Using Dance to Empower Others – Monica Rivera

Attending Meredith College has shaped Monica Rivera, ’18, as a dancer, an educator, and a social advocate.

“My years at Meredith have been a gift. I have become a huge social justice advocate, which has inspired me to use my dance education platform to empower the ignored,” said Monica, who earned a dance studies major with K-12 licensure.

Monica spent much of her time dedicated to the dance program, volunteering to help the department with recruitment events, on top of performing, choreographing, and stage managing dance productions. She also helped coordinate Meredith’s High School Day of Dance, which hosts nearly 400 local high school students.

“Performing in dance concerts was one of my favorite parts of my Meredith experience and choreographing is a passion of mine,” Monica said. “Being involved in dance productions has enriched my understanding of dance as a craft. It’s allowed me to create and experiment with more sophisticated work.”

Monica spent her final semester student teaching at Enloe High School, a full-time schedule that was challenging.

“I wake up very early to get to work and sometimes stay up late to prepare for the next day. I miss dancing with my classmates, and miss choreographing and performing with my friends,” Monica said. “But I’ve learned the challenges and greatness of teaching students every day.”

She credits the dance faculty with shaping her as a dancer and as an educator.

“They have gotten me to see and appreciate how much more I am going to grow in both fields,” said Monica, who sees the dance faculty as role models.

After graduation, Monica is moving across the country to San Francisco, where she will be teaching dance in a public middle school, and teaching at a private dance studio part time.

“Meredith College does an exceptional job making sure students learn as much as they can about any field they want to explore. I love dance and I love education. At Meredith, I was able to deeply explore both fields.”

While balancing the busy life of a student teacher and a performer, Monica said she learned to be patient with herself.

“At Meredith, I learned I’m truly stronger than I think I am,” Monica said. “We all tend to have a ‘go go go’ mindset. We often forget to take a breather, and realize we are doing something beautiful and great.”

Learn more about the Dance Program at Meredith College