Student Spotlight

Tatiana Barber, Class of 2016

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
High School: 32nd St USC MAST High School

What have you learned about yourself both as a dancer and as a person, since joining the program?

I have learned that, as both a dancer and a person, I need to be confident within my gifts. I have learned that no matter what you may lack or are working on, throughout the classroom process you must bring your best self onto the dance floor. You mustn’t shy away from the things you aren't the best at. Instead, through the power of will, you challenge your mind and body to figure out what is not working in order to embark on what is, and how to make it better.
I have learned that, as a dancer, you are always striving to make your work better. The process of perfecting or mastering your art is never really over until you give up.
Furthermore, within the art of dance, your personal character outside of the studio is just as important, if not more important, than how you carry yourself as an artist. One should be able to network, get along with their peers, be responsible, have some sort of values, be open to new information, and learn how to adjust to the unexpected.

What unique common ground have you discovered that you've shared with your peers?

I love my class. We are all completely different from one another and we are able to help each other in ways that are constructive and complimentary. We are all open to trying new ideas without any question as to why. We ask why after we have done our best to execute what was given.

What has surprised you about the program?

I have been most surprised to find that all of our ballet teachers are very different within their approach. They have helped illuminate the once illusive wonders within ballet technique that I was unable to appreciate before.
Thanks to the program, I feel a lot more free within my balletic movement whether I am taking a classical Joanna Berman class or a daring Maurya Kerr class. Each style of class produces a different outcome, but both help to build strengths in areas that other dancers aren’t able to explore. Having the opportunity to explore this range within my practice has also enlightened me to self-motivate. I have become slightly more independent within my artistic discoveries, while still being able to accept and apply others feedback. I am so appreciative of the support from every one of my teachers and their willingness to give feedback.

What is it like balancing a full academic load with a conservatory style of dance training?

I think it’s all about time management. When I prioritize in life, work and play, the things I want to do compared to the things I need to do become more apparent. Thus, I’ve learned that being irresponsible is not an option.

What other classes or activities have you enjoyed at Dominican?

I like to go to the basketball games. I’m also a member and leader of the Black Student Union on campus. I was able to perform at their events and enjoy making somewhat of a separate family outside of our dance classes. I also like lying out on the grass and enjoying the peaceful environment and beautiful scenery that our campus provides.

What is your favorite thing to do in San Francisco?

My favorite things to do in San Francisco are eating good food, supporting the arts, and people watching!

Anything else you would like to add?

Just how grateful I am for all of the support. I’ve only been here a short amount of time and I have received more support at LINES than from some people that I have known all of my life!

Photo by Steve Disenhof




Brittany Hernandez, Class of 2015

Minor: Spanish
Hometown: San Carlos, CA
High School: Carlmont High School

What attracted you to Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican University of California?

Participating in the LINES Summer Intensive for two summers is what initially sparked my interest in the BFA Program. It was important to me to continue my dance training in an intensive, conservatory-style program, while also getting a college education. However, I spent my freshman year at NYU Tisch School of the Arts for Dance. Although it is a wonderful program, it just was not right for me. I transferred to the LINES BFA at Dominican last year because I was attracted to the balance between the beautiful, peaceful Dominican campus and the opportunity to dance in San Francisco. Transferring to the program is probably one of the best big decisions I have ever made!

What have you learned about yourself both as a dancer and as a person, since joining the program?

Since joining the program, I have learned that I am so much more connected to my craft when I do my dance research and start networking early. Being proactive about talking to my teachers, taking classes from different teachers, and watching different shows has helped me realize that I want to pursue dance as a professional career.

What unique common ground have you discovered that you've shared with your peers?

I have discovered that a lot of my peers and I share the same love of dance and determination to pursue it as a career. Although we are serious about what we do, we also are just incredibly goofy together.

What has surprised you about the program?

I was pleasantly surprised by the incredible amount of moral support the other dancers in the program have for one another. The dance program is not easy (nor is the dance world for that matter). So, it’s comforting to know that you do have others supporting you.

What is it like balancing a full academic load with a conservatory style of dance training?

It’s hard. The biggest thing is time management. It’s always a challenge finding time to study, to eat right, to sleep, to take care of your body, to socialize, and to just relax. Despite the challenge, it’s all worth it because I know that I am exactly where I need to be.

