Alumni Testimonials

Below is a sampling of comments from our alumni about their time as graduate or undergraduate students at Case Western Reserve University:

Emily Boyd Johnson, MFA ‘02:

“I relive my glory days at CWRU every time I see current posts. I miss it all terribly and am forever grateful for the experience I had!!!”

Jenn Birou Lakamp, MFA ‘10:

“I love implementing ideas and techniques I learned from Case [Western Reserve] into my teaching. Miss y’all every day.”

Christopher A. Bell, MFA ‘16, currently dancing with Mark Dendy and founded his own company ChrisBellDances in New York:

“My time in graduate school was so amazing! The MFA has been so helpful in getting teaching jobs in New York!”

Karen Berkoff Ferguson, MFA ’92:

“Just wanted you to know you made my day last year when I visited. It was a blast to be so warmly received back at one of my all-time favorite places from my past, Mather Dance Center.”

Amy Christianson, BA '14, Dance minor:

“I will always remember my time in the dance department as being one of the best parts of my time at Case Western Reserve.”

DeWitt Cooper III, MFA ‘06, currently teaches at The LaVilla School of the Arts:

“Because of the Case [Western Reserve] Dance program and the faculty there, I can proudly say I earned my MFA from an incredible university.”

Charlotte Ghigliazza, Dance minor, ‘11:

“In thinking of my dance teachers at CWRU and how fortunate I am to have studied under you and to have had your encouraging and positive presence in my life. Even with all the responsibilities you have, you always find time to mentor or give wise counsel. The technical knowledge and wisdom you imparted to me are thoughts I will carry with me always, and I am honored to be able to share them with others.”

Stacey Hursen, BSE '14, Dance minor:

“I feel the dance department at CWRU has helped me grow as a dancer and opened my eyes to different forms of dance. The teachers are positive in their instruction and encourage students to ask questions and try new things. I will always remember the dance classes, performances, and friends I made while at Mather Dance Studio.”

Heather Koniz, MFA ‘08, currently teaches at Lake Erie College:

“Case [Western Reserve] prepares one to speak eloquently about dance and to wear many hats.”

Rachel Lanyi Mulholland, BA ‘16:

“I will never be able to say enough—I wholeheartedly appreciate the guidance I was given by Karen and Gary as faculty in helping me to best tend to and nurture my talents as a dancer and artist.”

Yidi Lin, MFA ‘16, currently an assistant professor at Jacksonville University:

“I learned so much from CWRU…The in-depth dance training and coursework shaped my way of moving, feeling and seeing my body and prepared me for my current job as an assistant professor in dance. The most precious experience I received during my time at CWRU was the mentorship which still continues today even though I graduated from the school five years ago.”

Julia Pedron, MA ‘16:

“My time at CWRU was a powerful experience that I think I could never have achieved in any other place. At first everything felt incredibly foreign to me, I guess being 6000 km away from my home in Madrid, Spain, had something to do with this feeling, but the family that I found at Mather Dance Center helped me to overcome this homesickness.”

Karen Potter, MFA '89:

“When I completed my MFA at CWRU in '89, I never dreamed I’d return to become the chair of the Department of Dance. I have fond memories of dancing with colleagues in works such as Kelly Holt’s Orison of the Luminous She and Kathy Karipides Pace Pulsion, and I especially remember taking dance history with the legendary Henry Kurth. I’m proud to now be at the helm where we have so many international students and our undergraduate program is burgeoning!”

Joe Teeter, MA ‘20:

“Studying dance at Case Western [Reserve] ideally prepared me for a rich and diverse career in the arts. By deeply valuing collaboration, creative exploration, and individual expression, the dance department is able to not only train excellent dancers, but also nurture the next generation of teachers, researchers, and artistic leaders.”

Patrick Vaughn, BA '13, Dance minor:

“Reflecting on my time at CWRU, I cannot imagine where I would be and what I would be like if I had not found dance. Dance and my work at Mather Dance Center helped shape me into the person that I am. The teachers always believed in me and had faith in me.”

Ben Vecchio, BA '13:

“The dance department at CWRU really is incredible. I had such a wonderful experience with everyone and I’m glad to have been involved with the department even for just one year. It was great to dance with everyone!”

Regenia Williams, MA ‘96:

“I have much appreciation for my dance studies at CWRU’s Mather Dance Center. I felt the program was a very cohesive, comprehensive and unparalleled experience in dance, directed by some of the most passionate professionals in the field.”

Alumni Updates