Dancer profile: Dance runs in the Conroy family

Tyler Stauffer photoTyler Stauffer photo
Michelle Conroy, this month’s featured dancer, is a senior from Batavia, N.Y., who has been dancing since she was three years old.
1. What made you originally decide to come to Mercyhurst College?

I originally became interested in Mercyhurst because of the reputation of the dance department. After visiting the school and auditioning for the program, Mercyhurst became my number one choice.

2. Where are you from?

I’m from Batavia, NY, a small town between Buffalo and Rochester.

3. How long have you been dancing?

Since I was three years old.

4. What drew you to dance and why do you enjoy it?

Both my mom and my older sister danced. Even at a very young age, I can remember being fascinated when watching them take class and perform in the end-of-the-year recital. Apparently I bugged my mother for a year about when I would be able to start dancing. She allowed me to start classes at three, after watching me jump around in a play tutu every day. I continue to be fascinated by dance. It is challenging, tedious and tiring, but incredibly fulfilling and rewarding to me. Even on bad days, I still enjoy it. There’s always something to learn and I want to learn all that I can.

5. What do you want to do with your dance training after you graduate?

During the spring term I have been and will continue to audition for various dance companies. I would love to dance professionally for a few years if I am fortunate enough to be given the chance to do so. If I had my choice, I would love to dance with a contemporary company. At some point I would also like to work in the arts administration field, as my minor is in this field, and I have already gained quite a bit of experience through my work on campus as well as an internship this past summer.

6. Are you interested in teaching?

I have always had an interest in teaching. Much of my employment during high school as well as in college has been in teaching tennis, violin and substitute teaching in elementary education as well as in dance instruction. I would love to be able to have more opportunities to teach dance in the future.

7. I know that you had the opportunity to go to Amsterdam. What was that experience like?

Studying dance in Amsterdam was one of the best experiences of my life. The people in Amsterdam were incredibly encouraging and appreciative of the arts. The city is beautiful, and the instruction that we received was incredible. Having the opportunity to study from European professionals was invaluable. That experience pushed me to improve and greatly increased my confidence.

9. What are some of your favorite memories from Mercyhurst?

I have enjoyed being a part of the dance performances and working closely with my peers each day. I have definitely enjoyed my time outside of the studio with my roommate and other friends.

10. Do you want to go to graduate school?

At this point in my life I do not plan to attend grad school. I do not know what I would like to earn a Master’s degree in at this time. For now, I am excited to start the next chapter in my life.

11. What professor/teacher has particularly influenced you?

Since the beginning of my time at Mercyhurst I have appreciated the help that I have received from my dance professors. Ms. Hay and Ms. Partusch have especially helped my growth as a dancer and have always been a source of encouragement when I was feeling less than confident. Outside of the dance department, I have had the pleasure of taking two of Dr. McCarty’s classes. They have by far been my favorite academic classes; I was challenged to figure out my ideals on various subjects and learn who I truly am. Gaining confidence in both my dancing and my person in the past four years has been the greatest accomplishment of my education.

12. Why did you decide to become part of Nu Delta Alpha, the national dance honor society?

I have always been extremely interested in academics. I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to learning and studying. NDA, the national dance honor society, was a way for me to continue my interests in both academics and service. I have enjoyed being the president of NDA this year, and I’m glad for the leadership experience that it has provided.