Sarah Hoffman of York, Pa., danced soon after she learned to walk. At Wilkes University, she achieved the role of a lifetime as Clara in the University’s production of The Nutcracker even as she studies to become a math teacher. “I cried when I found out. I was overjoyed. I never dreamed I’d dance this role in a million years.”
“I like to joke that I started dancing in the 20th century,” says the senior mathematics major with a minor in dance.
One of the faculty members who helps shape Hoffman’s education is Kristin Degnan Boonin. As director of dance, Degnin Boonin meets with her students individually to learn about their dance experiences and general background. “I try to engage students in a way that I get to know them a little better. I evaluate their technical level and find out what areas they want to address.”
Along with movement, Hoffman has a talent for numbers. “I’ve always liked math. It’s so clear-cut and definite. There’s no gray space. It’s black and white.” Finding she enjoyed the teaching aspect of both dance and math, Hoffman decided to combine her math major with secondary education. “My dream job would be at a performing arts high school.”
Hoffman has a head start, working with Degnin Boonin at the Wilkes Conservatory to teach young dancers from the community. Assisting with choreography and studying how other dancers move helps Hoffman progress as an artist. “Whatever opportunities I see for her to grow and develop more knowledge, I present to her,” says Degnan Boonin. “She has the potential to be a fine teacher.”
While dance gives Hoffman a chance to hone both her teaching skills and her own talents, it also helps her relax. “Dance definitely regulates all the stress in my life. I do it because I love it. Dance is what keeps me going.”