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Alumni, what was your next step?

As someone who has spent around 15 years in a “slash-career”—always juggling at least three if not more part-time jobs that touch on different skillsets and interests—I often view myself as an alumna of agencies rather than my alma mater.

I learned grant writing, first, by volunteering for the Boys & Girls Club and later by jumping right into a grant writer job with a sexual assault service provider. I discovered that United Way has a crazy thing called outcome measurements, and that government grants require a lot of analytics, along with matching funds and a lot of things I didn’t learn about in my “math for non-math and science majors” class at the University of Georgia.

My PhD in English and certificate in Women’s Studies taught me a lot about seventeenth-century women’s gendered discourse and how Judith Butler’s theories might problematize corporeal practices without exactly showing me how to act as an advocate in Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) exams or what to write in a lifestyle-focused magazine, so I learned those skills in an emergency room and from an editor who had a lot of patience with my predilection for periodic sentences, Oxford commas, and esoteric language (before challenging me to edit it all out).

With that in mind, I’m curious about how students who took classes at the Makaroff School of Ballet or played roles in productions as members of the Makaroff Youth Ballet Company have grown through and from their experiences at the barre. Where do alumni go after they hang up their pointe shoes—if they do, because some of our alumni are still dancing strong years later, like Kyle Davis, who was just promoted to Principal at the Pacific Northwest last month and will return once again to Appleton to take the lead in The Nutcracker when we're onstage at the PAC in December.

Our local arts community has engendered opera singers, ballerinas, professional musicians, and more, but arts programming doesn't only nurture the gifts we see on the stage: the arts open imaginative vistas of all kinds; they also illuminate big questions and require skills that serve everyone from doctors and scientists to small business owners and entrepreneurs well.

That's not to say we don't love seeing you stay in the spotlight: rather, it means we are endlessly surprised and awestruck by where we see MYB alumni receiving the applause they deserve.

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