Alumni Spotlight: Olivia Crawford ’18 (Dance minor)

Posted Mar 11, 2022

Olivia Crawford (Dance minor ‘18) continues her passion for dance as a teacher, choreographer, and performer on top of her day job as a Program Manager.

Olivia Crawford
Olivia Crawford

Before COVID cut your time in NYC short, what were you doing post-graduation?

One of the driving forces behind my move to New York was a need to continue immersing myself in the dance and theatre culture. I wanted to learn and experience as much as I possibly could while I was able to do so! I took classes, went to auditions, and saw as many shows as I could afford. On top of that, I wanted to experience what it was to live in the beast that is New York City. Being in the city brought me new mentors, new friendships, and all new perspectives on life and my art. Although my time was cut short, I left that chapter having learned so much about myself and knowing that I am capable of whatever I set my mind to. I left the city at the peak of the beginning stages of Covid. Although I am sad that my time in New York was cut short, I know that I am a stronger, more well-rounded individual and teacher for taking every opportunity and living there!

How have you made dance a part of your life?

I am still a member of New Vision Dance Co. <in Columbus, OH>, but with my overloaded schedule, I had to take a step back from involvement in this season’s shows. I am still involved when I can be in teaching at workshops and taking classes, but I am looking forward to next season when I will be able to be more active on the performance side! I am, however, very actively teaching and choreographing for Drake Dance Academy! DDA has become like a second home to me over the last several years, and it is such a privilege to work with such passionate and driven dancers and teachers.

What styles of dance do you teach and for what age groups?

I teach just about every style for all different age groups! I was initially brought in as a tap teacher

and have, for the most part, taken over the entire tap program. I also teach jazz, ballet, contemporary/lyrical, choreography and improv, and musical theatre. I choreographed 8 group dances, 11 solos, and 1 duet for competition this year. 4 groups are Jazz, 3 are tap, and 1 is contemporary. My jazz groups are made up of the Tiny Team (pre-competition ages 5-6), the Mini Team (ages 6-8), the Teen Team (ages 12-14), and the Senior Team (ages 14-17). My Tap groups are a combination of all of our teams, and my contemporary is a group from the Junior Team (ages 10-12). My soloists are a variety of ages and styles. In general, my classes are made up of dancers of all ages! My youngest dancers are 2-3 years old and my oldest are 17-18 years old!

Why are you passionate about dance?

I dance because it makes me feel complete. Sometimes, I can’t fully explain the way I am feeling/thinking, but when I turn on the music I can fully express myself and it all makes sense. I dance because it brings me joy, even on my worst days, and because of the community it provides me.

Why did you choose to attend Otterbein and why was the dance minor the right fit for you?

I chose Otterbein for a couple of reasons. The first was because of the community, both internal as a university and external through Westerville. I was drawn to the coziness of the atmosphere, and to how welcomed I felt by everyone I came in contact with. The second reason was for the dance minor program. In high school, I had tossed around the idea of auditioning for BFA programs to study musical theatre. I ultimately decided not to audition because I wanted to focus my drive for the arts more on dance while pursuing my other academic interests. Otterbein’s program was exactly what I wanted and more. Unlike other schools who lend their focus more towards one style, Otterbein offered a well-rounded, versatile program for me to continue training in everything I had previously trained in and more. I loved that I was not expected to become one type of dancer. I was able to be somewhat of a chameleon and exercise every part of my abilities as a performer. 

How did Otterbein prepare you for your current work?

Otterbein prepared me for both my job as a dance teacher and now also as a Program Manager at Scitrain, ltd. through countless leadership opportunities and by providing an environment with direct mentoring from all of my professors/teachers. Cultivating those personal/professional relationships and learning first-hand what it takes to be a professional in so many different facets opened my eyes to what life after graduation could be.

What do you want prospective students to know about Otterbein?

Otterbein is small but mighty. The opportunities that it can provide are unlimited, and the lessons you take away will stay with you well after graduation. Otterbein helped shape me into the person that I am today, and I am grateful for the knowledge, community, and experiences that I get to take with me for the rest of my life!