September 29, 2012 - 12:12AM -

Carmen Balthrop sitting in a bay window

CARMEN BALTHROP, Soprano, Professor of Voice, UMD School of Music

The most moving experience I’ve ever had actually didn’t happen on stage.

The story starts when I was eight years old. My father had a radio and television shop in the basement of our home where he would just tinker around with things, lots of machines that had lights, knobs and dials.

I think what happened in that instant was that I was awakened to the idea that singing — singing in that style — was something I could do.

September 29, 2012 - 12:12AM -

Photo by Mike Ciesielski

DR. MAYRON TSONG, Associate Professor, Artist Teacher, Piano, UMD School of Music

Some years ago, I gave concert at an Arts College in Yunnan province, China. Because there was no heat and the concert was in December, it was terribly cold in the hall. My parents were with me and my mother insisted that I wear sweaters underneath my concert dress, so I looked quite huge, but at least I was warm enough, or so I hoped! My hands and fingers were cold and stiff and I feared the concert would not go well.

They were draped with blankets and they wore big coats, hats and gloves, yet the mood was good, even excited…They were all freezing but everyone stayed until the end of the concert.

September 29, 2012 - 12:12AM -

Photo by Alison Harbaugh

LYNDSEY GORE, Production Coordinator, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

My friend Jill had worked with the International Children’s Festival at Wolf Trap for years, and after weeks of her hounding, I braved a sweltering September day for its final showcase. I marveled as young Hawaiians, South Koreans, Turks and Qataris boldly shared their cultures in joyful song and dance, seemingly unaware of the tumultuous relationships that their countries are known for. Beaming, I ran backstage to congratulate Jill’s team, just as the back door burst open with a gust of wind.

As I watched him walk away, I believed it too, and that belief fuels my chosen work to this day.

September 29, 2012 - 12:12AM -

Photo by Tom Wolff

LIZ LERMAN, Choreographer

I was at a concert by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at Brandeis University in 1968. One of the pieces they performed was “How to Pass, Fall, Kick and Run” with composer John Cage, Merce’s long-time collaborator, as part of the performance.

That was the moment I said “okay” to myself. It was beautiful, and possible.

September 29, 2012 - 12:12AM -

Photo by Mike Ciesielski

RONIT EISENBACH, Architect + Artist, Associate Professor of Architecture, UMD School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

When I was a young college student at the Rhode Island School of Design, there was a lecture by John Cage. I didn’t know who he was and I had no idea what to expect. I just remember him sitting at a table at the bottom of this great auditorium, which was completely filled with people, and he told us that because we were students who might become makers ourselves someday, he wanted to explain something he was going to do.

…I was zoning in and out, sometimes frustrated, sometimes bored. But every once in a while, a phrase made sense and stimulated my own thoughts.

September 29, 2012 - 12:12AM -

Photo by Alison Harbaugh

GABRIELLA MEITERMAN-RODRIGUEZ, Dance Student, UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

When I was younger, I had to perform an improvised dance solo and I was really nervous because at that time my confidence level in my own dancing was not where it is now. But my professor believed in me so much that he decided to make a fool of himself with me and improvise with me. My solo turned into a duet and it just became really fun, really free, and that’s how I feel with dance now. He basically pushed me light years ahead of myself at a young age.

It’s one of the best things ever, knowing your teachers believe in you and are willing to put themselves out there with you.

September 29, 2012 - 12:12AM -

Photo by Alison Harbaugh

BOBBY ASHER, Associate Director of Artistic Initiatives, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

When I was five years old, a man joined the church where I went with my parents. He played the trumpet during services, and as soon as I heard that sound I knew that I wanted to play. A couple of weeks later I cut up an old water hose and made a trumpet. A few months after that, my parents bought me a used cornet from a pawn shop. I was on my way.

All of the experiences in my life…can in some way be traced back to that moment.

September 28, 2012 - 5:05PM -

Ruth Watkins

RUTH WATKINS, Theatre major, UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, Marketing major, UMD Robert H. Smith School of Business

I spent my last semester abroad in London, which was fantastic and I was able to do it partially because I had received a scholarship from the donors at the Clarice Smith Center.

The best part was seeing that there is an audience for the kind of theater I want to do.

September 27, 2012 - 10:10AM -

Helen Huang

HELEN HUANG, Costume and Set Designer, UMD Professor, School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance

As a costume designer who emigrated from China to the United States, I always find a personal connection with plays in which the protagonist is searching for his or her place in the world.

…this play changed my perspective on the meaning of home…

September 27, 2012 - 9:09AM -

Laree Ashley Lentz

LAREE ASHLEY LENTZ, MFA Costume Design 2012, UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, Costume Designer for A Midsummer Night’s Dream/仲夏夜之梦

Last May I embarked on an international journey that opened my eyes to a new culture when, along with a few designers and UMD theatre faculty, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Beijing.

…I learned the importance of expression and the simplicity of line.