Honors student, Dean’s List recipient majoring in physics, mechanical engineering and math, and prima ballerina - it’s all in a day’s work for University of Southern Maine sophomore Kallee Gallant.
She will dance the lead role of the fairy queen Titania in Maine State Ballet’s production of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” which opens on August 8 at their Lopez Theater in Falmouth, Maine.
Performances will run for the next two weekends – Thursday, August 8 through Saturday, August 17– and ticket information can be found at their website – mainestateballet.org.
Our office was curious how Kallee balances dance with her strenuous academic schedule, so we asked her a few questions.
Q: What does dance mean to you?
A: Dance has always been my balance to my academic life. I really enjoy feeling like I get to exercise my brain in different ways but also get to exercise my body. It’s really been a great interdisciplinary hobby actually since I did band and chorus in high school; love physics; and have had a need to be active.
Q: How often do you practice?
A: During the school year we do around 5-6 days a week and the day can be anywhere from just an hour and a half class or up to even 4 hours a day, multiple days a week! It varies depending on the season. Right now we do summer intensive during the day from 9:30 am - 2:30 pm, rehearsals or hair/makeup, then warmup again for the show at 7 pm if it’s a show day. Fridays and Saturdays are double show days though.
Q: What has dancing this particular role been like?
A: Titania has been a very exciting role to dance because it’s been my first real opportunity to act on stage. It’s been so fun to learn about myself as a performer and not just as a ballerina, which has been special. Also, the costume is gorgeous and the choreography is so fun to dance, so I really couldn’t ask for anything more!
Q: Why the triple major?
A: Originally I went in as a double major, double minor in physics/mechanical engineering and math/honors respectively. After first semester though, I finished my math minor and realized I would be very sad without math classes for the next three years and decided it would be valuable to pick it up as a third major. I think it’s really important to have an interdisciplinary perspective on STEM issues and I always have a lot of questions that can’t be answered by any one field, so it made sense to me to follow my passions. Being a triple major suits me I think and I’m maybe the happiest I’ve ever been :)
Q: What do you hope to pursue utilizing your education in the future?
A: Someday I’d love to work at a particle accelerator, maybe even CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. I got formally introduced to them this past spring and instantly knew that the environment would suit me, due to the need for people of different backgrounds. Mathematicians, physicists, engineers, etc. all work together to research particles and our understanding of the world and that just sounds like something I could do for a very long time and be happy. But honestly I’ve always said I would take any job that pays me to do something I love, so I’m keeping an open mind. NASA or a private engineering firm could be fun too.
Production photos courtesy of Maine State Ballet