Getting to Know Dancer Kim Ames

We are so excited that Dance Oregon is reaching the younger of dancers at the University of Oregon. Meet sophomore dance major Kim Ames who will be attending the American College Dance Festival with us this year!

1. Where are you from originally?

I was born and raised in the Eugene/Springfield area, and still absolutely love it here.

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

My major is dance. Dancing has always been my passion. I have always wanted to open my own dance studio, but I also wanted to explore dance more on a professional level. I am loving everything so far, and I am glad I continued my exploration further at the UO. I love to inspire and be inspired by my peers and other dancers in the community. It is great to be a part of Dance Oregon because I get to be around other people who love to dance all day. I have learned SO much already from my professors, graduate students and peers-and I am only a Sophomore!

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

When I was three years old I pointed out a dance studio to my mom and said, “I want to go there.” From there she enrolled me in classes, and I was hooked. During my middle school years, many of my classmates stopped taking classes for sports and other activities, but I wanted to dance. I never decided to stick with it, it is like embedded in my DNA or something. It’s almost like dance chose me.

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

I danced locally in Eugene for a studio called ZAPP, run by a UO alumni named Cindy Zreliak. When I was little I took a lot of hip-hop, tap, swing, lyrical, and jazz. When I was 13, I was old enough to be a part of their smaller group of dancers that perform around the world and locally at the Hult Center. Between ages 13 and 18 I performed with the company in Disneyland, Disneyworld, Seattle, Hawaii, and numerous times at the Hult Center. One of my favorite productions I did every year was Dance for a Reason, because there are so many local dance groups involved that contribute to a fantastic performance. There were times we would reherse on Sundays for 7 hours for these performances. I also had dance practice at 6 a.m. on Tuesdays every week, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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

The American College Dance Festival is such an exciting idea to me. I have never been before, but I am a firm believer in cross training. I am really looking forward to taking workshops from professors from other Universities. There is so much that I will be able to learn and take from it I’m sure. I am also looking forward to watching the performances, and what other Universities have been working on. The University of Oregon has provided me with a new style of dance that I haven’t done before-Modern Dance. I had heard little of it before coming to UO. It is addicting. I love how real it is, and the freedom for expression within it. Although there is structure, there is so much wiggle room. One of my favorite dance styles is hip-hop, so freedom of expression in dance is important to me. My professors are all so different, and I appreciate that because life is never the same and always exciting here.


Getting to Know Our Treasurer: Linnea Birdwell

This is the first of a series that we will be posting so that our supporters can get to know the students involved in Dance Oregon. The first student profile is all about our treasurer Linnea Birdwell. Read on to learn more about her!

1. Where are you from originally?

I was born in Los Angeles, but have lived in Corvallis, OR for most of my life.

2. What is your major and what led you to decide on it?

I came to the University of Oregon with the intention of being a dance major, and I never looked back once I got here.

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

I first started doing Modern Dance after I saw a show that involved dancing when I was 9. It looked like fun, so I joined a local Modern studio specializing in Graham technique and found that it was something that I never wanted to stop doing. I never had an epiphany moment were I was suddenly struck with the idea of being a dancer; as soon as I started dancing I knew I could never stop, and the decision to follow my dreams of becoming a professional dancer was just a logical progression in my exploration of dance.

3. Give a little bit of info about your dance background:

In high-school I mainly trained in the Graham technique, and it wasn’t until I came to the University of Oregon that I started expanding my dance education with Ballet, Jazz, African, and Hip-hop. Here at the U of O, I have performed in numerous faculty and student works since my freshman year, and was a recipient of the Lotta Carll Scholarship for 2010-2011 as well as 2011-2012. In 2011 I attended my first American College Dance Festival in Idaho, performing in Brad Garner’s “Pages Missing,” selected through adjudication for the finale performance. I will once again be performing at the ACDF in Wisconsin this year in Holly Johnston’s new work “Prelude to a Secret,” as well as in Julia Vickers’ “Two Half Hitches.” This past summer I was lucky enough to attend and perform at Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, Maine, and gained invaluable knowledge from the many professions there. I plan to continue to explore my love for teaching and outreach through dance after graduating in 2013, and one day I hope to join a professional dance company.

Introducing Dance Oregon’s First Ever Kickstarter Fundraiser

Hello! We are Dance Oregon, a student group at the University of Oregon. We are pleased to announce the launch of our first ever Kickstarter Fundraiser! We are raising money to get 35 members of our student group all the way from Eugene, Oregon to Madison, Wisconsin so that we can participate in the American College Dance Festival (ACDF). Due to scheduling conflicts, we cannot attend the conference in our region so we will need to raise 300%  more than we have previously needed to attend this festival.We chose to launch a Kickstarter fundraiser in order to involve others in our journey in raising money for an art that we are incredibly passionate about. This platform is designed specifically for artists who need help in order for their project to happen. It is important to note that if we do not raise our goal of $4,000 by February 24 we will not receive any of the money.

The Kickstarter project is a key fundraiser for us because the $4,000 that we are hoping to raise will essentially cover the hotel costs for all 35 students who will be attending. We hope that you will donate to this campaign because without this money we will be forced to ask the dancers to pay much more than they can afford in order to get to the festival.

So far we have received more than $11,000 from the Associated Students of the University of Oregon. This support was a huge help in making this trip possible and we are endlessly grateful to be one step closer to our goal of raising more than $25,000. In addition to that money, we received $4,000 in fees from our dancers. We also need to raise at least $4,000 through our Kickstarter and at least $6,000 from other fundraisers including bake sales, apparel sales and other events here in Eugene.

We hope that you will follow our blog to receive updates and insight relating to Dance Oregon’s fundraising journey. The Kickstarter campaign is just a fraction of what we are doing to raise all of the money that we need to get to ACDF but it is also a crucial aspect of our fundraising efforts. We will use this blog to profile the dancers who will be attending the conference and to share our journey in Eugene as we continue to raise money in order to make it to this festival.

Please visit and donate to our Kickstarter fundraiser at this website:

By clicking the above link you will learn all kinds of great information about the American College Dance Festival and about Dance Oregon itself. Feel free to ask us any and all questions that you may have here on our blog or e-mail

Thank you for your support!

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