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BA International Studies (Comparative Culture and Identity); BFA Dance ‘17
Hometown: Wallingford, PA, and San José, Costa Rica
Affiliations: TEDxUofM, Collaborative Student Assembly, Groundcover News
Luna spent the 2015-2016 academic year in Jerusalem and Ramallah, where she studied Arabic and Hebrew, and attended International Studies and Dance courses. She also interned with the local social entrepreneurship organization Leaders, and choreographed for local dance groups.
Why is she pursuing a dual degree in International Studies and Dance?
“I became attracted to the International Studies major because of my personal history. I was born into an international life. My father is from Guatemala, his mother was an indigenous Maya woman and his father is a descendant of the Spaniards who were arriving in Guatemala in the 1500s. My mother is from the United States, her mother is of German ancestry and her father is of English ancestry. I was born in Costa Rica, where I lived until I was 10. At that point, my mom brought my sister and I to the U.S.
I did not choose International Studies from the start. For a period of time, my intention was to become a professional dancer. Like multiculturalism, movement has also been a crucial element of my life. When I was three years old, I would sit in my highchair and create spirals with my arms. My parents caught me grooving on my own and decided to enroll me in dance classes. From age 3 until age 10, I was constantly quitting the dance classes my parents enrolled me in. It was not until I moved to the U.S. that I found a comfortable space within dance, one in which I felt free to explore ideas and emotions that occupied my mind. Later, I went on to study at Point Park Conservatory of Performing Arts for a year. After realizing that I did not want to complete a university career without an academic focus, I transferred to the University of Michigan.
In April, I plan on graduating with a BA in International Studies (Comparative Culture and Identity) and a BFA in Dance. In many social interactions, people question the compatibility of my two degrees. To me, this pairing makes complete sense. I see dance as a part of culture, something that is more than entertainment or physical activity. To me, dance reveals the mindsets, attitudes, and values of its community, and inspires discussion of controversial topics. What I learn in my International Studies courses, I digest and then express through movement, through dance.
I feel most fulfilled when my life involves both sociopolitical analysis and artistic expression. Without understanding and discussing current movements and histories, I lose connection to the various communities around me. Without the outlet of dance, I feel frustrated and trapped, not knowing how to decompress from my reactions to world events. Consequently, both of these careers have prominent roles in my life. They will remain after I graduate, as I continue to combine dance and International Studies—this time within professional experiences.”
Future plans: “I've applied to the Fulbright Student Scholar Program for a 2017-2018 research project on the interrelationship between the arts and social criticism in Guatemala. In the future, I plan to continue participating in and supporting cultural and artistic exchange.”