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UofL dance student combines business with pleasure

by UofL Today last modified Apr 29, 2010 04:32 PM

For many students, a full load means taking the maximum amount of class hours.

UofL dance student combines business with pleasure

Alexandra Brannon

A full load takes on a different meaning for Alexandra Brannon, a University of Louisville business major who also is a student at UofL's Dance Academy.

Brannon's typical day is brimmed full of activity but a bit short on time for sleep and meals.

"I work 11 (p.m.) to 4 (a.m.) weeknights as a UPS package handler helping get international packages to the right destination," Brannon said. "Then I go home to sleep as fast as I can, get up and eat a quick breakfast before my 11 a.m. class, attend classes and dance rehearsals until 9 p.m. followed by dinner, homework, maybe a nap and off to work again."

Although it's trite to say that she has to "stay on her toes" to balance her schedule, Brannon has kept up this routine all four years she's been at UofL, as she combines a passion for ballet with a desire to acquire the business skills she hopes to use in the future.

Brannon's goal is become a choreographer for a dance company - perhaps her own. Scheduled to graduate in December, she already has had success in the challenging and competitive world of dancing.

Adjudicators of the Southeastern Ballet Association Emerging Choreographers program have picked one of her creations to be performed at the association's annual festival May 7 in High Point, N.C.  Another of her ballets was selected and performed at the 2009 festival in Montgomery, Ala.

"The festival honor gives me great experience in creating a ballet, casting the dancers and directing the performance," Brannon said. "The feedback will be invaluable, plus I will also perform at the festival in other ballets."

One might say that Brannon was born to dance. Her father was a principal dancer for the Louisville Ballet, and her mother was her first ballet teacher. She started lessons at an early age, and later was accepted to study dance at the Youth Performing Arts School in Louisville.

After graduating from high school, Brannon wanted to pursue a college degree and to continue her study and practice in ballet. She had to find a place where she could combine the two. She also had to find a way to pay for her education. A solution was close to home. Metropolitan College, a unique partnership between UPS and UofL that helps students earn money to pay for their education, provided her the financial means to attend college. UofL's Dance Academy provided the ballet training she needed to become a professional dancer.

With her work ethic, Brannon lacked only other ingredient for success:

"Coffee keeps me going," she said.

Brannon choreographed a piece for and will be among the dancers at the annual Dance Academy Spring Gala, 7:30 p.m., May 14 and 15 at the Margaret Comstock Concert Hall. Dancers ranging in age from 14 up will perform traditional and modern ballets, choreographed specifically for them. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $5 for students and senior citizens. They will be available at the door.

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