Alumni Spotlight: Misa Oga

19 October 2018 Published in News and Announcements
Amanda Kim photography Amanda Kim photography

We spoke with Ballet Program Alumn, Misa Oga about her experience at the U and life after graduation.

When did you graduate from the U?

Which Program were you in?

What have you done since graduation?
The biggest thing that I have done since graduation is opening a ballet studio, MOGA Conservatory of Dance, in North Salt Lake. I teach dancers of all ages from age 2 to adults. 

What are you up to now?
As a studio owner, I stay busy :) My everyday consists of teaching, choreographing, as well as coaching and staging works. This year, I was awarded the “Outstanding Teacher” award at Youth America Grand Prix 2018. I love traveling to New York every year to attend the YAGP Finals, as well as the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum Intensives. I am an ABT Certified Teacher (Pre-Primary through Level 5). In 2017, I was honored to be the teacher for the Pre-Primary through Level 3 demonstration classes for the ABT NTC Training in Salt Lake City.    

I am also currently a grad student in the MFA ballet program. I truly enjoy learning, having the opportunity to teach the beautiful dancers at the School of Dance, and researching! Just recently, I presented my research at National Dance Educators Organization (NDEO) conference in San Diego, CA. Presentation title: "Connecting history and pedagogy: Vaganova's vision for neoclassicism and dancer empowerment".

Since graduating from the BFA program, I have gotten married—My husband supports and encourages me in all that I do, and he is my best friend! I also have a dog, Kota, who is a cute little companion. In the summer time, we go stand up paddle boarding together, and he rides on the front of the board.

What was the most valuable thing you learned from your time at the School of Dance?
I learned many valuable things during my time in the Ballet Program. From the everyday ballet classes, to the academic courses, rehearsal processes, and the abundant performing experiences, I feel that it was a perfect environment in cultivating effective skills in my career and as an individual. As Alonzo King eloquently articulates, “Dance training can’t be separate from life training. Everything that comes into our lives is training. The qualities we admire in great dancing are the same qualities we admire in human beings: honesty, courage, fearlessness, generosity, wisdom, depth, compassion, and humanity.”  I learned important skills such as time management, setting goals, accomplishing these goals, and overcoming challenges. Every experience that I had as a student, enriched my life as a dancer, teacher, and as an individual.

 What do you wish you had known as a student?
As a perfectionist, like many other dancers, I wish I had known that it is okay to NOT be perfect. Sometimes the stress of making mistakes, showing weakness, or simply being concerned about what others think, could distract me from my learning, experiences, and interactions. Now, I feel that all individual experiences are meaningful for learning!  It is beautiful to share your experiences, be confident for what you believe, commit to lifelong learning, and explore new things and ideas!       

How did your time at the U support your career?
The wonderful individuals that I met and friends that I made during my time at the U, have been the most treasured gifts to me. I had wonderful professors that encouraged me, opened doors to my career, and sparked my passion for learning, teaching, and research. They taught me so much about ballet pedagogy, and their knowledgeable examples live in my teaching everyday! I feel very grateful to be back as a graduate student with incredible mentors and professors who inspire me daily. It is wonderful to make these lasting connections and I feel so lucky and humbled to be part of a beautiful community of dancers, teachers, and scholars.