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Nicole Zvarik '03

Posted: December 2, 2011

Nicole Zvarik '03 is an artist, teacher and entrepreneur from the Philadelphia area whose ambitious nature and passion for dance led her to establish a dance collective and direct a middle school dance program in the San Francisco Bay Area.

It was Nicole’s experience at Wilson College that led to her current vocation. She was unsure what degree to pursue when she began her education at Wilson College. She had taken a few dance classes in high school and enjoyed them, so after arriving on campus, decided to introduce herself to the dance professor, Paula Kellinger.

"She told me about Orchesis (Wilson’s modern dance ensemble) and from there I was hooked," Nicole said. "Paula's style of teaching and eccentricity made me fall in love with her classes and ignited the passion for dance as my art form."

Nicole graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in a special major in dance. She continued to study dance and choreography at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., graduating in 2005 with a Master of Fine Arts degree.

"Dance is my passion and I consider myself an artist,” said Zvarik. "One of my professors once told me, 'If you are an artist, you have to be an artist. You just aren't happy doing anything else.'"

Nicole founded the Deep Root Dance collective, along with several alumni from Mills College. Deep Root Dance has been active in the San Francisco Bay Area for six years. "I also collaborate with local artists, technicians and musicians." she said.

In addition, Nicole runs the dance program at a middle school (Bayside STEM Academy) near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area. "I develop dance curriculum using science, technology, engineering and math as an interdisciplinary art form," she said.

Nicole asks her students to calculate their average speeds, distances and times in their dance sequences, and then challenges them by asking them to use that data in their choreography. "All performers have the same average speed, yet each individually has different timing variations, floor patterns and distances."

Nicole would eventually like to teach dance at the collegiate level and abroad. "I'm pretty open to where there are teaching opportunities for dance."

As an active member of Orchesis, Nicole participated in dancing and choreographing. "I am a modern or, nowadays they say contemporary, dancer," Nicole said. "The majority of my training was in that style and there is so much room for personal expression within modern."

Nicole was drawn to Wilson College by the Women with Children program. "The Women with Children program became my extended family,” she said. “The holistic experience of Wilson opened my eyes to new insights and perspectives that made me who I am today."

Last Updated: January 22, 2013