Pardi becomes 1st GCU dance grad to earn master’s
By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
Most people who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Dance Education go straight into the field, but Andrea Pardi didn’t want to settle into teaching just yet.
Instead, the 2016 graduate became Grand Canyon University’s first dance alumnus to receive her master’s in dance. Pardi recently finished her Master of Fine Arts in Dance at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif.
“I wanted to branch out,” she said of the decision to continue her education.
Pardi says her time at GCU enabled her to grow more as an artist and learn more about different styles of dance from various cultures. Susannah Keita, Director of the Dance Department, regularly brings in guest artists, and Pardi remembers one from Haiti in particular.
“I think Susannah did a good job of getting people from even different parts of the world to come in and be guest teachers for us in the faculty performances,” she said. “That’s something that I really enjoyed just because he wanted us to really take on his culture and what he was bringing and trying to get across, so he had to be hard on us in order for us to get it and for us to immerse ourselves in that culture and style.”
Once in her master’s program, she saw more of the theory within the subject. Her experience at GCU helped prepare her for that.
“If you come from a studio like I did, I think you just think all there is is literally the physical part of dancing. And then when you decide to go to school for dance particularly, you notice the scholarly part of it because it’s education,” Pardi said. “I think that really helped me out when going for my master’s because it was so much more brain work than physical movement.”
The GCU dance program also pushed her out of her comfort zone, allowing her to learn more about herself in the process. As an artist, she found herself choreographing work she would have never thought she’d be putting together several years earlier and learned to appreciate the spontaneity.
Her advice to future graduates? Create your own path.
“Whatever lane that they’re really passionate about, whether it’s a certain dance technique or you want to do more of a commercial dance or you want to go into teaching, whatever you feel strongly about after you graduate, just go ahead and go for it as soon as you can and don’t wait too long,” she said. “That’s honestly the best time in your life to go for something, and that’s what I’m really passionate about.
“I would just encourage everyone to go for it and not think about it too much.”
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected]
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