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BWW Blog: To Be More Than Just What Is...

An introduction to David, a ballet major who does theatre.

BWW Blog: To Be More Than Just What Is...

I, David Wilson Michael Lopena, believe that if you are going to do something, do it with your whole heart. Why limit your ability to only do what's inside the box, when you could open it and explore the endless possibilities.

Coming from a big city like Chicago, I was always surrounded by art. Whether it was theatre, visual arts, creative writing, or dance, there was creative energy coming from every corner. Being able to witness this community of artist and performers is where I recognized my passion for performing. I began training at The Joffrey Ballet and attended the Chicago High School for the Arts where I dove into my dance training and also realized my love for Musical Theatre. But I was unsure of how I could do both. Do I go off to college and study dance? or do I major in Musical Theatre?

So, when the time came to audition for colleges, I was still unsure, but I knew I had to find "the perfect" university that would allow me to become the performer I am today. That "perfect" university came to be University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music (CCM).

CCM is where I realized that I can be more than just a ballet dancer who loves theatre, but be a ballet dancer who does theatre. I asked myself, "why just do ballet when I am in an environment that gives me the access to do more and be more?" I mean we all know that CCM is known to be one of the top universities in the country to be represented on Broadway. But apart from that, I am at a university where I am training to be a performer. I just have to put in the work to be the performer I want to be. To be well rounded and allow myself to dive into the art form and soak up every information I can get.

"You get out of it, what you put into it" and what I have put in is nothing but hard work and dedication. Putting in those extra hours to enhance my technique, taking those extra classes to learn more, using extra studio space to explore and see what I am capable of doing as an artist.

BWW Blog: To Be More Than Just What Is... I as a ballet major have responsibilities to my department; I must complete four years of daily ballet and modern training, audition and rehearse for our semester concerts while attending to my other academic requirements. But with that, I have put in the extra time to get the education I need to become just as successful in theatre. With the help of dance department chair Shauna Steele and musical theatre faculty Kathleen Johannigman I have been able to gear my education towards the direction I want to be on.

Within these three years of my education, I have been able to take voice lessons, dig deeper into my dance training, learn how to tap, get myself into an acting class, and audition for summer stocks. Even booked Porthouse Theatre's West Side Story, but sadly had to be postponed due to the outstanding conditions of the global pandemic.

I am so excited to be sharing more about training at a college level, my experiences at CCM, and my overall perspective on life as a performing artist in future blog post. I will leave you with these words, open that box and explore the endless possibilities. Make your college experience worth while, by making sure you get out everything you put into it. These four years are preparation for the professional world, make it your own and go big.


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From This Author Student Blogger: David Lopena