Dancer profile: Mastrocola dances own song

Tyler Stauffer photoTyler Stauffer photo1. What made you decide to major in dance?

I have danced for as long as I can remember, and I have found that I truly love it. Thus, I knew that I wanted to continue dancing, but as a senior in high school I was not yet ready to seek professional employment in a dance company. Being a college dance major seemed like the best option for me.

2. What is your favorite part about the dance department?

I love how close-knit the department is and all the good friends that I have there. I also like that the department is heavily based in ballet, as that is where most of my training has been as well. I appreciate the opportunities that I have had to choreograph within the department as well, as choreography is another artistic outlet that I enjoy.

3. What do you hope to do with your dance degree?

My hope is to secure a job as a dancer with a professional dance company. I also want to continue choreographing, whether during, after or in place of a performing career.

4. Why did you decide to minor in English?

English was always one of my favorite subjects growing up, and I really like writing and literature. I also had really good experiences with the Honors English courses that I took with Dr. McGurk and Dr. Reed as a freshman, which was the extra little push that convinced me to add studies in English to my current dance degree.

5. You also write for the Merciad. What do you enjoy about that?

Working for The Merciad provides a chance for me to write on a frequent basis for something outside class. It is also a nice way for me to incorporate my different interests, as writing for the Arts and Entertainment section integrates both my English and dance/arts studies.

6. Are you going to be auditioning this year? If so where?

As I am currently a junior, I intend to audition a few times in the spring/summer, mostly for practice. My main auditioning I am planning for my senior year. I have several possible companies, but I am mainly interested in looking for a company that is based in ballet but also works heavily within a contemporary vein.

7. What is your advice for incoming freshman dancers?

The advice that I have somewhat jokingly given to freshmen for the past two years is to always set two alarm clocks. I would also advise them to not be afraid to try new things and to develop interests outside the dance department. College can be a great opportunity to discover oneself as well as learning academically, and so integrity to oneself and openness are definitely key!

8. How do you maintain your good grades and being head of the honors department along with the hectic hours required of dance majors?

It does get a little crazy sometimes. Mostly I try to prioritize tasks, and the things at the bottom of the priority list just don’t get done right away. I am also fortunate to have great friends and colleagues who support me and pick up where I fall short.

9. What do you like to do on your free time?

I really love to sing and I also like baking and doing crafty things (knitting and such).

10. Are there any particular professors here at Mercyhurst that have influenced or inspired you?

I have gained a lot of valuable experience and knowledge from many of my professors, both in and out of the dance department, but I have an especially strong connection to Ms. Partusch. I feel that we understand each other very well, and she has been one of the most helpful and caring professors with whom I have had the honor of working, both in an academic and personal setting. I definitely attribute much of my progress and growth to her teaching and dedication in and out of the classroom.