For the last 17 years, junior dance major Hillary Richerson’s life has been consumed by dance, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
At age 9, Hillary was in a pre-professional ballet-training program, and she attended the Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City for high school. During that time, the Oklahoma City Ballet asked her to join the company.
“Dance took up most of my time from morning until night,” Hillary said.
One summer Hillary traveled to Texas to attend the American Ballet Theater Summer Intensive Program at UT. After falling in love with the campus and the city, she made plans to apply for the dance program.
A dance injury her junior year of high school dimmed Hillary’s spirit, and while on crutches, she applied at seven universities – only three for dance programs. Thankfully, once her stress fractured foot healed, she was accepted into the UT dance program. Hillary could not be happier.
“I knew UT was the right place for me my sophomore year in Dance Repertory Theatre, which is a group of about 40 people,” she said. “ Being from out of state is difficult, but knowing people are supportive and loving is so rewarding. I have a family here now. Having that community is amazing! People really genuinely want you to succeed.”
In addition to finding a supportive community, Hillary is excited for the opportunities she has through the department and college.
“For a week we were in the midst of a Mark Morris Dance Group residency,” Hillary said. “I really can’t stress how lucky we are. We had the opportunity to see the company perform, and we are performing one of his most famous pieces. And he came to teach a class!”
In November, Hillary will be performing Mark Morris’ Grand Duo during Fall for Dance.
In the future Hillary hopes to extend her repertory knowledge, get her master’s degree and use her love of helping others “find their way” while teaching dance.
“Artists have a unique way of analyzing and experiencing life and the world around them because it helps them to see the joy in little things,” Hillary said. “We have enough people that look at the world as something to fight against, and we need more people who can look at the world and appreciate it.”