UA alumna uses her degree to dance on the big screen
University of Arizona alumna Morgan Larson has felt the art of dance rushing through her veins since she was a child. As a young girl, Larson said she knew she was destined to thrive as a dancer on the West Coast.
Graduating from the UA with a dance degree led her to Los Angeles, where she has had the opportunity to perform in movies, TV shows and commercials.
“Growing up in Wisconsin, I knew that I was supposed to go somewhere else. At a very young age, I knew that I was western-bound,” Larson said.
She began dancing competitively at 11 years old, which she said opened her eyes to the world of dance. She recalls watching music videos as a young girl, which further enforced her desire to pursue a career in dance.
Larson said she enjoys dancing in commercial jazz and ballroom styles.
“I fell in love with ballroom because I was on Dancing with the Stars, but a blend of commercial jazz and ballroom are my favorite styles,” Larson said.
In her eight years of living in Los Angeles, Larson has performed in movies such as "La La Land", "Ted" and "Teen Beach Movie." She has also performed and choreographed on "Dancing with the Stars" and starred in a Virgin America safety video and several commercials.
After performing in her first movie, "Teen Beach Movie", Larson said she fell in love with dancing on film.
“That’s where I fell in love with the storytelling that dance can do. After doing stuff on film, dance became really important to me because it was delivering a message,” Larson said.
Larson said UA prepared her for her career in dance and her life as a whole, teaching her perseverance and work-ethic.
“You’re not always going to remember every single thing you learned in your classes, but because you finished that class, or that semester, or that year, you have this drive in you that you can apply in real life,” Larson said.
Although a good amount of the people Larson dances with do not have degrees in dance, she said she is still proud of the decision she made to study at UA and obtain her degree.
One of Larson’s most influential and notable professors from the UA is her former ballet professor, James Clouser, who said he definitely remembers teaching Larson, recalling her as being unusually talented. He said he felt he treated her as he treated his other students, except she was able to learn from him in a special way and applied his teachings well.
Ryan Burton-Romero, the director of enrollment management and recruitment in the College of Fine Arts, expressed his pride in Larson’s success, saying she is a "perfect example" of what skills and opportunities the college has to offer.
“We are proud of all she has accomplished and what is to come. She is a true Wildcat,” Burton-Romero said.
Jory Hancock, the director of the school of dance, also recalled Larson’s talent.
“As a choreographer and as a mover, she has a real brilliance. I am really glad to hear that she is doing so well,” Hancock said.
Larson is currently pursuing her love for dancing on film and television. Although she has accomplished a lot already, Larson said she still has a strong desire to keep working for her dream.
“My run is not over. I have so many things to do, and I really genuinely want to accomplish them. I’m not just saying it, I’m gonna do it,” Larson said.
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