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Christie Cunningham - BA

I was enrolled as a ballet major in the program of dance. I had the privilege to study with some exceptional teachers. These teachers not only taught from a curriculum but also pushed me in my areas of interest. They all have a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field and a passion to share it with their students. They are also very active outside of the university which makes them good references.  I also appreciate that I got to make my first steps as a professional dancer in the small but supportive Calgary scene. It allowed me to build up my resume and my ego a little before heading to Montreal.

The benefits of a university education really became evident later in my career. Because I was in school I started my profession later than many of my colleagues and always felt a little behind.  Now that I am older, I appreciate many of the skills that are allowing me to move into different areas of the profession. Anatomy has been very useful in my transition towards sport science and with working in the medical community as a co-author and editor.  It has given me a language to communicate my experiential knowledge as a dancer which I hope will help to enhance the study of dance medicine. 
Doing a BA gives you a very global base to work from. After graduating I was interested in focusing on dance but when that was not serving me I found that there were many other open doors to choose from. Even within the dance courses at the university I studied a wide range of movement which helped me to easily adapt to various choreographic styles and teach people from a variety of different backgrounds.  People often talk about the snobbery of arts programs in universities but that was not the case at the University of Calgary. It was a very diverse and inclusive program that fostered the development of thinking artists. My ability to adapt and to analyse material has been an invaluable asset both on and off stage.

After graduation, Christie moved to Montreal to pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer. It turned out to be  a wild ride. She wound up working for La La La Human Steps as well as BJM Danse (understudy), Le Ballet Eddy Toussaint, Fila 13 and many other independent projects. Christie is now living in Switzerland where she is working as a trainer for figure skaters, teaching yoga and doing research on dance injury prevention and rehabilitation with her partner at the University Hospital of Basel. They are very excited to be presenting a movement workshop and poster on the Gyrotonic Method at the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science conference in Basel next Fall.

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