Where is your hometown, and where do you reside now?
I’m from a little farm town in California called the Delano, in central California just outside of Bakersfield. I did my undergrad in Southern California at UC Irvine. I guess I consider myself more a Chicagoan now, since I’ve been in Chicago since ’05. But I’m still a Californian at heart, I suppose.
Where did you attend college and what degree(s) have you earned?
I did my undergrad at University of California-Irvine.
I recently earned my MFA from University of Iowa in dance with a focus in choreography. Prior to that I worked as the director for a company in Chicago called Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, and another company, Lucky Plush Productions, where I was a dancer and the marketing and communications manager.
Were you ever undecided, and/or did you change majors?
I knew that I was going to college, I just didn’t know what it was for, or what I was going to college for. I think my senior year I applied to 10 schools. Each of them for essentially a different major. But I’d always dance. I’ve been dancing since I was five, and in high school it became really important to me. I applied to one school as a dance major, which was UC Irvine. When I went to campus for the audition, I really fell in love with the campus itself, and the department. It was probably in high school that I knew I was going to dance. I didn’t know in what capacity that was going to be.
I thought I was going to be a commercial dancer, and that I would be in LA being in music videos and that sort of thing. It wasn’t until college that I discovered concert dance. I’ve really just been centered around that for the last 20 years or so. I moved to Chicago two weeks after I graduated from UC Irvine, and it’s where most of my professional work has been, though I’ve done some international work too. More than anything I’ve been based in Chicago where there’s so much access to world class dance, and collaborators from virtually every field.
How did you know you wanted to teach?
I started teaching company classes for the companies that I was dancing in, and that’s really where I got my start teaching. I’d taught kids before, like junior high and high school students at various studios. When the opportunity came for me to teach company class, I jumped on it because I knew what the dancers needed in order to get through their day. It was fun to prepare classes that were geared towards the needs of professional dancer.
I started teaching company classes there. I got asked to teach open classes, professional studios, and then summer intensives, and various programs all over the country while I was dancing with Lucky Plush. We toured quite frequently. I would teach master classes for the various universities that we were performing at, some of our residency activities. That was really my first introduction to teaching in a higher ed type of setting.
Marc Macaranas is an assistant professor of dance in the School of Theatre and Dance.