Raquelle “Rocky” Pollock has been dancing since age 8, everything from ballet to jazz to hip-hop. A competitive dancer in high school, she said she has come to understand and embrace the student-centered, holistic approach taught in Appalachian State University’s Dance Studies program.
“I used to dance because I loved doing tricks and showing off, and now I dance because I love how it feels and I want to express myself through it,” said Pollock, who is double majoring in Dance Studies and Psychology and is an ACCESS scholarship recipient.
“I found a whole new movement quality and language here. I’ve grown as a dancer and matured through this department. You get opportunities for growth and learning here that you might not get at other colleges,” said Pollock, who will graduate in 2016.
“This isn’t a cut-throat school. You have opportunities and you have auditions, but the real thing you’re competing against is yourself. You become better as a person and a dancer.”
Pollock said she values the program’s emphasis on care for the body and integration of body, mind and spirit. Taking advantage of the Somatics-based courses and equipment, she is getting certified as a Pilates instructor.
By the end of her junior year, she had been in 12 productions – either as a dancer, choreographer or actor. She is active in Momentum, the student dance club. Since students majoring in any discipline can audition for campus productions, Pollock was one of two students who alternated the playing the lead role in the Department of Theatre and Dance’s Spring 2015 production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
The Dance Studies Program requires a minor or a second major in an area of interest because the faculty believes connections can be made between dance and any other discipline. Pollock chose Psychology because the field “helps you understand other people and yourself better.” She works as a research assistant for Dr. Denise Martz on topics such as body image and “fat talk” among college women.
She describes the faculty at Appalachian as “nurturing” and fostering of an open environment. “I feel like I can talk to them about anything,” she said.