Jackie Batten has always dreamed about being a dancer in New York City. Now, she’s one step closer to the Big Apple.

The dance performance and choreography major with an arts administration minor will turn her tassel at UNC Greensboro’s December Commencement on Friday.

She’s exactly the kind of person who is poised for success in New York. She has a quiet confidence, creativity that is contagious, and, of course, a UNCG diploma in hand.

Batten describes her experience at UNCG as a process of self-discovery.

“It’s a lot of searching for who you are and who you want to be. You become a better person at the end because you have more clarity and you have a sense of direction.”

During her time at UNCG, Batten studied African forms of movement in South Africa during a semester-long exchange, performed and choreographed for the student-led dance crew “Collaborations,” and worked on her senior thesis “Afro” – an exploration of her own blackness and what it’s like to be African American in the United States today.

Her list of accomplishments is long. She credits the community she found in UNCG’s School of Dance for helping her find success along the way.

“I love the communal energy,” she said. “You go through your four years with the same people. You see each other grow as people and as artists – it’s a really cool community.”

Getting to work alongside faculty has also been a highlight for Batten.

“They want to support you and connect you to other people in the industry so that you can be successful after you graduate,” she said. “They get to know you as people – they know what you want and can help get you there.”

Batten plans to stay in Greensboro during the spring and continue teaching at local dance studios, and then move to Brooklyn in the summer. Whether it be company, commercial, or musical theater, she knows that she wants to dance professionally. Additionally, her arts administration minor could lead to other opportunities, possibly in a museum setting.

Her advice to future Spartans?

“Be open-minded. Be open to everything.”

 

 

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications
Videography by Grant Evan Gilliard, University Communications