Katie Stricker, originally from Springfield, Ill., graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a bachelor of fine arts degree with a dance option in 2004.
Since graduation she has become involved in many career opportunities.
“I dance for a Seattle based company, BQdanza. I direct the Fort Lewis Dance Academy, and choreograph for local theatres. I am a teaching artist for the Broadway Center for Performing Arts, and I’m a co-artistic director of the BareFoot Collective,” she says.
“The BareFoot Collective is a non-profit community based organization dedicated to promoting movement and related arts to the greater Tacoma community,” Katie explains.
The BareFoot Collective provides movement classes, performances, workshops and rehearsal space for artists. They just produced a site-specific dance festival called SiteWorks, Katie said.
“The BareFoot Collective partnered with the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Wash., and called artists from all over the world to create site-specific dance pieces for the plazas, pools and stairways that surround the Museum of Glass,” she says.
The festival attracted a large audience and 14 different dance groups from all over the world.
Katie says that her time at Southeast allowed her to gain independence and responsibility.
“I had many professors who pushed me to do more and better work than I had thought I was capable of,” she says.
“At Southeast, I loved so many things like being in the dorms, climbing Cardiac Hill, rehearsing dance pieces late at night in Parker Hall, but my favorite memories are actually in the form of work,” Katie says. “I loved work days in the Forrest H. Rose Theatre.”
“The camaraderie that I felt in the Department of Theatre and Dance definitely created some of the best experiences at Southeast,” she comments.
Katie says she enjoyed painting and drawing at Trail of Tears State Park north of Cape Girardeau plus going camping and hiking, and spending time with loved ones.
“I am fortunate because I get to do what I love all the time,” she says. “For most people, dance is their hobby, but I actually get to make my living at it!”
Right now, Katie says she is working on merging her non-profit organization with another local non-profit dance organization and also funding future performances in Tacoma, Wash.
Katie has advice to share with future Southeast students: “Work hard but not too hard. Find a balance in your work and play. Both elements are vital to a happy and healthy life, and neither should be neglected.”