I was a shy student who enjoyed playing in the band, being a small part of the whole sound. I didn’t want to stand out by playing the wrong note or by playing a solo. I was afraid of speaking up in class or bringing attention to myself. The modern dance curriculum at my public high school changed that.
Modern dance was offered as a P.E. elective. I had studied ballet, but knew that I did not have the body to be a ballerina. I longed for opportunities to dance and modern dance appealed to me for the freedom of expression it offered. My freshman year, I took the elective and fell in love.
I soon learned my school had a modern dance company for which I could audition. The audition involved taking a dance class, during which we were visually critiqued by the judges. To get noticed, I had to stand out from the competition. We also had to choreograph a solo and perform it in front of the judges. It was scary to put myself out there, but I overcame my fears and—as a result—I was accepted into the company.
I was encouraged to choreograph group pieces, teaching others the movements and directing them around the stage. I also had to communicate with lighting designers, stage managers, and costumers to complete the piece. To promote the performances, I had to passionately tell people about the show to sell tickets. By the time my senior year rolled around, I was the student president of the company, in charge of making larger production decisions like the order of the program, who would get to choreograph, and which dancers would be in each piece.
In four short years, I went from being the shy student that no one knew existed to a confident person who could communicate my point of view and share an intimate piece of myself on stage in front of hundreds of people.
My experience with modern dance continues to give me confidence, whether I’m voicing my opinion in a meeting or presenting to a group of 600 people. It also taught me that no performance is perfect; you have to learn how to think on your feet.
As Accounts Payable Manager for the Nebraska Arts Council, Kathy Bass processes payments to constituents and vendors, assists the Grants Manager with grant applications, and records and handles all expenditures.
Kathy has worked with Opera Omaha in Marketing & Omaha Performing Arts as House Manager and as an Implementation Analyst for a software company. She received her BA from Arizona State University in Modern Dance and MA in Management from Bellevue University. She has performed and choreographed with the Omaha Modern Dance Collective, UNO’s The Moving Company, Dance Arizona Repertory Theater and the musical “TEXAS.” She also choreographed and taught dance at Amarillo College for four years.