"FIRST AND FOREMOST I WANT TO PERFORM. THAT IS ALWAYS WHAT MAKES THE HARD WORK SO WORTH IT. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LIKE BEING ONSTAGE AND I HOPE TO STAY THERE FOR AS LONG AS I CAN."
A full scholarship. Tuition. Room and board. A $2,000 study abroad stipend, and ... being able to continue his dancing career. Perfect.
"I chose NKU because it offered me a full scholarship, an offer that I could not turn down," says 21-year-old Bryan Spencer, a senior Dance major from Cincinnati. "Being able to graduate college with no student loans is an unbelievable luxury, especially when I'm pursuing a career in the performing arts."
At NKU, he was able to find great friends, a vibrant campus and helpful teachers.
"My friends and peers have definitely meant an unbelievable amount to my growth as a dancer and individual," he says. "I am extremely lucky to have a group of friends who embrace me for the person I am, but never let me settle into being 'enough.' They celebrate my successes, inspire me to push harder and further, and are a constant reminder of generosity and selflessness. I would not be the dancer or person I am today without these people in my life."
ACROSS CAMPUS, THERE IS AN ENERGY, HE SAYS.
"The growth NKU has undergone in just the four years I have attended is nothing short of remarkable," he says. "The student body is not only insanely larger, it is more vibrant, more impactful, and committed to fostering a diverse and collaborative environment. There is a completely new and very exciting energy on campus."
And whether it has been the personal attention, or even helping him book a job, Bryan's professors have made more than a difference.
"When thinking over my four years at NKU, one teacher who definitely stands out to me as a constant mentor is Heather Britt," he says. "Whether it's offering a voice of reason or helping me find additional training outside NKU, she has continually showed an intense dedication to students looking to push themselves the extra mile.
"Heather is a constant reminder of the most powerful aspect of dance: its ability to bring people together," he says. "She carries an incredible sense of openness and joy with her in all her endeavors, and infuses all of her classes with an inspirational love of dance. I am incredibly grateful for the chance to have had her as my teacher."
DURING HIS FOUR YEARS AT NKU, BRYAN PUT HIS SCHOLARSHIP TO GOOD USE, PARTICIPATING IN THE THEATRE ON LOCATION STUDY ABROAD TRIP TO LONDON.
"This trip was an absolutely unparalleled learning experience, beyond just that of a performer," he says. "Being able to stay in the most cosmopolitan city in the world and immerse myself in a place with an incredibly rich theatrical history expanded my perspective of the world, and of the arts, in ways I could never have expected."
It will all add up to a career in dance, and then possibly in teaching, for the Cincinnati native.
"I know that I have been blessed with teachers who have given an enormous amount of time and effort to support me, and I feel it is only fair for me to do the same for others," he says. "I firmly believe that it is our responsibility to ensure that the next generation of dancers is better than ours."
WHAT DOES CREATIVITY MEAN TO YOU?
"Creativity to me is understanding how and why you think differently from the people around you. I feel that in our culture there is a great push to conformity and homogenization. We are taught from age six that there is a right and wrong way to learn, that an education is simply a series of boxes you need to check off and benchmarks that need to be met. There is not much room for individuality in such a system. Once you are able to celebrate the fact that your thinking is unique, you open doors and allow yourself to generate new ideas. The key is knowing the balance between structure and innovation. Creativity is the ability to learn all the rules, while simultaneously learning how to break them."