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"My classes have always been known to be athletic, diverse and designed to make you think quickly on your feet. I love to ignite passion, dig deep and demand performance quality. I am good at reading the energy of my classroom and being able to give the style that I feel best suits that day."

Kiki Lucas, assistant professor of dance

Point Park University alumna Kiki Lucas '99 begins her second year as an assistant professor of dance teaching Jazz, Composition and Entrepreneurship for the Arts.

Who or what inspired your passion for dance?

The answer to this question is absolutely not a one-word/person response. It began from my mother, recognizing my passion at a very young age; my Godmother Donna Grove, my first dance teacher; and Professor Emeritus Jodi Welch, one of my my strongest mentors.

I grew up idolizing the greats and classics, including Gregory Hines, Chita Rivera, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I also followed legends in the early convention circuits like Gus Giordano, Luigi Faccuito, Tom Ralabate and Andy Blankenbuehler. I absorbed myself in music, voice and the musical theatre world through my early years and my palette grew into choreography while in college at Point Park, opening my obsession even further.

I’m constantly inspired by the choreographic geniuses such as Bob Fosse, Crystal Pite, Robert Battle and Lar Lubovitch. There’s always been a sense of magic that comes over me when I’m in the presence of a great teacher/performer. I’ve always worked from that admiration and drive. I continue to love it more each day.

How do you incorporate your professional experience into the courses you teach at Point Park University?

Within my technique courses I am constantly aware of doing my best to educate these talented students in areas that I see weakness, and also by passing on lessons/mistakes that I may have made on my own journey. I am always attempting to fine tune things that I learned were so necessary along the way. I love encouraging skills that help in the audition process and pushing their comfort zones, all while encouraging creative thinking. In all of my courses I do my best to share not only my own professional experience with them, but to also bring professionals into the classroom that I feel would be beneficial guides for their futures.

As an alumna, what’s it like training the next generation of artists in the George Rowland White Performance Center?

I was here when Point Park was a college, and the experience that I had with teachers that molded my jazz path, such as the late Ron Tassone and Professor Emeritus Doug Bentz, were priceless. Susan Stowe jumpstarted my teaching career by hiring me for the International Summer Dance program, which also exposed me to the world of International teaching. I received a balance of performance opportunities, tough love, technique-filled classes and guidance from Point Park that I have never forgotten, and I hope to pass forward to many generations to come. I have always been proud to say that my foundations, my friendships, my failures and my pursuit to carve my own path started within these very walls, and I hope to mean as much to these students as my teachers have meant to me. Point Park has been a huge part of my heart and my accomplishments. Giving back and molding the next generation is the best full circle feeling I’ve ever had in my life.

What can a student expect in your classes?

My classes have always been known to be athletic, diverse and designed to make you think quickly on your feet. I love to ignite passion, dig deep and demand performance quality. I am good at reading the energy of my classroom and being able to give the style that I feel best suits that day.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I am so grateful to be a part of the creative team and choreographer of Pippin last semester at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, Point Park University closed and the students performed this show one time to a sold-out crowd. I learned so much through that experience and am more than grateful to be rebuilding the show for the 2020-21 season.

Pippin Highlight Reel


More About: international summer dance, faculty, Pittsburgh Playhouse, alumni, Conservatory of Performing Arts, George Rowland White Performance Center, guest artists, dance, jazz