By Leisa DeCarlo (BFA 2014)
2014 Beinecke Scholar, Abby Carlozzo, was chosen as one of 20 students nationwide to receive a $34,000 scholarship in support of her graduate studies to pursue her passion for dance education. The Beinecke Scholarship Program awards substantial funding to students of the arts, humanities and social sciences who demonstrate great promise in their aspirations and course of study, encouraging the pursuit of graduate level education. Ohio State is one of 125 colleges and universities eligible to nominate students for the Beinecke Scholarship; each institution may only nominate one candidate per year. Carlozzo is the fourth Ohio State student and the first dance major to receive the prestigious award.
"Abby is the kind of student who helps us to remember why we love teaching: she is aware, eager, and curious; she receives new ideas and is stimulated to respond to them through her writing, her dancing and her oral presentations," said Karen Eliot, assistant professor and project advisor.
The vast historical, social and cultural impact of dance in a global landscape pervades Carlozzo's curiosity and interest. A junior Honors dance major with minors in both French and arts entrepreneurship, Carlozzo believes dance illuminates our deepest humanity and ability to navigate the world in which we live.
"My high school dance teacher, Viluna Jennings, began teaching me the history, music and social and cultural contexts associated with dance which empowered me to pursue dance at the collegiate level. I came to see how dance can be more than entertainment and beauty; among many things, it can be used to provoke ideas, question controversies, celebrate history and educate an audience,"
Her fervor for the magnitude of dance as a cross-cultural art form grew through a three-week trip to Burkina Faso with the Department of Dance. Carlozzo described the dancing and drumming experience as both empowering and enlivening, as an awakened inspiration to work toward incorporating the teaching of West African Movement into American dance education.
This summer, Carlozzo returned to Burkina Faso in cross-cultural collaboration with her mentor, Esther Baker-Tarpaga. Under the advisement of Associate Professor Harmony Bench, Assistant Professor Karen Eliot, and Associate Professor Melanye White Dixon, Carlozzo conducted research detailing the physical, social and cultural aspects which delineate the impact of life experiences on the way we perceive, participate in and view dance.
"Speaking as a dance scholar, I can say with certainty that the field needs more projects like the one Ms. Carlozzo is formulating, but few people have the tenacity and gumption to pull it off," Bench said.
"I will not be done educating myself after receiving my BFA. Writing and thinking about dance ignites my soul as much as moving and discovering through physical means. My primary ambition is to cultivate open, curious minds that are appreciative of diversity," Carlozzo said.