Heidi Waldenmaier Dances Through the American Dance Festival
Heidi Waldenmaier spent part of her summer proving that in order to be the best, you need to surround yourself with the best. While true in any number of disciplines, the adage was put to the test by Waldenmaier in the dance world, as the fourth-year drama major and dance minor attended the American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina for a five-week immersive experience that combined three dance classes per day each weekday, combined with workshops and weekend performances that offer participants classes, workshops, and performances across a wide range of styles and disciplines. It was precisely this variety that caught Waldenmaier's eye and inspired her to apply for the University Arts Award that helped her get there. "The ADF will help me become a more skilled dancer, and to learn about dance disciplines from different cultures and backgrounds," she said in her grant application. Waldenmaier shared her plans to expand on her education there by interviewing artists and by incorporating the things she learned into her own choreography for the 2020 Spring Dance Concert. Her arts interests at UVA extend beyond the dance world as well. The J. Sanford Miller Family Arts Scholar is also a member of the improvisational comedy troupe The Whethermen, and she is aiming toward a performance career. Kim Brooks Mata, Associate Professor and Head Artistic Director of Dance at UVA, recently sang Waldenmaier's praises in an interview with UVA Today. "She has a passion for both dance and theatre, and she is deeply committed to the practice and refinement of her performance and choreographic work in both disciplines," Brooks Mata said. "As a dance artist, she displays curiosity in her questions and investigations of material and a willingness to step out of her comfort zone in order to challenge herself as an artist." The experience, Waldenmaier said, has a direct impact on her future as an artist. "Once I graduate," she said, "I intend to make a career of performing. ADF provides me with experience in auditioning, dancing rigorous hours, and networking with artists of all kinds. By connecting with dancers from all over the country, I can increase my likelihood of finding a job, collaborating with other artists, and creating my own work after I graduate."