Raising the Bar
Dancer Jessica Walts G’15 hits her mark with the Janklow Program
Dancer Jessica Walts G’15 is ready to choreograph the next chapter of her career—that as a master’s student in the Janklow Arts Leadership Program. The former dance instructor from Syracuse, is excited about applying her passion for performance to arts leadership and social entrepreneurship. Her ultimate goal is to start a collegiate dance program.
The College’s Laura Bulman recently found out why Walts has all the right moves:
1. What did you do before Syracuse University?
After graduating from the University at Buffalo [with bachelor’s degrees in dance and psychology], I was uncertain about what I wanted to do next. The opportunity to serve as the assistant director of a dance studio in Buffalo presented itself, so I did that and some soul searching. I soon found out about the Janklow Program, which seemed to offer everything I wanted.
2. Why did you choose Syracuse University?
I see the Janklow Program as the next step in my education, mainly because of the versatility of its curriculum. I’ve always been involved with the arts but have not had the chance to expand my understanding of business or management. Thus, my goal is to graduate with a broad knowledge of arts leadership.
The Janklow Program allows students to master an array of skills in a highly interactive manner. We don’t just go to class; we engage in roundtable discussions, as well as participate in internships and study abroad opportunities.
3. What do you want to do after graduation?
I hope to establish a name for myself as a professor or administrator. I know that my dream of establishing a collegiate dance department will take time. Until then, I’ll try to gain as much experiential knowledge as possible.
4. Why arts leadership?
I have been a dancer since I was four. After high school, I knew I was not ready to give up my passion. As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to work in arts administration, and, looking back, it was an area in which I thrived.
I want to be like my role model, who is Jeanne Palmer-Fornarola [clinical associate professor and director of dance at the University at Buffalo]. She’s one of the most inspiring people I know. Jeanne is always challenging herself and those around her to do better. She’s had a huge impact on UB’s dance program and on the Buffalo dance community, in general.
5. What do you do for fun?
I love to read, dance, and teach group-fitness classes. I’m a very active person, and, as a result, I sometimes have difficulty relaxing. But I do like to lay out at the beach or by the pool.