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University of Minnesota

Her next dance steps

October 19, 2011

Sommer Walters.

U dance major hopes to someday start her own company

By Bill Magdalene

Perhaps you've seen the TV ad—about the student who discovers that her passion can be her profession. Sommer Walters is that student. The U of M freshman, working towards her BFA in dance, took time out to talk about her creative path.


When did you discover dance?
When I was three years old and my mom enrolled me into my first dance class. She said all I would do when I was little was dance and move around to whatever music was playing, and enrolling me in dance only made sense.

What's the first thing you loved about it?
I loved … how free you feel when you lose yourself in the movement. When you're dancing, it's as if nothing else exists except for you, the energy of your movement, and the space around you.

Have your feelings for dance changed?
My feelings for dance have become more personal. … Before, dance was always a fun activity and an opportunity to hang out with my friends, but now dance is so much more. It's my art form and way of expression. Through movement is how I can tell people my story.

Why is dance important?
Dance is important to me because it has been and will always be there. No matter if I'm having the best or worst day of my life, I know that I will always be able to dance.

What's your big dream?
To someday start my own company where I can really work on discovering myself as a choreographer and artist. I would love nothing more than being able to spend days and nights working with dancers and musicians who are dedicated, creative, and will give everything they have to bring a piece of work to the stage.

How did you discover your creative path?
[It] was not sudden nor did a giant light bulb go off above my head and I instantly knew what I was going to do. It was a gradual process that had its ups and downs and plenty of dead ends. But the path eventually led me to pursue a higher education in dance here at the University of Minnesota.

Where are you now along that path?
I did [the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program] when I was a junior and senior in high school, so after the end of this academic school year I will be done with all of my general requirements! … That will open up my schedule and allow me to really focus on the classes that are directed towards my major. A project that I will be working on later in the year is a piece for the dance department's spring concert. I am super excited to start that process and am looking forward to working with fellow amazing dancers and choreographers.

Why the University of Minnesota?
Because of the amazing dance program here at the U, it just made sense for me to go here. And I am so glad I did because I am having the best time here!

What do you love to do beyond dance at the U?
Well, after dance is all said and done I really don't have much free time. But when I do manage to find some, there is nothing I enjoy more than just being around the amazing people I love.

What was memorable about being in the TV ad?
Just the experience and working with so many talented and wonderful people. I definitely felt like a star when they would do my makeup and hair and pick out my wardrobe. It was surreal.

Advice for fellow freshmen?
Have an open mind about everything! Always be willing to learn new things and to just let go of those previously built up walls that we all developed going through high school that might be holding you back from amazing new opportunities. You never know when you might learn something new, get involved in something, or meet someone that might change your life.

Tags: College of Liberal Arts

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Related Links

U of M Dance Program

Northrop Dance