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Graduating dancer credits faculty for personal growth

Photo of Quinn Mihalovic in a dance pose.

Quinn Mihalovic graduates with a BFA in dance. Photo by Carlos Arturo Velarde

December 01, 2018

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2018 commencement. Read about more graduates.

This month, Quinn Mihalovic graduates with a BFA in dance, and he says he owes his success to the School of Film, Dance and Theatre dance faculty, especially Karen Schupp, associate professor and assistant director of dance.

“Karen Schupp saw something special in me from the beginning of my studies,” Mihalovic said. “I remember being upset that she wouldn't let me transfer into a different ballet class my freshman year. However, she continued to support, encourage and challenge my dance technique and artistry. I believe it was from this class that I realized that everything I do in college is for me, my body and my artistry, not for the grades.”

That lesson was a clear changing point for Mihalovic.

“My growth throughout my time here has been exponential, and it wouldn't be without her or any dance faculty that have taught me,” Mihalovic said.

As his graduation approaches, Mihalovic is using all he learned to create his own show.

“As a part of my senior project as a dance performance major, I am making my own full-length choreographed work titled “gemini” to showcase my developing artistry as I enter the ‘real world,’” he said.

This show, which is about the contrasting elements Mihalovic recognizes in his own life, takes place Friday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. at Bulldog Hall, previously Physical Education Building East, on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I knew that I was a decent dancer starting in high school. However, I went into college as a kinesiology major, but took a contemporary class my first semester at UW-Madison. This dance was way different from what I had done in high school. It involved the knowledge of the body that I was craving and interested in. From then on, I've simply been obsessed with dance and all aspects of it.  

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

A: I've learned a lot about balance. From having fun, staying focused on schoolwork, working and paying my own way through college, and also having a social life, I've gone through a lot of realizations about responsibility as a functional human and how I can take these into becoming an artist.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: In truth, I first came down to Arizona to visit my grandparents, as they are snowbirds, floating between Wisconsin and Arizona. I fell in love with the campus, and I knew I wanted to stretch my boundaries away from Wisconsin. I didn't know a whole lot about the dance program going in, but I have sure learned a lot coming out.

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

A: The studio. I feel I can be my best self in the studio, whether I am in technique class, in the studio choreographing, or in the studio doing homework or chatting with friends. I've spent so much time in these rooms, and I wish I could continue to spend just as much time in these studios.  

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I plan to move to New York City next September. I hope to find work doing light design and stage management for dance performances, which will hopefully lead to becoming a dancer for contemporary dance companies in New York. I sure hope I don't freeze after spending the last 3.5 years in paradise.

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

A: I would first build a black box theater, easily accessible to the entire Phoenix area. Next, I would do my best to get rid of plastic water bottles and straws on ASU campus (or the entire state or country). Reusing is the new NEW.  Let's save this planet, one step at time. 

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