For Emily Sulock ’12, dance isn’t just her chosen minor at Salve Regina. It’s a way of life.
"It's always been my commitment. It's always been what I'm the best at, what I'm the strongest at," says Sulock, who has been dancing since the age of 2. "If I didn't have dance, I would be a completely different person."
A lifelong competitive dancer, Sulock has been an active participant in Salve Regina's dance programs since her freshman year. In addition to minoring in dance, she is a member of Extensions, the official dance company of the Department of Performing Arts, and SRU Dance, Salve Regina's largest student-run organization.
SRU Dance is open to all students regardless of their ability, while Extensions is comprised of just 15 dancers, all of whom audition to become part of the company. "They're completely different," Sulock says. "While SRU Dance is fun and more enjoyable, the company is more serious and more artistic. It is a big commitment - not many people realize it."
Dancers make a yearlong commitment to Extensions, and practices held several times each week culminate in a series of performances each spring. Dances run from five to more than 10 minutes long, and are choreographed by Salve Regina's dance faculty, guest choreographers and student members.
Both Extensions and the dance minor are relatively new additions to Salve Regina's academic programs. "What I love is that I'm a part of it, and I'm a part of this whole process of it growing," Sulock says. "Watching everything happen, and being a part of it, is just amazing. I can't imagine what it's going to be like in 10 years."
Salve Regina's dance minor encourages students to study the many facets of dance, including theory, criticism, history, technique, body mechanics, injury prevention and composition. Minors take four three-credit courses in subjects ranging from kinesiology to choreography, along with six one-credit technique courses.
"It has challenged me so much," Sulock says of the minor. "I had never taken any courses or learned anything about dance before. So it didn't just challenge me technically, but it also challenges you mentally. I've definitely grown."
Although Sulock has committed most of her free time at Salve Regina to the dance programs, she still felt a strong urge to study abroad. Realizing that signing up for a semester abroad would mean taking a leave from Extensions for a full academic year, she opted for a short-term program instead and spent four weeks in Oxford the summer after her sophomore year.
"It was amazing - all of the places that I got to go and the people I got to meet," Sulock says. "It was one of the best experiences of my life. I would love to go back."
When choosing a college, Sulock first had to decide whether a dance major or minor was right for her. "There aren't too many things you can do with a dance major," she says. "I chose to become a minor because I don't really want to go into teaching dance and own my own dance studio. I may eventually be brought that way, but right now I don't picture that."
What Sulock does picture in her future is mouse ears. "What I would really like to do with my life is get a job with Disney and work with them as a dancer," says Sulock, who is majoring in English communications. "Then, since you can't do that forever, start to work behind the scenes and become in charge of the productions and do the public relations work."
Ideally, Sulock would like to work at the Disney resort in Tokyo for a short time before transitioning to the Disney Cruise Line. "It's always seemed like such an ideal thing to live on a cruise ship for a couple of years," she says. "Their performances are just amazing. They really put so much into their entertainment, and it's something that everyone can see."
Originally from southern New Jersey, Sulock discovered Salve Regina after her older sister moved to Newport. She settled on Salve Regina soon after choosing the dance minor. "I wanted to be in Newport," she says. "I absolutely loved Salve and the whole area. It's just perfect for a college student."