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Dance science offers hope to graduating dancer after hip surgery

Nicky Shindler spent her time at ASU learning new ways to move

ASU Dance Student Nicky Shindler

Nicky Shindler. Photo by: Ashley Lorraine Baker

May 02, 2017

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2017 commencement. See more graduates here.

At 15 years old, doctors told Nicky Shindler she should never dance again.

“I was distraught that someone could be so narrow minded to try and strip an essential part of myself away from me,” Shindler said. “I knew there was another way.”

The news hit following surgery for a hip impingement that caused labral tears. Shindler, who discovered her love for ballet and contemporary dance in elementary school, wanted to provide herself and others with a more adaptable solution, and she discovered her way into dance science and somatics.

“Finding the world of somatics guided me toward a more conscious and embodied lifestyle, where I can move in a healthier and more efficient manner,” she says.

As a dance student at Arizona State University's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, she’s been able to study in the field of dance science and enhance her knowledge of body mechanics, something she hopes to continue to do after graduation.

“I intend to continue my studies in somatics and dance,” she said. “Short term I hope to perform, teach and make cool art. Long term, I would like to receive my masters in dance kinesiology/science and become a professor incorporating injury recuperation and prevention in my teaching.”

At ASU, Shindler not only found a way to continue dancing, but she also found new dancing loves, from waacking and locking to tap and social dancing.

“These styles all have their own nuances and intensions that make them so special to me.”

Shindler answered some questions about her experience at ASU.

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

Answer: A couple wise words from a couple wise teachers:
“Every choice is a choice.” – Cari Koch 
“Take what you need. Leave what you don’t.” – Sara Malan-McDonald 
“Process vs Product” – Cynthia Roses-Thema 

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: During my interview process I had the opportunity to interact with faculty members, and it was clear that the faculty was there to watch you grow, develop, struggle and succeed. I was not an ASU student — one of the thousands, I was Nicky Shindler — an integral part of the community. The intimacy and the genuine interest from professors I have encountered here in the Herberger Institute was the initial reason I chose to study at ASU. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: The best piece of advice I could give to those in school is don’t forget to enjoy your work. Smile more, eat more pizza and pet more puppies. 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot on campus is the lawn in front of the Student Services building. The perfect place to lay on the grass, catch some rays and do some studying. 

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Well, there are a lot of problems on this planet, but if I were given $40 million dollars to address one, I would start an organization dedicated to developing an environmentally-conscious youth, implanting eco-friendly lessons and standards into state and federal curriculum.

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