Daniel Charon
Daniel Charon MFA 13 Artistic Director, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Salt Lake City, Utah

By the time I enrolled at CalArts, I had performed for 15 years, and was focused on my choreography and teaching. CalArts gave me the time, space and support—with my mentors, faculty and my peers—pushing me forward saying, "Yes, you are capable and ready to do other things. Yes, you can take risks; that’s how you’re going to grow as an artist." The experience transitioned me into a whole new realm of my career by giving me confidence and skills. At CalArts, dancers are asked to think as artists. That’s unique and profound. As someone who now hires dancers, I don't want people who only know how to dance. I want artists who know how to speak through movement. Today, many choreographers work collaboratively, and look to dancers for inspiration. I think because CalArts has such a strong creative side, its dancers are well equipped to participate in that process. When they’re asked for ideas, they’re exceptionally creative.