RSJ student to intern for NYC dance company

RSJ student to intern for NYC dance company

Considering how important dance is to Shelby Wilburn, 21, a journalism major at the Reynolds School, it wasn’t a surprise when she received the email that changed the course of her junior year.

Just a short time ago, Wilburn was informed she had been chosen to be the Festival Management Intern for the Battery Dance Company in New York City. And although she believes in herself and her abilities, she is still in shock that an opportunity of this nature would come to her.

‘When I found out, it was truly indescribable,” she said. “ I sat for a few minutes in awe, then silent tears of happiness started streaming from my eyes. It was a moment where I simply felt humbled and grateful.”

As the Management Intern, Shelby will have the opportunity to assist in a variety of projects related to Battery Dance Company’s international and domestic programs. She will work on social media, marketing and promotions for the 2013 dance festival. She will also assist with planning workshops and community outreach events. After the festival and all events are completed, she will publish a concluding article/press statement.

“I have reached a turning point in my career where I really know what I want to do for the rest of my life,” she said. “Ultimately I plan to fuse my passion for dance and journalism by perusing a public relations career in the performing arts industry after graduation.”

Wilburn is a journalism major with an emphasis in public relations. When she came across this internship she thought of it as the perfect way to combine her two life passions: dance and PR. She has been dancing since she was 4-years-old and it has always been a dream of hers to go to New York City.

Aside from staying active and physically fit, dance to most people is a way of life; To Shelby, this activity of moving gracefully and strategically to the beat of her own heart is something much more.

“Dancing is a culmination of the words and emotions I can’t outwardly express,” she said. “Those days when I feel sad or defeated, I can spend hours in a studio and leave feeling worry-free. It’s the idea that you express everything you want to without a single word.”

Wilburn is among many students who are part of the Dance Co-Op, a club on campus that helps dancers stay informed about opportunities and events within the Reno arts community. As she spoke about this group and the bond they share, the corners of her mouth moved up into a smile.

“We’re a family,” she said. “We all share a common passion for dance and it brings us together as a unit of support. The relationships and connections I’ve established through the dance co-op have helped shape the person I am.”

Friends and colleagues of Shelby share a positive impression of her personality and drive to succeed. One friend and former member of the Dance Co-op says Shelby is the epitome of determination and motivation.

“Shelby does not place limitations on her goals and aspirations,” said Ann Davis. “She works and dreams in the direction of the life she has always wished for and her passion for dance is immediately recognizable with her apparent investment of time toward technique and captivating grace.”

Davis has known and danced with her for more than a year. She said that in addition to Shelby’s ambition, she never deviates from her kind, endearing nature. Her favorite memory of Shelby is her handing out homemade bracelets to all of the dancers participating in the 2012 Dance Co-op and each with a thoughtful, individual letter

Todd Felts, journalism professor, shares similar observations about Wilburn.

“Shelby is one of the most poised students I have ever taught,” Felts said. “She will fit right in with the New York culture with no question.”

Wilburn credits her parents, friends, family, and even her school for her current and past accomplishments. She said by surrounding herself with encouraging and inspiring people over the years she has learned a lot about who she is. Her environment and the people around her have helped shape the person, the student and the dancer she has become.

“Being at UNR has shown me what I was meant to do,” Shelby said. “From my first day in journalism, to that first dance audition, I feel like everything fell into place. Learning in such great environments, with teachers who have such amazing insight has been life-changing.”

Some people may look at her life and ask themselves, why does she make herself so busy? Why does she put so much on her plate? These answers truly come from her inspirations and her support system.

“My mother always told me,” she started.“Never define yourself by what other people think you are capable of. Establish your own goals and define yourself through your own actions. And from that I’ve just told myself that end result is always worth it. And the end result is simply being happy, which I find most important.”

If you would like to help make this opportunity possible and donate to Shelby’s trip, read about her internship or keep up with her and her summer adventures visit her website at http://wilburnshelby.wix.com/newyorkbound.

By Katie Hippert

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