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21st-century dancer: Experimental, paid performing arts internships give students rare opportunity

ANN ARBOR—Claire Crause was beaming as she walked over the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City to catch the subway on her way home from the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn to where she stayed in East Harlem.

"This could be my life," she said as she put her arms up and leapt through the air toward the skyline of the city.

Crause was in New York on a nine-week internship with the Mark Morris Dance Group last summer as part of an innovative 21st Century Artist Internship program established and funded by the University Musical Society and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance in 2015, and funded by a U-M Third Century grant.

Crause, a current senior studying dance and movement science at SMTD who hopes to dance professionally after graduation, had an integrated internship experience that took place both in the studio and in the administrative offices of the company.

She spent her summer taking company ballet classes, copying scores, arranging itineraries, booking flights and working on marketing initiatives connected to Mark Morris' fall tour of "Layla and Majnun" with the Silk Road Ensemble, which will perform this week (Oct. 13–15) at U-M's Power Center for Performing Arts.

"I really didn't expect to love the office work so much," she said. "Not only is it good to know that I have other career options that are connected to my art, but I think it's really important to understand and appreciate what goes on behind the scenes—it makes me a better dancer."

 

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