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Dance: The Art of Conversation, Expression and Growth
MA in Dance Education
Graduate student Yuko Hashimoto brought forth a new light in the Department of Dance, adding credible diversity to the program. This is evident through her mantra: 一期一会 (Ichigoichie), which she describes as meaning, "Take every encounter positively because you can learn from it as your last chance, even if it may seem to be all negative or meaningless to you. Do your best on every occasion, as it may be the last chance to improve/sharpen yourself from it."
The hardships of learning a new language disciplined Yuko to study and work hard to obtain a rich and fulfilling experience here at the College. "The environment of the dance department was great. Both students and faculty were very supportive. As a student who speaks English as a second language, the amount of support from a department remains one of the greatest deciding factors for choosing a school," she said.
Yuko completed her bachelor’s degree in elementary school education at Tokyo Gakugei University, in Tokyo, Japan (2006). She earned a graduate degree in dance at Ochanomizu University, Tokyo (2009), and in January 2013, she completed a second master’s degree in dance at SUNY Brockport.
The graduate program at Brockport was difficult, yet rewarding for Yuko: "It was an alpine training for me. My language barrier was challenging." With determination, Yuko studied hard for two years to be able to understand the English language. "I worked with English tutors at the Student Learning Center and friends in the dance department. Everyone was so supportive and helpful," she said. With guidance, she was able to improve her English speaking and writing skills. Yuko enjoyed many aspects of her studies here at the College, including the freedom of choosing classes, being able to study all points of her interests (performing, researching, choreographing and teaching) and the involvement in class discussion.
The Department of Dance caters to those who enjoy the theory behind dance and are eager to embody new movement. Yuko was able to learn about dance scholars and to experience the connection between the practice and theory of dance. She credits three of her professors – Kevin Warner, Juanita Suarez and William "Bill" Evans – with her success at Brockport.
Kevin Warner has supported Yuko since she started her study at the College in 2009. "He has been one of the best advisors and mentors for the past three years. He has built a warm and safe environment for me, and I truly appreciate his exceptional support and deep understanding for a student who speaks English as a second language," she said. Yuko created a new summer study abroad program, "The Arts and Culture of Japan," with Professor Warner beginning summer 2013. The creation of the program was part of the Graduate Diversity Fellowship she received in spring 2012.
Yuko credits Juanita Suarez with providing constant encouragement to bring out her uniqueness in the diverse dance community. "I appreciate her understanding of diversity in the classroom. Her trust in students and high expectations encouraged me to study and learn more," she said.
Bill Evans has taught Yuko how to be fluid, not only in her dancing, but mentally as well. "My studies helped me realize how I want to involve my body and mind into my life, and Professor Evans is one of the best dance teachers I have ever met," she said. Yuko’s thesis, Radio Taiso, (a well-known warm-up exercise sequence and a cultural phenomenon in Japan), was inspired by her study of the application of Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) which she was introduced to by Professor Evans.
LMA is named for Rudolf Laban and is a method and language for describing, visualizing, interpreting and documenting all varieties of human movement. Yuko was intrigued by LMA and felt compelled to work with it every day by incorporating it into teaching, dance technique and research. According to Yuko, the purpose of her research was to analyze Radio Taiso, which has a root in the United States, from historical, cultural, physiological and scientific points of view and to examine and evaluate it from LMA point of view.
Yuko has been consistently recognized for her hard work and achievements. She is one of the newest recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence (2013), Distinguished Professors Award (2012) and Diversity Engagement Award (2012), as well as countless grants and scholarships from the Department of Dance.
During her study at Brockport, Yuko published a part of her Japanese thesis at Ochanomizu University, "Effects of Aging on Thoracic and Lumbar Spinal Mobility," in the Japanese Society of Physical Education, Health and Sport Sciences. She also has presented collaborative diversity-based research with other colleagues in the dance department at the National Dance Education Organization Conference for two consecutive years. She has earned countless certifications and awards and has attended dance conferences and festivals.
Yuko hopes to contribute to others through art education, especially dance. She’s eager to investigate how multigenerational individuals grow and enhance their lives through the arts. The possibility of developing the relationship and growth of teachers, students, performers and audiences inspires Yuko and motivates her to research, teach, choreograph and perform. "I would love to travel around the world and share my work," she said, "and communicate with people who do not usually have opportunities to experience dance."