Jeanine Holtgrave, a Southeast Missouri State University dance major from O’Fallon, Ill., is interning as a performer this summer at McLeod Summer Playhouse in Carbondale, Ill.
There, she rehearses every day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. in preparation for the musical, “A Chorus Line.” She spends each day learning music and choreography, and working on her character’s monologues and responses.
This is her first experience with musical theatre, as she typically dances in performances. She says she enjoys getting to sing and act.
“Since ‘A Chorus Line’ is a musical about dancers, I get the best of both worlds,” she said. “I get to do what I love, dance, while at the same time I am learning about the musical theatre aspect of entertainment.”
Back at Southeast, Jeanine is a resident assistant (R.A.). Her work involves communicating information to students, organizing programs and activities, and making sure safety measures are followed. This job also allows her to be a friend students can trust when they need someone with whom to talk.
“I have really enjoyed being an R.A.,” she said. “Getting to know all the different personalities on my floors has been fantastic.”
Jeanine has also danced in many Southeast productions, including “Spring into Dance,” and she was the choreographer of “Discretion” from the dance showcase “Fall Dance Concert.”
She believes her experience at Southeast has helped her see just how many opportunities are available. Since attending the University, she said she has grown significantly as a dancer and as a person.
When she is not honing her performance skills or counseling fellow students, Jeanine likes to indulge in a James Brown Funky Jackhammer at Andy’s. She also enjoys finding new music, exercising and listening to stories.
Jeanine said she most cherishes dancing, though, because it gives her a creative outlet to express herself without words. She also values the mental and physical aspects of the activity.
After graduating in 2012, Jeanine plans work as a dancer on cruise ships. She said she loves to perform and believes it is important to express herself in a beautiful way.
Jeanine advises future students, “You should always look for new experiences that will help you grow, and always remember and appreciate the people that help you.”