Rose Ritch - Judges' Choice October 2017

I am very honored to have been selected for this award. I began my dance training in the Bay Area, primarily at San Francisco Ballet School. While there, I was very fortunate to perform in numerous productions with the company and school. At 14, I moved to New York City to train with Gelsey Kirkland at her academy.  For my senior year of high school and gap year, I spent time in Ballet Arizona's Studio Company working under Carlos Valcarcel and Ib Anderson. Additionally, I have attended summer courses at Ellison Ballet, Next Generation Ballet, and Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Israel.

When I left home at 14, my end goal was always to become a professional ballet dancer. Each sacrifice and challenge I faced, I believed at the time, was going to make me a stronger and more employable dancer. However, by the end of my senior year in high school, I found myself becoming discontent in dance. It was only after my summer at KCDC, and with exposure to modern dance, that I fell back in love with dance. However, I knew I didn't want to do it in a company environment. I have always loved school, so the prospect of being able to pursue my dance and academic goals simultaneously greatly excited me. I chose USC Kaufman because of its goal for all its dancers when they graduate: to become a hybrid artist. I have trained solely as a ballet dancer my whole life, so the opportunity to explore other dance practices, both physically and intellectually, was something I could not pass up. Joining Kaufman meant the chance to recreate myself as not only an artist and mover, but as a human being as well.

Dancing at Kaufman is an experience like no other.  We have technique classes from 9-11:50 (this could be ballet, modern, hip hop, or partnering.)  Until two, we either have a break or traditional academic classes.  This semester I am taking a General Seminar in Literature of Resistance--one of the greatest classes I have ever taken. From 2-4:50, we either have repertory (rehearsals for our shows essentially), conditioning, or improv.  Afterwards, I have academic based dance classes, such as World Perspectives on Dance and Culture or Neuroscience, or more dance classes, like Forsythe rep (Bill himself is on faculty here.)  Additionally, we usually have extra rehearsals. One of the great things about Kaufman is how in addition to our twice yearly showcases, we get to perform at USC events, such as the grand opening for a new part of campus or the halftime show at a football game. It's a very busy lifestyle, but I absolutely love it!

There are so many people I am grateful for: Pascale Leroy, Bob Sund, Joanna Berman, Gelsey Kirkland and all the faculty at GKA, Carlos Valcarcel, Ib Anderson, everyone here at Kaufman. . . but I would like to give the most gratitude to my family. It is because of their fearlessness, sacrifice, and belief in me that I am the person and dancer I am today.

The music inspires me to dance! The music is what drives us to manipulate our bodies in a way that projects a story, emotion, or idea to the audience, enabling us to take both the audience and ourselves on a journey.

In addition to pursuing my BFA in dance, I am also majoring in a combined BA program in Law, History, and Culture. As of now, my plan after graduating is to attend law school (!) or psychotherapy school. I'm a bit torn between becoming a civil rights attorney or developing a mental health wellness educational program for dancers and athletes, in addition to keeping the option open of dancing professionally or teaching after my time here at USC. I am just taking it a day at a time right now!

Instagram @shoshannarose415

Again, thank you so much for this incredible honor! I am so grateful.