#IamUCI – Veronica Allen

UCI Dance major Veronica Allen (Photo: Steve Zylius/UCI)

Q&A with Class of 2023 graduate Veronica Allen, B.F.A. in dance performance

By Tom Vasich | UCI

Veronica Allen wasn’t born dancing; that didn’t start until she was 3 years old, and she hasn’t stopped yet. “It’s a passion,” she says. “It becomes a part of you.” Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Allen was drawn to UCI because of its reputation and closeness to Los Angeles and all the dance opportunities there. At UCI, she has blazed an admirable trail, taking part in a variety of department shows, including both virtual and live performances. Last year, Allen received the Donald McKayle Dance Scholarship and the Claire Trevor Society Scholarship – awards given to distinguished students for their talent and character. Most recently, she performed in “Soul Intelligence,” a hip-hop piece choreographed by assistant professor Cyrian Reed, and a restaging of Distinguished Professor Lar Lubovitch’s “Cryptoglyph.” Apart from her studies, Allen is a board member with the Bare Bones Dance Theater, a UCI student organization. While she has no concrete plans after graduation, the world will remain her stage, on which she will continue to dance. “I would say I gravitate more toward modern or contemporary dance, and hip-hop is super fun. Be a jack-of-all-trades – do a little bit of everything! That’s what’s so good about dance at UCI; we have that opportunity to do everything.”

Can you describe a time you felt most proud to be an Anteater?

A moment I felt most proud to be an Anteater was at our last dance department show, “Dance Visions 2023.” It was so rewarding being able to share our work with the audience and show just how much the department is achieving. The diversity in genre in this concert was so exciting to be a part of, and every moment – on and off the stage – was full of community, artistry and liveliness.

What are your plans after graduation?

I’m still unsure of my long-term plan post-graduation, but I’m currently auditioning for professional programs and companies, and I hope to be participating in one of those next year! This summer, I have plans to travel for intensives in both New York and Tennessee and will be furthering my training through technique and repertory work there.

“Veronica’s remarkable talent lies in her ability to transmit the power of the human experience through movement. Her clarity of presence, gentle determination and lush dancing make her a dynamic artist and wonderful collaborator. I’m excited to see how she’ll flourish in the dance field, build caring communities and transform the hearts of her audiences.”

– Charlotte Griffin, assistant professor of dance

What would be your dream role?

There aren’t many known or set roles for contemporary dancers commonly found in, say, ballets. It depends on what company you’re with and what project you’re currently working on. Because of this, I find work by the L.A. Contemporary Dance Company and choreographer Doug Varone so engaging and would love to have the chance to work with them.

Who has been your biggest influence at UCI?

I think my peers have been my biggest influence at UCI. The dance department is filled with such a diverse group of artists who are not only dedicated to their work but ambitious in connecting their passion to larger spaces. I have learned so much from them, including honesty, commitment and creativity, and they have all shaped my time at UCI immensely.

What advice would you give to your first-year self?

I would tell my first-year self to be more open to change. Coming into college, I thought I knew what path I wanted to take, but like many others, my plan changed so many times. It was really hard for me at first to have any uncertainty, but I would definitely say it has made my experience so much more enjoyable to just take it one step at a time and leave behind the idea of a linear trajectory.