Why an MFA?

Understanding how to be a better performer, choreographer, and teacher is why I am pursuing an MFA. I guess that’s a bit broad, but it is why I’ve decided to go on this adventure. In studying dance at the graduate level, I will have the opportunity to experiment and choreograph in a mentored setting, learning new choreographic methods and approaches. This is particularly important to me, as I want to create more of my own pieces that push beyond the traditional boundaries of flamenco. In 2012 I worked with Rosario Toledo, a contemporary flamenco artist who encouraged me not always to approach flamenco from its strict traditional aesthetics. I see studying and experimenting choreographically as essential to my forward growth in the field of dance.
I was initially attracted to the program at Hollins because of its well-rounded curriculum, with a large focus on mentored studio research.  I was excited to see the 3 summer program which allows me to continue the work I do in NYC as a teaching artist and as a touring dancer with Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, while still giving the intensive time and focus I seek in an MFA program. The variety and expertise of the faculty also drew my attention, particularly how many professors have practical experience choreographing and dancing tied with research and cultural understanding of dance. Check out the faculty here! It blows me away that I’ll be spending the next three summers with such incredible artists! And I get to head to Germany, where Hollins is partnered with the Forsythe Company!

The Forsythe Company

I did not expect to pursue a career in dance once I started my degree in comparative literature at NYU. Yet at every corner, I made decisions to continue growing as a dancer, and my comparative literature studies actually shaped my perspective in dance as I simultaneously trained and performed at the professional level in New York City.  After several years of professional dance experience, I have a developed and advanced understanding of flamenco—my area of expertise.  I now want to broaden my knowledge and vocabulary into other forms of dance, and for that reason I am pursuing an MFA at Hollins. 

So far, I’ve had one day of orientation and met my absolutely incredible and inspirational group of colleagues. There is so much going on in the dance world; the students here come from all over the country (even a few out of the country), and each person is adding to the dance world and to their communities in unique ways. It’s been so exciting to hear each person’s story. My eyes have already been opened up to how much more is in the dance world than I had been exposed to. I’m looking forward to classes officially starting on Monday!

Hollins University Campus


Also, the campus is stunning–I have never seen so much green in my life before! I loved my undergraduate experience in a big city, but I’m excited to be in this peaceful and a bit sequestered setting to focus entirely on dance. I remember summer dance intensives from my childhood; I was lucky to be at a dance school where some incredible artists would teach in the summers–from Luis Fuentes to Alonzo King, and at Festival Flamenco I got to study with the likes of Andrés Marín, the Campallos, and many others–summer was always when I grew most as a dancer. And I’m excited to back in that sort of environment, and in this case even more focused and profound.

I am going to be very busy, no doubt, but I will try and keep up my blog to let everyone know what I’m up to here! Stay tuned! 🙂

So much green!!!!


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About the Author:

Alice Blumenfeld is a flamenco dancer, choreographer, writer, and educator. She holds a MFA in dance from Hollins University and currently directs Abrepaso Flamenco.

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