B.S. Biology; minors Dance and Psychology
Hometown: Pleasanton, California
Dance Productions: November Dances 2018, ChoreoLab 2019
Student groups: Duke Dancing Devils (captain), duARTS (vice president of collaborations), Duke Dance Expressions (co-president), Alpha Delta Pi (membership education vice president), Dance for Parkinson’s Disease (volunteer and teaching artist)
Career aspirations: I hope to become a dancing physician who remembers to bring humanity and the humanities into medicine.
I have trained in dance since I was a four-and-a-half-year old, and have been interested in medicine for about as long. Whenever possible, I try to combine these two disciplines. To that effect, I am fortunate to be graduating with Distinction in Dance with my senior thesis, "Choreographies of Care in the Dance for Parkinson’s Disease Program," which was advised by Dr. Sarah Wilbur, Dr. Blythe Williams, and Dr. Rosalinda Canizares. Also, during my time at Duke, I’ve been focused on creating opportunities for people to dance, including children in the Durham community, Duke beginner student dancers, and adults with Parkinson’s Disease.
"Dance Composition 101" was one of my favorite memories of Duke Dance. Through that class, Dr. Woods Valdés pushed me far out of my comfort zone and challenged me to move in ways I’d never thought to move before. Outside of class, I spent hours in the Ruby working (although it didn’t feel like working) with Gaby Salvatore and Michael Wen, who I’m so fortunate to have met through the program.
I would like to thank my family (my Mom, Dad, and Brother), dance and non-dance friends, mentors, and professors for their unyielding support. Thank you to all the incredible dance faculty including Tyler Walters, Nina Wheeler, Julie Walters, and Andrea Woods Valdés whom I had the privilege of taking class with.
I’d also like to thank my honors thesis committee, Dr. Blythe Williams, Dr. Rosalinda Canizares, and Dr. Sarah Wilbur, without whose guidance I would not have been able to find my way to completing a thesis. A heartfelt thanks in particular to Dr. Wilbur who has been one of the greatest forces pushing me to learn more about myself, about dance studies, and about the world around me. The boundless energy and endless wisdom she is willing to share with each and every student is something that I am most lucky to have stumbled across.
A Message from Sarah Wilbur
A Message from Ava LaVonne Vinesett