Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Student Experience
Julianne Hough
Julianne Hough University of Kansas, Dance and Communication Studies

Since the age of five when Julianne Hough slipped into her first pair of dance shoes, dance has been a consistent thread in her life. Throughout her elementary and high schools years, she studied dance at ODC - Oberlin Dance Collective in San Francisco. Later, her path led to CSM where she continued to cultivate her passion for dance.

Julianne first arrived on CSM’s campus as a high school student.  Since her high school didn’t offer dance, she enrolled in a modern dance class at CSM through the College Connection – Concurrent Enrollment Program. “In addition to a variety of dance classes, CSM offers a Performance Dance Ensemble (PDE), a student group that produces student dance concerts every semester. I knew I wanted to be involved in PDE. I found a nurturing dance community at CSM, so it was only natural that I would continue my education there. It has been the right place for me to further develop as a dancer while I discovered what I wanted to do with my life.”

As a full-time college student at CSM. Julianne took full advantage of the college’s dance offering focusing on modern, jazz, ballet and social dance. CSM’s dance department provided opportunities for Julianne to further develop her talent and build her confidence as a dancer. “Coming to CSM has given focus to my life. I feel so lucky to have had Professor Denaya Daily as my dance instructor; she helped guide me to improve my technique and self-discipline. I look up to Denaya as a dancer and a teacher—she is very approachable. Taking her classes helped me to grow as a dancer and a student.”

Julianne found CSM’s dance instructors were very encouraging.  “When I began at CSM, I was very shy but thanks to my dance classes and the faculty, my social and academic growth was nourished. I also met my closest friends in the dance classes I took at CSM.” During her years at the college, Julianne not only expanded her repertoire of dance but she also developed new and related skills. “I learned how to choreograph dances for our PDE concert where dance students showcase their skills. I also performed my first solo dance.”

Through her participation in CSM’s dance community, Julianne learned about another opportunity that would diversify her dance background. Laurel Elementary School in San Mateo needed volunteers to teach dance to special education students. It was new territory for Julianne but she was excited about the challenge. “Teaching dance to the children turned out to be a wonderful experience as I learned about working with children. It warmed my heart to watch them grow through the dance process.” she says.

While she was enjoying her pursuit of dance, Julianne also concentrated on her general education coursework to prepare to transfer to a university. She found supportive instructors throughout her classes. “Rudy Ramirez, my ethnic studies professor was inspiring. Besides teaching, he produces a rhythm and blues show each semester at CSM and he gave me the opportunity to perform in his productions.”

Despite her passion for dance, Julianne wasn’t necessarily looking to pursue a professional dance career. However, she wanted to find a major which would provide career opportunities that could apply to the field of dance. She made that connection in her communication studies classes. “My favorite class was Intercultural Communications. Learning how different cultures communicate has been fascinating.”

Julianne will graduate with her AA degree in communication studies this May and transfer to University of Kansas as a communications and dance major.  “I don’t know exactly where it will lead me but I want to blend my interests in dance and communications. I hope to work with people in various parts of the world, perhaps as a dance therapist or dance instructor for children.”

“I’ve enjoyed my experience at CSM and now I feel ready to move on to a university. By attending CSM, I’ve had the opportunity to broaden my knowledge in many different areas. I made important decisions about my major and minor and where I want to continue my education. I have a much clearer vision for my life.”