Devin Hartdige found out about UT Martin's dance education program, the first program of its kind in Tennessee, after attending a master class at her high school hosted by a UT Martin instructor. Excited about the unique dance education program, Devin applied to UT Martin. With her dance experiences stemming from her childhood and her undeniable passion for the art, Devin set her sights on her dreams of the stage and her hopes to instill the knowledge of dance to others.
UT Martin began offering the first dance education program in Tennessee in fall 2005. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in dance education participate in a wide variety of dance classes (performance, theory and pedagogy) and participate in ensembles, all while earning their K-12 teacher certification.
After spending most of her high school years at Overton High School in Memphis, a school for the performing arts, Devin was ready to continue her performance education. She is a first generation college student, and her aspirations are far from limited.
"I've been dancing for 16 or 17 years," Devin reflects. "I've always wanted to be a tap dancer. It's what I've always wanted to do. I want to be like Savion Glover."
She continued, "After I graduate, I want to dance in Europe, overseas, and then come back and dance on Broadway." Thinking even further into her future, Devin said that eventually she would like to open her own studio and teach dance.
While the dance education program is small in size, it is by no means small in opportunities. Devin has choreographed the Dance Ensemble performances, occasionally helps teach dance in both Dresden and Dyersburg, and has taught for a contemporary dance class at UT Martin.
Additionally, Devin is the vice president of the Collegiate Dance Association here on campus. Last November, the group hosted a four-hour dance-a-thon to help raise money to fight breast cancer. The event is planned to continue annually and is open to everyone. Devin encourages, "Be healthy through dance!"
The most recent Dance Ensemble performance was called "iAm." In the recital, the performers wore shirts that described their personalities. Devin's shirt read "Dynamic." It's safe to say that Devin is certainly dynamic. She is full of energy, ambition and ideas, three qualities that will take her far as both a performer and an educator of dance.