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Dutch Treat: Behind the scenes with dancer, Kate Havlicek

By Devon Preston Special to the Chronicle

When exploring our own Hofstra University campus, you will find an assortment of business, communications and pre-med majors. And yet, there are many students who go beyond the realms of convention, pursuing careers in the arts from theater to ceramics and, of course, dance. Dance has become a community at Hofstra, with well-known organizations such as Danceworks, Imani Dance Ensemble and TransceDANCE, as well as up-and-coming clubs like Strictly Steppin’ and Zeenat Bollywood Fusion.

We’ve all seen the incredible performances and witnessed what it takes to stay competitive in this art, yet few can say what it is really like to have dance be your entire life. Kate Havlicek, a sophomore from East Hampton, is majoring in dance here at Hofstra and it is clear from her extensive repertoire that being a dance major is more than pointed toes and lights on a stage.

“I’ve known that dance was what I wanted to do with my life ever since I was 2 years old… I always used to twirl and dance around my house. I just loved to move…The more I was dancing, the happier I was,” said Havlicek. “I always wanted to try something new, whether it was your basic tap, jazz, hip hop, or whether it was something more unique like flamenco, Irish step or fosse. I tried it all.”

Havlicek is an exemplar of the passion it takes to commit to a life in the dance world. Only a sophomore, Havlicek is a standout in Hofstra’s Danceworks, coming on during the fall of her freshman year, she instantaneously captivated choreographers with her sassy jazz pop and flare. Havlicek embodies the dedication it takes to be successful in the dance world. Her past experiences include performing in community theater productions; choreographing and performing in high school plays; captaining her high school dance team from sophomore to senior year; and her current work studying dance as a major and dancing in the Danceworks and faculty show productions.

Yet, even with talent and heart to spare, the dance world remains one of the most competitive industries to break into. With a fear of the future and a merciless job market, many students are forced to put away their passion in order to ensure stability. Sometimes, it may seem like it is our parents or peers who put the most judgment upon our choices for the future and express the most concern. These pressures may appear to be constructive, but in many cases they keep students from looking into a more risky career path.

“Unfortunately, I do know many people who have strayed from the thought of a dance career or pursuing dance as a major because of unsupportive friends and family,” says Havlicek.

Although while many of her friends in dance may just do it as a hobby, it is a life for a woman like Havlicek. Years of training and auditions have taught this jazz dancer that in order to succeed, you need to always be striving to reach your dreams.

“It’s honestly anything goes as far as the future is concerned. I plan to audition for as much as possible and seize any opportunity that comes my way, both while I am in school and when I graduate,” remarked Havlicek. “However, my big, huge goal that I hope to achieve is to become a Radio City Rockette. I have already started auditioning and have attended the Rockette Summer Intensive two years in a row now. I would love more than anything to become a Rockette someday, or hopefully in the near future.”

Havlicek is proof that being a dance major and standing out in a cutthroat field is no easy task, but that both physical and mental blood, sweat and tears can bring you to the top. Havlicek’s hard work and passion transcend the dance world and she shows every university student that a drive for what you love can get you places in this mad world that we live in.

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