At a chance encounter with Hallie Brookman ’12 at a coffee shop off campus, Mia Ray ’14 excitedly approached her and effusively praised choreography she recently taught to her in her Advanced Dance I class.
After falling ill with viral encephalitis at the end of her senior year, Brookman decided to take a gap year before attending the University of Pennsylvania next fall.
Along with interning for a personal manager in the entertainment industry, beginning French classes, and playing tennis, Brookman returned to school to assist the Advanced Dance I class with their showcase in December. She also visited as a guest teacher Feb. 5, and is assisting with the Advanced Dance II concert as well.
The Advanced Dance I showcase is an outreach performance done each year for ARC, the largest national community of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Brookman participated in this performance when she was a sophomore.
“I wanted the dancers to have the same emotional experience that I had when I was performing for ARC,” Brookman said.
After helping out with the showcase, Brookman returned last Tuesday to choreograph a contemporary piece, which the students said they adored. It was her first time teaching a class.
Although the time Brookman had with the Advanced Dance I students was short, she managed to squeeze in the choreography she wanted to teach and watch them perform it in groups.
“I just loved taking a step back and watching them dance the piece and really make it their own,” Brookman said.
Since she began dancing dance when she was two years old, Brookman knows what it’s like to be on the stage and can relate to the dancers now.
“I just want to be there to help and be a second eye,” Brookman said.
Brookman plans to audition for the student dance companies at Penn, and also plans continue to dance at a studio in Philadelphia.
“I really plan on continuing dance throughout my whole life, it’s always been a passion of mine,” Brookman said.