Get to Know Morgan!
Q: How did your interest in ballet begin? When did this lead you to CPYB?
At age 3, my parents enrolled me in dance classes at another local studio. I can’t remember back that far, but I hear I told them I wanted to take ballet. I also know that I was a very energetic little girl, and getting me involved in activities outside of the house was beneficial to everyone!
After 2 years of dancing, it was clear I enjoyed it and that I wanted to keep going. My parents have always looked out for my best interests. They felt that if I was going to dance ballet, I should get the best ballet education available. At age 5, I began attending classes at CPYB. I studied at CPYB from 1987-1996. Back then, there were no warehouse studios, there was only ‘The Barn!’
Q: Do you have a special memory about Marcia that you would like to share?
I had been selected to perform the role of Clara (now, Marie) in The Nutcracker. I was so excited! I had never really had a role that involved a lot of acting and I guess I thought it would just come naturally. Little did I know that acting and emoting was something I had to learn. Fortunately, I had Marcia as my guide.
Marcia set time out to specifically coach me and the other students learning the role. She gathered us around the TV and played us a movie clip of a few little children interacting. Marcia asked us to share our thoughts on the video and asked us some questions about the clip. Then she showed us a scene of the kids in the Mary Poppins movie interacting. Wow! What a difference. We reflected on that scene and answered some questions. She showed us the first movie clip again and we giggled with how bad the acting was! The kids were cardboard, wooden, stiff. No emotion. Their words didn’t sound natural at all. I can’t remember what she said, and she didn’t say it explicitly, but we were able to put it together. Our acting was currently at the level of the kids in the first clip, and she wanted us to get to the level of the Mary Poppins kids.
To act at that level is, at first, unnatural. There was one scene in which Marcia told me I was smiling, but I didn’t look like a little girl dancing with dolls that had just come to life! So I did an internal sigh, dug deep, and smiled and beamed so much I thought for sure I looked like a clown. I didn’t. I had finally hit the mark. That’s one lesson I learned over and over. If you need to work on something, you need to do it at a level 1,000 times more than you think you need to; or, you need to do it 1,000 times until it becomes a part of who you are. (And then maybe 1,000 more times!) Whenever I get stuck on something today, when I can’t overcome something, I remember to dig deep and push myself to give it that 1,000 to help get me towards where I need to be.
Q: So, where are you now? What does a day in your life look like today?
I’ve done a little bit of everything since leaving CPYB, but I’ll pick out the highlights! You know, ballet inspired me to take French in school as French is the language of ballet. Then, when I was a teenager, I spent a summer in France as an exchange student. I never would have done that had it not been for ballet.
I love learning and I earned a bachelors degree and two masters degrees. Both of my masters degrees were completely funded by scholarships. I am a co-author on three papers published in peer reviewed journals, have attended a regional and national psychology conference, and last fall I gave a presentation to a local chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. I love traveling, both within and outside of the United States. Last fall, I traveled to Bali and spent about 10 days exploring the country on my own.
I’ve worked in human services for ten years, and I’m currently employed as a supervisor at a local social service agency. My day can be very hectic and stressful, so I do yoga, knit, and run to relax. I am about to run my third half marathon just before this campaign kicks off! I also try to go out to dinner with my dad at least once a week. He is a man about town and there is a good chance you’ve run into him at a local event chatting everyone up about the ballet! His work in the community is a big inspiration to me. I try to make as many CPYB performances as possible. The June Series has long been a favorite because of the variety of ballets performed during the four day run.
Q: What did you learn during your time at CPYB that you still use in your daily career/life?
There is so much I’ve learned that I use on a regular basis I could not adequately summarize it here. I am often recognized for my: work ethic, dedication, motivation, self-awareness, creativity, time-management and ability to get along with others. I have found I can be a valuable part of the team, but I have also been recognized for being able to step up and provide leadership.
I hope to be able to share all of this through conversations that occur with others I meet during this campaign.
Q: What words of wisdom would you share with current students?
Enjoy it. Enjoy every step, every class, every rehearsal, every performance. Yes, you need to work hard, very hard, but don’t forget that you are dancing! To be able to dance ballet is such a gift. If you ever start to feel a little lost or worried, just come back to the joy of dancing, and start again from that place.