Ailey Seniors Contemplate Post-Grad Plans

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FCLC Dancers Prepare to Leave the Nest After Four Short Years

By Jennie Nau
Editor in Chief
Published: April 17, 2008

It’s coming.  And no, it’s not the Loch Ness monster, but to many, it’s just as scary.  Graduation is less than a month away, and the seniors of the Ailey/Fordham BFA program have to decide what to do next.

“I’ve been asked to be a member of Ailey II starting this summer,” said Taeler Cyrus, FCLC ’08.  “The company is based in New York City but will be traveling all year to 48 different cities.”

It is not unusual for students in the BFA program to be asked to join Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’s second company, which began in 1974.  However, Cyrus is the only one from this year’s 20 BFA member class who has been asked to join.

“I am thrilled to be joining Ailey II,” Cyrus said. “It’ll be an exciting year, and it was an honor to be asked to join.”

While Cyrus is looking forward to being able to see the world and dance at the same time, she also has plans to train younger aspiring dancers.

“I eventually would like to join a European dance company and dance and travel around Europe for a few years before coming back to the states and opening my own dance studio,” Cyrus said.

For Carolina Santos Read, FCLC ’08, her career in the Ailey program is coming to an end, but not her tenure at Fordham.

“In fall of 2008, I have to return to Fordham for my extra semester to finish up my second degree, a B.A. in political science,” Santos Read said.  “I will be a full-time Fordham student for the first time without being a full-time Ailey student, but I plan to still take dance class often at
different schools.”

According to Ana Marie Forsythe, the director of the Ailey/Fordham BFA program, Santos Read is the only member of the graduating BFA class who is pursuing a double major.

“Political science is a very important issue to Carolina, and it is something that she has worked very hard on in order to achieve,” Forsythe said.

Although, if a company director or Broadway producer come calling, Santos Read is prepared to put her academics on hold in pursuit of her dance career.

“If I get a job before the fall, I will defer the extra semester, but I definitely want to finish up my second degree in order to attend graduate school for International Relations in the future.”

Maresa D’Amore-Morrison, FCLC ’08, is an apprentice with Urban Bush Women, a modern dance company whose mission is to “bring the untold and under-told histories and stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance,” according to the company’s Web site.

I’m very excited to be surrounded by intelligent, courageous and beautiful dancers, but even more importantly, women,” D’Amore-Morrison said. “The work I have already done with the company has been both inspiring and empowering, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to continue working with them.”

D’Amore-Morrison will be working with Urban Bush Women throughout the summer, while auditioning for concert and commercial dance work as well.  And when her dance career comes to an end, she plans on “using dance as a means of therapy or healing for those who have experienced some sort of trauma or pain.” Through this type of work, D’Amore-Morrison will encourage participants to heal or mend any type of impairment they may have acquired  through dance-related movement.

To round out the group, Josiah Guitian, FCLC ’08, will be continuing his work with Jennifer Muller/The Works.  He was asked to join the modern dance company that focuses on the Muller Technique, which Guitian describes as somewhere between the Horton and Graham techniques, in May 2007.  Even though Guitian still had one year left in the Ailey/Fordham program, his work with the company counted toward his remaining dance requirements, and he’ll be graduating on time with a year of professional experience.

When he is ready to move on from Jennifer Muller/The Works, he would like to perform on a cruise ship.

“One of the company members just came back from a cruise and said that the sheer money aspect is phenomenal,” Guitian said.  “It’s a great job for dancers coming out of college, because with the money he saved from his job, he is able to live in New York doing nothing for 10 months.”

But his major aspiration is to dance with MOMIX, a dance company that Guitian described as “basically Cirque de Soliel but dance.”  Guitian said that he loves the company’s work and the fact that the company tours frequently.

“I’d like to pursue MOMIX while I’m leaving Jennifer Muller,” Guitian said. “I worked with them a year ago but decided not to pursue them because they don’t have a consistent schedule.  With Jennifer, I take company class five days a week and rehearse five days a week, but MOMIX isn’t like that.  They’ll offer you a three-month contract and when the contract is up, they won’t call you for another six months.  It’s not a bad thing.  I’m just not at that stage yet.”

For other graduating dance majors, Guitian offers this advice: “Go to every [audition] you’re asked/suggested to go to,” Guitian said.  “Ms. Forsythe suggested that I go on this audition and it worked out to
be phenomenal.”