Education: Bachelor of Arts in Dance, UNC Charlotte (2017)
Hometown: Denver, NC
Hunter Wayne Foster graduated from the Department of Dance in 2017 and has been living in New York City for two years. Read on to hear Hunter talk about how he switched his major to dance, what a typical day in his life is like, and his advice for students considering becoming a dance major.
"Hello! I was born and raised in Denver, NC just about 45 minutes outside of Charlotte. Here is where I first began dancing at a competitive dance studio at the age of 12. I immediately fell in love with everything that surrounds dance. The music, costumes, props, lights, stage, fellow dancers, and of course, my teachers. Growing up in a small southern town, where it wasn't that common for boys to dance, had me strictly taking hip-hop lessons for my first three years until finally branching out into other styles - without my parents' permission, of course. In fact, the first time they saw me dance anything other than hip-hop wasn't until my senior year recital. They could immediately tell why I loved it so much.
When I first attended UNC Charlotte in 2013, it never crossed my mind that a career in dance was something I could pursue. I wanted to be an actor. I enrolled as a theatre major with a desired minor in business. And it wasn't until my sophomore year that I was introduced to the fabulous, Kim Jones (Associate Professor of Dance). After one meeting with Professor Jones, she and I both knew where I was headed. I began enrolling in as many dance classes as possible, and before I even knew it, I was fully enveloped and in love with the dance program at UNC Charlotte. I graduated in the Spring of 2017 with a B.A. in Dance Performance, Choreography, and Theory.
Following graduation, I took six months off to work teaching dance and serving tables before moving to the city. I wasn't sure what I was going to do when I got here, but I knew New York City was where I needed to be. I have lived here for a little over two years now, and I am still constantly learning. New York has so much to offer and so much to throw at you all at the same time, and the crazy part is, you can never be ready for it. If you would have told me I would be a spin instructor three years ago I would have laughed in your face. Now, I can confidently say that spin is another art form that I have fallen completely in love with. I teach anywhere from eight to 12 classes a week and still have time to audition, take class, and eat. That is one thing I've found will never get easier while being a "starving" artist in the city... finding time to eat a decent meal. I am always on the go. Packing a bag for the entire day. Making sure to have clothes and shoes for auditions, teaching spin classes, and lots and lots of on-the-go snacks. Protein bars are your BEST friend.
My most recent job involved dancing with a collaborative art show titled Sleeping Beauty Dreams that combines technology, fashion, and dance with real-time sensory projection. I was fortunate enough to work with some amazingly talented individuals like Edward Clug, Marcelo Gomez, Nicholas Palmquist, Marijn Rademaker, and our princess, Diana Vishneva - most famously known in Russia for performing with the Mariinsky Ballet. I was able to go on tour to Russia, and parts of the U.S., as an ensemble dancer with the company. I even got the chance to dance at the Mariinsky II, a world-famous theater, alongside a world-famous ballerina. It all feels like a dream at this point (pun intended). Because as quickly as it began, I am now back to auditioning, searching for that next job.
I would absolutely say that I have the Department of Dance at UNC Charlotte to thank for my ability to book jobs such as Sleeping Beauty Dreams. If it wasn't for the proper training I received, the endless numbers of ballet classes I signed up for when I had room to fill in my schedule, the constant time and energy I put into Range of Motion, a club within the department, I would not have had the technical or intellectual capability to reach this opportunity.
I would say that if you are considering the Department of Dance at UNC Charlotte, you would be making a wise choice. However, it is all in what you make it. Rather than just doing the work, take it to the next level. Go back and take those Level I classes as a senior, explore other outlets and art forms while you have the time, join organizations on and off-campus, fly to NYC to audition, even if it's just for the experience. Expose yourself to make as many connections as possible because when it comes down to it, connections and experience can get you jobs. I am, without a doubt, so incredibly grateful to my professors, my friends, and my family that I have made with the Department of Dance. They have helped shape me into the individual I am today!"
Love & Light, Hunter Wayne