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What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I oversee all School of Dance performances; organizing logistics during pre-production and managing the student performers and crew backstage during shows. My role is to ensure the safety and success of the performance for all involved. I am apart of enforcing show schedules and rules, and I work closely with the production team to fulfill the needs of the faculty choreographers and the student dancers.

How did your experience at CMU prepare you for your career?

During my time in undergrad, I had many opportunities to manage shows and work with a variety of people. This gave me the chance to foster my organizational and interpersonal skills, as well as broaden my knowledge through experience. This allowed me to explore my interests in performance management/technical theatre and dance in tandem with each other due to the close relationship of those departments.

What was your transition like from being a student to your current career position? 

After graduating from college, I expected the transition would be a struggle, but that doesn't mean it was very easy! However, I was actively making connections with peers and other professionals while still in college, and I gained some tricks to the trade before I began seeking a job. In this field, your connections and good relationships with other professionals is important to your hire-ability. So I had some security in my career while I worked out how to transition my personal life.

What do you think set you apart from the other applicants for your current position?

My recommendations, my particular skill sets pertaining to both management and dance, and my well-rounded resume. As a dancer and artist myself, I have a strong understanding of calling dance performances and working with fellow dancers and choreographers. I was able to speak the language of the production team and creative team during my interview and was a relatable choice to be a member of staff. Most importantly, however, it came down to my work ethic and ability to grow. During my studies, I made the decision to push myself and to say yes to any job offered or volunteer opportunity that was presented. It was hard to juggle everything at the time, but this also gave me a wealth of experiences to draw from, and the ability to adapt and handle multiple situations. In my experience, being extremely adaptable is how you get ahead.

What advice would you give to incoming college students?

 The advice I give is the same I wish I would have gotten when I started, which is don't be afraid to ask for help. Otherwise, I would say to sign up for those 8 AMs, get an internship and study abroad! Don't take those opportunities for granted, and go and make the best out of your journey. Lastly, make sure you build and keep your bridges and treasure your friends!

Connect with Jenna on LinkedIn

Published 8/8/2019