Lena Shuptar’s (’15) passion for dance started long before she began attending Lansing Christian School as a high school freshman. Lena has had a lifelong dedication to her craft, and thanks to her tireless work she achieved a full-ride scholarship to Wayne State University (WSU) where she is a BFA Honors Dance Major as well as a member of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College. During her time at WSU, Lena has had the opportunity to work with an impressive list of choreographers, perform with a number of dance companies, and even choreograph her own work for both solo and group shows. Notably, Lena earned a scholarship to attend the Alvin Ailey 6-week Professional Program in New York last summer, and is looking forward to collaborating with the acclaimed Dance Theatre Organization Pilobulus as well as the Twyla Tharp Companies this coming year.
Lena’s studies at WSU are providing her with a unique academic experience that is challenging her to grow academically, creatively, and physically. According to Lena, “I have the opportunity to work with and make connections with other artists across all medias. I have the opportunity to be physical and improve my body every day. I have studied other subjects that are completely outside of my field, yet still relate. The education I’m getting through the Dance Department at WSU is not something that can be learned from a book; it has to be actively practiced, and I love learning this way.”
“The teachers at LCS are some of the most dedicated, caring, and fierce human beings I have come in contact with.”
Lena is thankful for the influence and role that LCS teachers played in preparing her to pursue a degree in dance. Lena states “the teachers at LCS are some of the most dedicated, caring, and fierce human beings I have come in contact with (when dealing with teenagers, the demand to be fierce at times is always a must). Many of the teachers encouraged me to do my best and to achieve my maximum potential in whatever I was doing.” Lena credits the faculty at LCS with propelling her forward and giving her confidence in her decision to study dance in college. Lena specifically notes the encouragement she received from Tim Blamer who told her “that the Arts needed more people like [her], someone who might bring light to a profession that doesn’t see too much of it.”
While Lena’s senior year at WSU will be packed with opportunities to dance, collaborate with other performers and artists, and to grow in her craft, she is also looking forward to life and career post-graduation. In addition to her studies in dance, Lena has also been working on becoming trained as a professional Pilates instructor. Lena hopes that her combination of dance and Pilates training will allow her to develop programs and classes that enable her to share her gifts while promoting greater body awareness and enhanced performance for both young dancers and elite athletes.
by Melissa Keeley
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