When Megan Gregory (CWR ’23) was 2 years old, she took part in an experience that would shape her career goals: her first ballet class.
In the 20 years to follow, Gregory learned and performed dance styles ranging from jazz to lyrical, eventually enrolling at Case Western Reserve University’s College of Arts and Sciences to pursue advanced studies in her field. Here, she focused her undergraduate education on ballet, contemporary and modern-style dance while earning degrees in biology and dance.
Today, Gregory continues to hone her craft as a first-year graduate student on the Master of Arts degree track within the Department of Dance, where she assists with wardrobe maintenance and helps plan post-production receptions.
“I love the way that movement makes my mind and body come together to form my complete self,” Gregory said. “Without dance, I feel like there is a part of me that’s missing.”
This fall, she’ll also have the opportunity to play the role of Medea in the department’s production of Martha Graham’s “Cave of the Heart,” a famous piece inspired by the Greek tragedy centered around Jason, the Princess of Corinth and the Chorus.
As people nationwide prepare to celebrate National Day Dance this weekend—a day designed to encourage Americans of all ages to incorporate dance into their lives—The Daily sat down with Gregory to learn more about her passion for the artform. Read on to hear Gregory’s perspective as a dancer.
Answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
1. What led you to pursue dance at CWRU?
I initially enrolled at CWRU with the intention of solely following the pre-medicine track and majoring in biology. However, an injury that prevented me from finishing out my final dance season with my studio made me realize I wasn’t going to get through college without dance. My undergraduate experience in the Department of Dance influenced me to pursue a career in dance medicine, which I’m putting on hold as I focus on my own artistry as a dancer in graduate school.
2. What are some difficulties you experience as a dancer?
I’m the type of person who tries to do everything and desperately wants everything I produce to be perfect, so I often struggle with self-care as productions get closer and closer. I’m also working on not obsessing over how every movement looks in the mirror as I train and rehearse.
3. What do you enjoy most about attending CWRU?
I love being a part of our department because I’m able to engage with so many aspects of dance within the same degree program. I have the opportunity to learn about choreography, kinesiology, dance medicine, the intersection of dance and technology, how to teach dance, etc. as I progress through the program.
4. We understand CWRU is the first university to be allowed to perform “Cave of the Heart” outside of the Martha Graham company—how significant is this to you? What are you most looking forward to in this performance?
I was in utter shock when I heard that our department was granted the chance to perform this work since it’s never been done outside of the Graham company. It places both honor and responsibility on our shoulders to ensure that the work’s integrity is maintained.
I’m extremely excited to get out of my comfort zone and become Medea, a strong female character with a considerable amount of depth.
5. At CWRU, what is your favorite dance performance that you’ve participated in?
My favorite dance performance that I’ve participated in at CWRU has to be Springworks, which opened in March 2023. I had the honor of performing in two pieces (“À l’aube” and “Coup de Grâce” by Haiyan Chen and El-drick Aboagye) that had completely different movement qualities and motivations. It was a fun challenge switching from one to another during the show.