Bachelor of Arts in Dance, UNC Charlotte (2017)
Hometown: Shallotte, N.C.
For the 2019-20 year, Lillian Willis enters Transitions Dance Company and the master’s program at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London to pursue an MA/MFA in Dance Performance. Trinity Laban is the United Kingdom’s only conservatory of music and contemporary dance, formed when Trinity College of Music merged with Laban Dance Centre. As a dance performance graduate student and member of Transitions Dance Company (founded by Bonnie Byrd, an original member of the Martha Graham Dance Company), Lilly will work with choreographers and artists to create three new works, which will tour the UK and internationally.
Before becoming a student in the UNC Charlotte Dance Department, Lilly had not considered graduate school as an option, but, fueled by experiences and support from the faculty, she began to consider it.
“I began to feel that it could be a realistic part of my future. I was able to have meetings with faculty members to learn more, and to begin to think through what graduate experiences I might be interested in. As a student, I felt very supported, and continue to, now.”
While at UNC Charlotte Lilly had opportunities to study at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and the (Paul) Taylor School. She was also able to participate in various internships and academic positions, serving as a Charlotte Research Scholar, an office assistant in the Department of Dance, and a Disciplinary Communication Consultant for Dance History I, Dance History II, and Foundations of Dance.
“Each of the three positions I held while a student individually afforded me unique opportunities to learn new skills and engage in critical thinking; I experienced different kinds of positions I might one day have or engage in, in some way. The responsibility and independence given to me in these roles were particularly important.”
After graduating, she worked in the Department of Dance as a research assistant and for the Office of Disability Services, serving as a movement mentor for dance major Davian Robinson, while also doing freelance work as a dancer and a grant writer.
“The various ways I have been able to be a part of the UNC Charlotte community have directly prepared me for this next adventure in my life.”