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Student Profile: Ileanna Sophia Cheladyn
I'm a dance artist. This means that I trained at two dance institutions (Ecole de Danse Contemporaine de Montreal and Modus Operandi in Vancouver) where I developed an intimate connection to my own somatic and interoceptive experiencing while simultaneously witnessing my technical capacities gain greater acuity and range. Now working as a dance artist, I constantly navigate the precarity of the gig-economy. This means that every gig I sign (or pine after) is a complicated nexus of administration, production, research, networking, marketing, promotion, emotional support, rehearsing, teaching, napping in the studio, costume and set design, videography, writing grants, and performing. All of this is part of my dance practice that I have been fortunate to share with local and international audiences.
In both dance and academia I am critical of the separation of mind and body - heartily criticizing the privileging of theory over practice - and I am committed to honouring the knowledge that comes from our sensuous, emplaced experiences.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
I came to SFU for the simple reason that I needed financial assistance; student loans weren't available for the dance program I was enrolled in at the time. My sister completed her BFA in dance many years before I moved to Vancouver so I knew SFU as having high-achieving thinkers across many disciplines and faculties. I also knew the campus to be exquisite, tickling my love for snow, mountainous views, and brutalist architecture. All this felt promising for my desire to learn about... well... anything. Quickly I found myself reveling in the intensity, criticality, and creativity of the Sociology and Anthropology department. Even in my undergraduate studies professors encouraged me to bring my experience as a dance artist and my embodied understanding of my world to the forefront of my questioning. A degree was never on my radar when I first applied, but now all I can do is extend gratitude for the ongoing support offered by my mentors and peers that have given me the essential language and skills to engage with my community in meaningful ways. Continuing my MA at SFU was a natural outgrowth of the relationships I developed in the SA department that always supported my interdisciplinary (or unruly) approaches.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.
My research is concerned with dance improvisation. I am curious about how dance artists make choices when they improvise and how a score shapes those choices. An improvisation score can be thought of as a recipe, a set of flexible rules, or instructions for what the dancers should/could do during the improvisation. I'm curious about how dancers understand the feeling of choice-making within their own body and how their movements come to develop a sense of self for them.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
My experience at SFU has been extremely collegial. It's quite the gift to be surrounded by kind and generous people who genuinely want to see each other succeed.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?
SSHRC CGS Masters Scholarship