What makes this member of the team unique is that she is the only dance major on the team! (And there is no dance minor at UMass by the way) We give her a lot of credit for being able to dance as much as she does every day. She is a double major in Spanish, too. She is a Sophomore, and this is her second year on the team.
1. What is your nickname?
Ash, Johnson, or JJ
2. Where is your hometown?
3. What was your old dance studio?
Mass Motion Dance Academy
4. What is your favorite style of dance?
5. What was your most memorable UMass Dance Team moment?
Besides the feeling that I felt when we all took our place on the finals stage last year at my first Nationals, my most memorable moment would have to be right after (auditions), finding out that I had made the team, and meeting everyone for the first time!
6. What would people be surprised to know about you?
People would be surprised to know that I am determined to become fluent in all of the romance languages.
7. How would your friends describe you?
They would say that I’m always smiling, laughing way too much at every little thing and that I’m extremely outgoing.
8. What is your favorite television show?
What I Like About You, America’s Best Dance Crew, Saved By The Bell, Boy Meets World, and Full House
9. Who is your celebrity crush?
10. Where is your favorite place on campus?
Totman 13 & 204 (the dance studios)
11. What is your favorite sports team?
Boston Red Sox baby!
12. What is your favorite pastime?
Reading and figuring out novels written in Spanish
13. What are you known for?
My friends say that I’m like their mother when their own aren’t around.
14. What is your favorite event that our team does and why (after Nationals if Nationals is your first)?
I really support that our team participates in UDance. It’s great because its a marathon geared toward dance- our talent, and at the same time we’re raising money to help sick children. I’m sure I can speak on behalf of all of us in saying that doing what we love and helping people at the same time is a really rewarding feeling and experience for all of us.
15. Do have any heroes?
My parents truly are my heroes. I have learned more from them than I ever could from anyone else.
16. Do you have any pets?
Yes! Two cats, Brownie and Tink
17. What is your favorite movie?
Superbad, Mystic River, Shawshank Redemption, and old dance recital videos.
18. Favorite color?
19. Who is your favorite dancer or choreographer?
My favorite choreographer is Eddie Taketa. He has his own company, and I have taken master classes from Eddie himself, and seen his company perform his work. His choreography is innovative and athletic. I always have so much fun taking his classes.
20. Saving the best question for last…
How do you juggle being a dance major and being on the dance team? And do you have any advice for people who would be in the same position?
Being a dance major and also on the dance team is a lot of work. The most vital thing and key to doing both successfully is time management, that’s really all that it is. Some months are easier than others like when there is down time in the dance department after a show ends, or before we start to learn our nationals routine for dance team. It’s a lot of give and take. The dance team has always been very understanding and considerate of my rehearsal times for dance department shows, and vice versa, the dance faculty and student choreographers (my peers) know that I’m only one juggling both the major and the team and realize that I’m out straight most days a week and that I’m always trying to find time to fit everything in. My advice to anyone that wants to do both is that it IS possible. I came into school as a major and I have been on the dance team for the two years that I have been at UMASS, and I have rarely ever felt that it was impossible to make time for everything, including school which is most important.
My advice to anyone in the same position is to make sure that you get lots of rest because as you know, being a dancer is really taxing on the body. Drink lots of fluids and remember to stretch really well after dancing for hours a day to prevent injuries. If you ever feel stressed, it really helps to talk to the captains, or your professors about what to do, that in itself will make you feel better and there are always ways to accomodate so that everything will work out in the way that it should. ♥ Thanks Ash!