Getting to Know Dancer Mica Russo

Mica is a great example of the diversity present within our group. She is a Product Design major at the University of Oregon but she has been dancing all her life. This will be Mica’s first time attending the American College Dance Festival.

1. Where are you from originally?

I was born in Chico, California, but I’m an Oregonian with exception to those first three months of my life. I grew up in Elmira, which is still pretty close to Eugene. Oregon has always been my home.

2. What is your major or focus of study and what led you to decide on it?

My major is Product Design, which combines my love for creativity and functionality. Before coming to the UO, I enjoyed making things – crafting, you could say. The Product Design program has shown me how to apply this creative drive to usable objects. The possibilities to redesign or invent better products is my way of helping improve the world. I’m most interested in social-impact or humanitarian design, which seeks to solve social issues in subjects like education and health through innovative products.

3. When did you start dancing and how did you decide to “stick with it”?

Well, it’s a bit cliche to say I’ve been dancing all my life, but I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t committed to dance. When I was younger, my mother would kindly chauffeur me to town for dance class each day, and I’d do my homework in the car, and my weekends were spent tech-ing and performing. Dance has been an integral part of my life, both as movement and as community. My dedication to it will continue throughout my life, because it challenges me while giving me release, and it brings me so much joy.

4. Give a little bit of info about your dance background.

The Eugene dance community is very dear to me, and I’ve been honored to dance with many of the local companies. I danced modern and tumbled with the EDGE for 16 years: that studio on Harris Street is my second home, and Geni Morrow is my mentor, friend, and hero. Meanwhile, I have learned hip hop and jazz for 10 years from the Greats of Eugene – Lisa Gillam and Karl Mundt at Dance Factory, who taught me energy and precision – Cindy Zreliak at ZAPP who challenged me to be hard-core and expressive – and Eileen King and King’s Krew, with whom I’m still dancing: I spend hours a week in the studio with my closest friends, all dancing our very hardest. Finally, the Dance Department at the University has been an incredible key to exploring my own movement and expression, with some of the sweetest and most talented dancers I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Dance Oregon is pushing me to test the waters as an artist, and to comprehend a deeper level of modern dance.

5. What does ACDFA and Dance Oregon mean to you?

The community of dancers and people in Dance Oregon is inspirational and beautiful! What a gift to all do what we love, together, and what an opportunity for us to travel and meet more people who share our passions! ACDFA seems like an indescribable gathering of dance that will teach us many things, and expose us to many individual stories and experiences with dance as the connecting root.

You can help fund our trip to the American College Dance Festival at our Kickstarter site:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/danceoregon/help-dance-oregon-go-to-the-american-college-dance

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