Dance student Cecilia Whalen has won first place in the Marian Beane Crossing Borders Writing Contest, an internationally themed writing contest sponsored by the Office of International programs, the English Language Training Institute, and the UNC Charlotte International Club. The contest was open to current UNC Charlotte undergraduates and upper-level students of the English Training Institute (ETI). Cecilia is a freshman majoring in dance, English, and French.
The prompt of the writing contest was “A different culture. A different me. How has your international experience affected your perspective of the world?”
While Cecilia’s essay included experiences she has had while traveling abroad, it focused on her recent experience in PROW, a work by the Mexican choreographer Claudia Lavista, who was a guest artist in the Department of Dance in the fall. PROW is about the physical and emotional trauma of migration. Cecilia and other dance students performed PROW in the 2018 Fall Dance Concert and at subsequent dance conferences this spring.
In her essay, Cecilia describes how, through dance, she was able to put herself in the shoes of a migrant trying to cross a border and “learned the urgency of migration for both migrant and bystander.” While she had heard the stories of many migrants, including those of close friends, her “understanding suddenly changed, because when you dance something, you live it.”
Cecilia will receive her prize, which includes a $400 education stipend, at a reception on April 16. Read her full essay here.
Pictured: Cecilia Whalen performing in PROW. Photo by Jeff Cravotta.