Student Artiste Caroline Marolda: Dancer

What made you decide to be a Dance major in the first place?By the time I had to decide on a college to attend, I had been taking dance classes for over a decade. Dance has always played a big part in my life and has a significant role in how I identify myself (I’m a pretty quiet and introverted person, and dance is a major outlet for me to express myself). I knew I wanted to earn a degree in English, but I realized that I was not quite ready to leave dance behind and decided to double major with it.

Do you have insecurities as professional dancer? How do you cope with said insecurities?Definitely; I am an overall very self conscious person and I tend to compare myself to others quite easily. Regarding dance, I try to take note of how my peers are approaching choreography or combinations in class to figure out how I can improve. If I find myself feeling super insecure, I try to focus on myself to get out of that negative mindset.
What have you learned personally being part of the dance department at UNC Charlotte?I have definitely learned a lot since my freshman year started in 2016. The courses I’ve been enrolled in have allowed me to gain exposure to more styles and techniques, such as Horton and Silvestre. I took a production practicum class a few semesters ago and learned more about the backstage aspects of performances. Other classes have taught me skills for researching and writing about the arts. Through the student organization I’m involved with, MOVE Dance Alliance, I have gained experience in a leadership position since becoming Treasurer and stage managing our most recent showcase.
Do you have a dancer or company you look up to? Why?I look up to dancers such as Isabella Boylston and Tiler Peck, who respectively dance with American Ballet Theater and New York City Ballet. I could watch them dance for hours and never get bored. With classical ballet there is more of a set vocabulary in terms of choreography, and I find that both Boylston and Peck have something special in their movement qualities that is enticing for me as an audience member. This also applies to the more contemporary ballet roles they perform.
How do you manage being both and English and a Dance major? Does one help the other at all?Double majoring is not just challenging academically, but it’s also hard in terms of scheduling classes, work, etc. With that being said, planning ahead and making sure I keep up with my agenda are big parts of my day-to-day routine. Double majoring with English is definitely helpful when it comes to my written assignments for dance! My concentration for my English degree is Language and Digital Technology, and after taking classes regarding things such as grammar and sentence structure, I know my papers for classes, such as Dance History, will always be well written and grammatically correct. When describing, analyzing, and interpreting dance, you have to be very detailed in order to paint a picture of the choreography for whoever will be reading your work. With that being said, my Dance assignments have helped me become a clear, more detailed writer when it comes to my English assignments. 
Having been a dance major for three years now, how have you improved or changed over the years?My body has definitely become stronger since coming to UNCC; taking various technique classes will do that to a person! I have also changed mentally. My first semester here, I danced in the hardest piece I have ever been in. It was challenging physically, of course. But it was also very hard for me mentally. There were numerous times where I underestimated myself and didn’t think I could keep going with the choreography, but I eventually made it over the mental roadblock where I constantly told myself “I can’t do this” and began telling myself “You’ve got this, you CAN do this.”
What are you most excited about for this year’s Spring Concert? What is is like working with your professor and cast?I’m very excited to see all of the different pieces come together! This semester’s concert has a wide variety of dance styles, ranging from ballet to West African. My choreographer and cast mates are wonderful, and the rehearsal process is never boring. I was in a piece by my choreographer, Professor E.E. Balcos, last spring, so having this entirely different choreographic process and experience is exciting.
What advice would you give incoming dance majors?You are better than you think you are; don’t let yourself get into a mindset where you doubt yourself constantly. It’s easy to do so, but it does not help you whatsoever. Always remember why you’re doing the major. Contrary to what some people assume about majoring in dance, it is not “easy.” Is it fun? I’d say so! But it’s not always the easiest thing. Never forget your passion for the art or lose your drive.

Fun Questions!If your time as a dancer at UNC Charlotte was made into or inspired a book, who would write it? If the book was made into a movie, who would play you?Am I allowed to answer myself for the book? Writing a book is on my list of things to eventually accomplish. But if I had to choose somebody else, I pick Sally Thorne; I am obsessed with both of her books. As for who would play me in the movie adaptation, I am tempted to say Alexis Bledel since I love Gilmore Girls and an employee at Trader Joe’s once told me that I reminded her of Rory Gilmore…
If you were a Disney character whose magical powers were dancing, who would be your (animal) sidekick? My sidekick has to be a cat, as cats are my favorite animals!
An underrated musician or band in your opinion whose music should be danced to more often. I’m unsure of whether or not The Maine are super underrated, but they have been a favorite band of mine for at least five years now and I refuse to believe that anything bad will happen to me while I’m listening to their music.

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