What other classes or activities have you enjoyed at Dominican?

One of the highlights of my week is going to a community group called Roots. We meet every Wednesday night to pray, study the bible, and simply talk about how our week is going. Being able to talk about faith, struggles, and praises each week with people I trust is so special and a good reminder that I’m not alone.

What is your favorite thing to do in San Francisco?

I can’t pick just one! I love going to Giants games, adventuring into different parts of the SF, trying different food, and experiencing all the art that the city has to offer.

Anything else you would like to add?

This summer I got the opportunity to go on a dance service trip to Mexico through JUNTOS Collective. We traveled to different cities performing and teaching dance workshops. It was such a blessing to be able to communicate through dance, to experience a cultural exchange, and to create community. This experience allowed me to reevaluate why I dance, and the person I hope to become. I learned that connecting with people you don’t even know is so simple when you are sharing what you love to do. I would have missed out on this amazing opportunity had I not transferred to LINES BFA at Dominican.

Photo by Rob Kunkle / Good Lux Photography




Will Couture, Class of 2015

Hometown: Saint Paul, MN
High School: Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists

What attracted you to Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican University of California?

The prestige of Alonzo King LINES Ballet sparked my interest, the style and quality of movement kept me deeply interested, and the beautiful campus of Dominican University sealed the deal. I knew that I wanted to work among the contemporary ballet field and that LINES was the best place to grow into that. The first exposure of LINES I had was a YouTube video "LINES ballet - Migration: The Hierarchical Migration of Birds and Mammals" and after seeing that I was hooked.

What have you learned about yourself both as a dancer and as a person, since joining the program?

I have learned that there is a lot more for me to learn. The program is deeper than I have imagined and being here has shown me how much potential there is to grow in each person. The program not only challenges the physicality of dancers but also challenges the mentality, and this challenge is one that is so vast, we can always continue to grow and understand more.

What unique common ground have you discovered that you've shared with your peers?

We all dance, and we all love to dance. This is all the common ground that we need. Taking most of our classes together and spending even our free time together caused my class (class of 2015) to become a community and family. I love the feeling we have built and the support we have in each other. Especially during the most challenging days. Another dancer in our class gives the best pep talks. Our community and support in one of the only ways we have been able to overcome the difficulty so well.

What has surprised you about the program?

The intensity, demand, depth, and growth. Dancing full days and going to school after that is challenging and hard. It is intense but worth it. At the same time the teachers demand so much of us as students because each can see that we have so much more in ourselves than we realize. The depth of the program is further than visible. It is like looking into an ocean not able to see the bottom. We are always challenged to go deeper, and once we have to go even deeper. The last thing that has surprised me is the speed of growth within myself and amongst all my peers. We are constantly around the same people in all the same classes and over time it is fascinating to see the growth of the group as a whole.

What is it like balancing a full academic load with a conservatory style of dance training?

It is hard and challenging. However I find it also very rewarding to know I am taking on this difficult task and doing my best to take as much out of it as I can. Its simply another experience and a great life lesson to take on. Finding the balance is also allowing me to exercise more than just my body and dance mind and allowing myself to feel like I am experiencing a more fuller use of my time.

What other classes or activities have you enjoyed at Dominican?

All freshmen have to take a class called Big History, the first semester is a lot of overview of the history of the universe from the beginning to present. In the second semester we are able to take a Big History course with an emphasis in something. I choose to take the course called Writing Big History which allows the use of creative writing. I love this because it allows me to explore creativity outside of the studio. I am finding art everywhere around me and it is simply beautiful.

What is your favorite thing to do in San Francisco?

I love to meet new people, experience new things and learn about the different subculture. San Francisco is a complex place in itself but has so much to experience and enjoy. I love to pass time with friends and become acquainted with the area. It is a very different experience from the flat land of the Midwest where I am from. It is also fascinating to experience the differences in location and how that has an effect on everything.

Anything else you would like to add?

I am thankful for everything that I have been gifted. I am thankful for everything that has challenged me. I am thankful for all my peers and teachers. I am thankful for every choice I have made, helping me grow more and more as a dancer and artist. I don't plan on discontinuing this growth at any time. I wouldn't change any bit of the experience I have had, nor any bit of the experience which I am going to have. I know I am in good hands and that in four years with my hard work and the care of everyone around me I will find more in myself then I ever thought, and I am so thankful for that.

