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FSU Student Receives Dance Scholarship to NYC

By Sara Mullins

FSU News Service

For a young woman from the mountains of Western Maryland, Susan Manger gets around, especially in the world of dance. She recently returned from New York City's Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, where she attended the School's Winter Intensive, a two-week series of classes in Graham technique.

Manger, a dance major at Frostburg State University, received the scholarship through FSU's Department of Dance upon the recommendation of Dr. Barry Fischer, associate professor of dance at FSU and a devoté of Martha Graham.

A pioneer in the world of modern dance, Graham created a dramatic, angular style of movement intended to showcase the full spectrum of human emotions.

The Martha Graham School is the longest continuously operating school of dance in America. Students come from around the world to study the Graham technique and repertory. Classes are taught by faculty members who worked with Graham and who are or have been members of the Martha Graham Dance Company.

This journey to Manhatten was not Manger's first to study dance in an urban setting. At 16, Manger won a full scholarship to attend the Washington School of the Ballet upon the recommendation of Faye Snow, a former Washington Ballet company dancer and ballet teacher in Cumberland. During the five years Manger attended the ballet school, she also attended classes at Central High School while performing first with the apprentice company and eventually moving up to the main company. A personal highlight was an appearance in Balanchine's "Four Temperaments" at the Kennedy Center.

Several years later, during the summer of 2000, she studied the technique of Isadora Duncan, known as the "mother of modern dance," with Laurie Belilove in New York City.

Belilove was impressed. "You can have a whole new life in dance," she told Manger.

"I loved it," Manger says. "It was so different from ballet, very earthy. You define movement organically."

Graham technique involved more intense movements, Manger discovered. "It has such emotional impact, and there's so much imagery you can use."

The Winter Intensive was just that, with two-and-one-half hours of technique and two-and-one-half hours of repertory each day. The piece of choice was Graham's 1984 ballet, "Rite of Spring."

"It was very painful, but very much worth it," Manger says of the experience."I felt a definite connection with Graham technique. If I learn enough, I'd like to teach it someday."

To unwind, she enjoyed the New York sights, the culinary variety of Manhatten restaurants and socializing with other dancers.

New Yorkers were interesting, too. "While I was at a pub, a woman told me, 'You have the most beautiful arms,'" Manger recalls.

Upon her return, Manger returned to classes at FSU with a full course load, after enrolling in the dance program last fall on a part-time basis. She is currently assisting Fischer with arrangements for the upcoming Frostburg Summer Dance Retreat, a project she has been involved with since its inception in summer, 2000.

Eventually, Manger hopes to teach dance at the university level. Meanwhile, she teaches Pre-ballet, Ballet I and Adult Intermediate Ballet at through FSU's Activities for Life Center.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Stephen, a talented craftsman and painter, and playing with her pet goat, Mr. Emerson, who lives at her in-laws' farm north of Cumberland.

"I love it here," she says of the Frostburg area. But she'd be open to a move to New York City if opportunities arose for herself and her husband.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589