B.A. International and Comparative Studies; minors Dance and Spanish
Hometown: New York, NY
A message from Tyler Walters
Heartfelt congratulations to SarahAnne on her graduation from Duke. She passionately engaged with dance during her Duke tenure, and I count myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with her every semester. During these past four years, she tirelessly committed herself to dance and to dancing, with a relentless approach to growing as a mover and performing artist. She brought intelligence to the studio and self-motivated, upbeat seriousness that was a pleasure to engage with in the creative process.
In more than the two decades that I have been at Duke, SarahAnne is unique in having sustained her professional dancing career–as guest artist with Los Angeles Ballet until 2018, and as guest artist with Carolina Ballet from 2018 to present–while studying full time. During her four years at Duke, she danced professionally in The Nutcracker for three seasons, and in Swan Lake and George Balanchine’s Serenade. She accomplished this while making Deans List with Distinction.
While no list of activities and accomplishments can fully capture the impacts and potentials of such a talented and energetic person as SarahAnne, to give a sense of the kind of commitment to depth and breadth in her endeavors, here are a few examples: On the same day SarahAnne spoke at the ICS Colloquium 2019, presenting her research titled "Redefining Borders: How Citizenship Shapes Education in the Southwest" and did two performances of The Nutcracker for Devils en Pointe, dancing two different leading roles in the two performances – the second one right after finishing her oral presentation. She was also preparing to present research on neurodecolonization at the Romance Studies Symposium 2020 under the direction of Professor Walter Mignolo, at the same time traveling around the country auditioning for ballet companies in pursuit of her professional performing ambitions post-graduation.
In addition to completing her minor in Dance, she was honored by the Dance Program with the Clay Taliaferro Award in 2018 and the Julia Wray Award in 2020.
SarahAnne performed in Dance Program concerts every semester in works by faculty, students, and in her own choreography. SarahAnne also participated in classes and rehearsals the American Ballet Theater residency since 2018, and worked closely with Duke Performances during the residency. She engaged in master classes with the Alonzo King / LINES Ballet and Ballet X residencies. Her first choreographic work for the Dance Program, ‘Part Whole,’ was performed on November Dances 2019 and she was working on her second piece slated for performance on ChoroLab 2020. She will be missed as a positive force within the Dance Program community.
Since 2017, SarahAnne has been the artistic director of the Devils en Pointe student-run ballet organization. She staged and/or performed leading roles in excerpts from The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, and Pandora’s Box.
In the Durham community, she’s served as an English as a Second Language tutor for high schoolers at Durham School of the Arts during the 2018-2019 school year, and in Fall 2017 worked as Kindergarten ESL assistant at E.K. Powe. Since. 2019 SarahAnne was Full-time faculty at Barriskill Dance Theater School and taught ballet at the Triangle Day School.
In the summer of 2019, SarahAnne worked as a public relations intern at L.A. Dance Project and also assisted the executive director. For the second half of that summer, she interned at Alvin Ailey doing community outreach and educational work for underserved youth in the south Bronx.
In a recent email, I urged her to “remain confident that there is a path forward for you to dance and fulfill the promise of your talent!” Despite the current pandemic disruptions, I feel certain that she will succeed in realizing her potential as a performing artist. Please join me in congratulating this amazing young woman on her graduation from Duke University!
A message from Ava LaVonne Vinesett