s human resources department. According to Johnson, a few days after her second interview she was offered the position.

“I think she did a beautiful job with her two interviews and they probably figured out there was a really strong team member who could take initiative and hold things together with a light heart and a strong work ethic,” Cohenour said.

For Johnson, she said the internship will give her a chance to gain a better understanding of what she wants to do for a career.

“What I want to do when I graduate is to work for a professional dance company in their arts administration of marketing department. You have to know about the performing art that you are working with to run the actual business,” Johnson said.

Through Johnson’s experiences from the internship, Cohenour said she has high hopes for what Johnson will do in the future.

“Her interest in arts administration will make her a very valuable asset and once she gains a presence in that community, and tastes the incredible energy of New York City, she will flower in many ways that we can’t even predict,” Cohenour said. “She has a bright future.”

By Elizabeth Pulanco

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