Photo by Rob Kunkle / Good Lux Photography




Phillipa Armes, Class of 2013

Minor: English with Writing Emphasis
Hometown: I’m British, half Chinese-half English, born in India, and started dancing in Singapore. I currently live in Raleigh, NC
High School: Leesville Road High School. Dance training at Sylvia McCully School of Dancing, Raleigh School of Ballet, Raleigh Dance Theatre, and I was a Trainee at Carolina Ballet last season

What attracted you to Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican University of California?

As a dancer, I’ve learned that there is always so much more to learn, no matter at what point in my career or education I find myself; there are always avenues to take my dancing to new levels, and to find and inspire new meaning. I am learning my areas of strength and weakness, and that in this incredible environment at LINES, I don’t need to feel afraid to take risks and make mistakes when I’m dancing. Out of every mistake, there is beauty and the potential for growth, and an opportunity to learn. I have also discovered the beauty in refining my movement and focusing more on its purity and what it means to me, rather than trying to imitate any style. Being vulnerable and unafraid to find complete abandon in my dancing is another huge lesson I am slowly coming into. As a person, I am realizing my own sense of self, with LINES providing a safe place to harbor my ideas and hone my aspirations. The program is helping me realize my dreams and inspiring me to make it there, without forcing me to fit any mould personally or artistically. Having danced at and fallen in love with LINES before in the Summer Training Program in 2008 and 2009, I couldn’t be happier to finally be here year-round. I feel as though I am now really able to take what I learned then to even greater heights, and to elevate my understanding of myself and my art.

What has surprised you about the BFA program?

The intensity (physical, emotional, mental, and psychological) and diversity of the program has very, very pleasantly surprised me. I expected to be dancing for hours a day, but I never expected for my days to be so packed and still go by so quickly! My time here literally flies – by the end of the week, I can hardly believe that the week even started. We are also exposed to many different styles of dance and dance-related fields in any given week, through choreography and the various classes in Workshop. I am also thrilled to work on the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Expansion Systems twice a week. I love that the program has such a strong base in ballet technique, but also an emphasis on modern training. Having both is key to building versatility and strength – something that is so important today. I have also been surprised and moved by the amount of talent there is here at the program. I am so inspired by all of the other dancers here. It’s wonderful to be in an environment that is so supportive and noncompetitive with truly incredible people, dancers, and artists, all working together, united by a common passion.

What other classes or activities have you enjoyed at Dominican?

I am in the Honors Program at Dominican, and am working towards my minor in Writing, so along with my other classes, and between dancing and rehearsals, I have plenty to do! The Dominican campus is absolutely gorgeous, so I love just finding quiet places to sit and reflect and be surrounded by the beautiful sights and sounds here. I also love going into downtown San Rafael with friends to just wander around or grab something to eat at one of the many fantastic restaurants there. Another wonderful thing about Dominican is its close proximity to the bustling metropolis of San Francisco – I adore spending time in the city on weekends and discovering San Francisco’s lesser-known treasures.

What unique common ground have you discovered that you've shared with your peers in the program?

I have discovered that we all really love what we do. Everyone brings something unique and beautiful to the program, something that truly embodies what it means to be an artist. We all believe in the arts, we all want to get the most out of our time here, and we all want to improve as dancers, artists, and human beings. The BFA program dancers are like a family! Working with dancers from all the classes in the program is one of the most rewarding and inspiring experiences I’ve ever had, and it just goes to show how much we all learn from each other every day here. Even with our commonalities, we all still have firm senses of self and beautiful stories and backgrounds to share. Our diversity and unique traits are what combine to create this melting pot of creative vitality.

Anything else you would like to add?

For me, personally, I can’t imagine being anywhere else but here at this point in my life. Alonzo King LINES Ballet has so much to give, and I couldn’t be more eager to soak it all up and give back. From the beautiful backdrop of Marin County and San Francisco, to the exhilarating excitement of working in the studio, I wake up every morning craving dance. There’s really no place like LINES. Combined with the academics at Dominican, I feel like I am becoming not only a stronger and more confident dancer and artist, but also a more knowledgeable and rounded human being.