Student Profile - Hannah Beard

Student Profile
Hannah Beard

Hannah Beard has danced on a lot of different stages.  But the first time she stepped onto the stage of the Watson Theater in Coker College’s Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center in November 2007, something special happened.

“When I walked into Coker’s theater, I felt like I belonged,” she said. “Every dancer has that one stage where everything feels right. Watson is that stage for me.”

Hannah, a senior dance major with a business administration minor, started dancing when she was three. As a senior at York High School in York, S.C., she traveled to Coker to audition for a talent-based dance scholarship, which was later awarded to her. Hannah is also a recipient of Coker’s merit-based Dean’s Scholarship.

“Receiving the Dean’s Scholarship and the talent scholarship for dance made it possible for me to attend a college where I could thrive,” Hannah said. “I’ve excelled here, whereas at a bigger school I might not have done as well. At Coker, I’ve had to work harder at dance than ever before.”

With a concentration in performance and choreography, Hannah has performed in various faculty and student pieces, choreographed dances for shows and completed dance residencies with guest artists from all over the world.

“During the past few years, it has been wonderful to watch Hannah find and hone her artistic voice,” said Angela Gallo, an Assistant Professor of Dance at Coker. “She has become an extremely versatile dancer and a strong choreographer. She has also become a leader and an ambassador for Coker’s dance program.”

Hannah’s voice can be heard beyond the dance studio as well. She said she feels comfortable enough to share her opinions in front of her peers and professors in the classroom because of the small class sizes, which average 12 students.

In May, Hannah traveled to France to study abroad for two weeks. With her European Contemporary Dance class, she performed site-specific dance in Paris on the Viaduc des Arts, a former railroad viaduct that has been transformed into a garden walkway. Site-specific dance is created to exist in a certain place and can be influenced by the surrounding environment.

Hannah’s fascination with the audience’s varying reactions led to the development of her Honors Project topic.

Any student with at least a 3.5 cumulative grade point average upon the completion of 75 semester hours may apply to do an Honors Project. Successful completion of an Honors Project entitles students to an honors designation on their bachelor’s degree.

Hannah’s project, On Site: Every Rehearsal is a Performance, and Every Performance has an Audience, involves extensive research on the art as well as creating, staging and showcasing her own site-specific dance around the Coker campus at locations such as the dining hall and the library, in part to promote Performing Arts at Coker.

When she’s not dancing, Hannah stays busy as the Vice President of Omicron Delta Kappa, a Parliamentarian for Phi Beta Lambda, an Ambassador for Coker and a co-captain of Coker’s Dance Elites.

“Coker has shown me how many options I have,” she said. “The possibilities are endless. I might go to graduate school or pursue a career in professional performance.”

Until then, Hannah will continue to learn, perform and grow as a dancer on her favorite stage at Coker College.

For more information, contact Ashley Simatic - 843.383.8018

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