Janet Artuhevich Miller graduated from the Mercyhurst College Dance department in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a minor in Business.
She was one of seven members of the third graduating class of the department.
When asked why she decided to pursue dance at Mercyhurst, she said, “I studied classical ballet at Point Park College, Pittsburgh, in high school.”
“That is where I met Ismet Mouhedin, one of the guest teachers in the master class program at Point Park,” Miller said.
Mouhedin would go on to establish the first Dance program at Mercyhurst College.
“After high school graduation, I applied to Mercyhurst and received a dance scholarship,” Miller said.
Miller described the changing and sometimes frustrating situations when Mouhedin left Mercyhurst for the University of Utah.
“The last two years of my time at Mercyhurst, we had a parade of directors and teachers,” Miller said.
“Mercyhurst was trying to fill the void by Ismet’s departure and continue to expand the Dance department.”
“It was frustrating with all the changes every year, but we also were able to experience a lot of different teaching techniques and dance styles.
“Modern dance was introduced to the program in my junior year.”
After she graduated, she taught at Bayfront Ballet before she moved back to Pittsburgh, where she taught ballet and jazz at Carnegie Institute and at the University of Pittsburgh.
She was co-director of the Pitt Dance Ensemble and also choreographed for the Dance Ensemble and a theater group in Pittsburgh.
After she got married in 1983, she moved back to Erie.
“It was the beginning of the ’80’s aerobics craze, and I opened Aerobics Unlimited in Erie,” Miller said.“It was a uniquely choreographed brand of aerobics, and I also offered adult ballet and jazz.”
Miller is now the owner of Sabella’s Catering.
Even though she is not directly involved in dance anymore, her education and degree help her to make the creative displays that her catering business is famous for.
Miller said, “Every event is a performance with choreography (planning the menu), staging (building and decorating displays) [and] the performance itself (the event).”
When asked what she wants current dancers and college students to know, she said, “As with any college degree, you may not end up in your field of study.
“Being a dancer and the discipline (both physically and mentally) that it requires, has helped me through many times in life,” she said. “Take what you learned and apply it to your daily life no matter where life takes you.
“Once a dancer, always a dancer,” she said.