Congrats 2021 Dance Award Recipients

2021 SOMD Dance Award Recipients

Outstanding Performance

A student who has participated in a breadth of dance choreographies within the Dance Department and the broader community, demonstrates technical prowess and expression on stage, is a mature collaborator and positive community-builder in rehearsal and onstage.  

Makena Cavarozzi (she/her) 
Double Major in Dance and Sociology with a Minor in Media Studies

A fun fact about me is I was named after Makena beach in Maui. I started dancing at Calabasas Academy of Dance located in Los Angeles, California when I was 10 years old.

My fondest memory at SOMD is participating in the Faculty Concerts and getting to work with my peers and amazing choreographers.

My advice would be to be a sponge and absorb every bit of information or advice you get from professors in the dance department, it is priceless and you won't get it forever.


Ari LaMora (they/them)
Dance Major with a Minor in Anthropology

I began dancing at the age of 6 and continued my training at All That! Dance Co. here in Eugene, OR. My fondest memory would be dancing alongside my peers every day for the last two years. The connection, support, and love I’ve found within the department is something that I will forever cherish and be grateful for.

After graduation, I will be moving to San Francisco to use my movement and voice to engage with communities about social justice and human rights.

My advice for future students is to say “yes” to things that you normally wouldn’t. Take advantage of the opportunities presented to you here, but know your own boundaries around time management and energy expenditure.

Outstanding Leader

Demonstrates leadership qualities and skills that support all students in their learning, participation, and sense of connection. Actively contributes to the Dance Department community as a faculty/student liaison.  

Claire Sparks (she/her/hers) 
Double Major in Political Science and Dance with a Minor in Food Studies

A fun fact about me is I’ve had a smoothie every single morning for breakfast for the past 3 years!

I began dancing in Portland at a studio named Portland Festival Ballet, with the artistic director John Magnus. When he passed, I trained with some other people but ultimately went to Bodyvox before heading to UO.

Without a doubt, my fondest memory in the UO Dance department was performing at the 2020 Spring Gala at ACDA! It was such an incredible feeling being on that stage especially with the world changing so fast due to COVID.

A word of advice for returning undergraduate Dance students is to get involved! If you want to see change, leave a legacy and find community at the UO to get involved! Also, say yes to every opportunity that comes your way, you never know where that might take you!

Milaan Moses (she/her/hers)
Major in Popular Music Studies with a Minor in Dance 

A fun fact about me is at one point in my life I could list every dog breed acknowledged by the AKC, which is well over 300. Still to this day, if I see a dog on a walk, chances are I can tell you what it is. 

My fondest memory in the UO Dance Department would have to be taking hip-hop with Eileen King. Her class always made me feel so empowered as both a dancer and as an individual. After graduation, I hope to eventually work towards a master’s degree in musical theatre and pursue a performance career in theatre arts/commercial dance. My word of advice for returning undergraduate dance students is to first find your voice and then scream it. Your truth and what you have to offer are important. If that means being different then so be it. Live in the awkward, take comfort in it, and then start again.

Transformation Award

Recognizes  students who embody the courage and determination to take risks in the pursuit of dance and demonstrate tremendous individual growth, becoming dancers who poetically reflect qualities of humanity.  

Amber Jade Noel (she/they) 
Major in Dance with a Minor in Philosophy 

A fun fact about me is I can play 6 different instruments! 

I began dancing in Benton, Illinois at age five. I started out with ballet and tap and eventually moved on to competition studio dance and varsity dance with jazz, lyrical, and hip-hop. 

My fondest memory of the Dance department was the time I attended the American College Dance Association in the winter of 2020 in Spokane, WA, the week before we went into lockdown. I had never felt so close to my classmates and my professors. 

Some advice for returning undergraduate dancers is to never limit or underestimate yourself based on what you think other people think of you. You’re capable of so much more than you can even imagine! 

After graduation, I hope to keep taking as many dance classes as I can, and then audition for AXIS Dance Company next spring! 

Academic Achievement

Extraordinary achievement in academics demonstrated in GPA average and outstanding performance in all areas of study within the dance curriculum. 

Dimitra Fellman (she/her/hers) 
Major in Biology with Minors in Global Health and Dance

I began dancing in White Plains, New York at the age of 3 at the Steffi Nossen School of Dance.

My fondest memory in the UO Dance department was performing in Sarah Ebert’s piece in the Faculty Concert this year. Rehearsals were always such a fun creative process that brought out so much joy when everyone needed it! A word of advice for returning undergraduate Dance students is to take every opportunity you have to perform, whether it be in the faculty or student concerts, or with DEMA!



Outstanding Dance Minor

Vivian Vu (she/her/hers)
Major in Theatre Arts with Minors in Dance and Anthropology

A fun fact about me is I work for the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) as an instructor and I’m a certified OSAA Performative Cheer Judge. 

I think my interest in dance started when I was in 2nd grade when my crush was a break-dancer. I would watch videos and try to copy them to impress my crush. I never had any formal training. My fondest memory in the UO Dance department was when I was doing soundboard for the Fall concert and there was a dead cockroach on the floor under the bench next to me. I named him Jeremy. We got to know each other, he’s a good guy:). After graduation, I hope to continue dancing and expanding my knowledge of singing, acting, and stunt work. My biggest, wildest dream is to be in a Marvel movie... so who knows?! We’ll see.