Dance professor combines entrepreneurship, dance

Dance professor combines entrepreneurship, dance

Suki John brings more than 22 years of her own dance experience to her students in class and at rehearsals.

John, assistant professor in the school for classical and contemporary dance, received a grant from the Coleman Fellows program that allowed her to use her experience as a dancer to create a specialized class. Professors participate in the Coleman Fellows program, which works to support entrepreneurship education in non-business departments at the university.

“The Coleman fellowship is a way for me to take that experience, which is what I did in Paris, Yugoslavia, Cuba, Finland and Hungary,” John said. “I was able to take a lot of that and put it into a structure in a class for students.”

John said she has been trying to figure out how to make a living with her passion for dance throughout her adult life. She is currently working to develop an interdisciplinary class involving art, business and dance.

“I am trying to create different experiences for our students to figure out how they can bring themselves forward in the world when they graduate,” John said.

Megan Morgan, a junior modern dance major, said John brought passion and energy to rehearsals and classes.

“She is very passionate about her work, and the influence she has had on me is bringing out who I am when I perform,” Morgan said.

Kristen Gajdica, a junior modern dance and entrepreneurial management double major, said dance would be different without John.

“She is a very spunky person, and she always has something funny to say,” Gajdica said.

John said her experience and advice extends to all students at the university, not just her dance students.

“To dance is to connect the mind, body and spirit and to connect to your humanness,” John said. “I think everybody should dance and everybody can dance.”

John’s next opportunity through the Coleman Fellows program would come in April when she will speak at the Popular Culture Association conference in Boston. She said she was excited to bring her message to a larger audience.

“At a previous conference I met other people who were doing this with other art forms like theater and visual arts,” John said. “They shared their syllabi with me, so we developed this networking opportunity of people around the country who were trying to help their students.”

John’s choreography was showcased in a DanceTCU performance this past weekend at the Scott Theatre in the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.