Onstage or in the classroom, senior Nicole Bergamo sets her mind on perfecting her skills with the creative and critical thinking that she harmoniously blends together as both a dancer and student. As a psychology major and dance studies and human development double minor, Bergamo spends her time combining her love for science and dance through performance and psychology extracurricular activities. Since the beginning of her freshman year, Bergamo has been an active member in dance ensembles across campus, including Knightline, Geneseo Dance Ensemble and Orchesis. She’s also the department representative for Psychology Club and a lab coordinator for a research lab in the psychology department.
Bergamo explained that her mother put her in dance classes at Tawn Marie’s Dance Center in her hometown of Liverpool, New York when she was three years old. After that, she couldn’t escape her love for dance. She tried sports, but after her parents saw her “dancing up and down the court,” they knew she belonged in dance shoes.
From there, her talent brought her to a myriad of dance competitions; winning the 12 & under Grand Champion for the 2004 Rochester Dance Championships for her first tap duet, Teen Miss Sophisticated in 2010 and Junior Miss Sophisticated in 2011 and 2012 for solos she performed at the Sophisticated Dance Competition in Syracuse. Bergamo noted, however, that the transfer from competition to college dance is “such a shift.”
“In a competition, it’s all about showmanship and performance and how many tricks that you can do,” she said. “[College dance is] modern and not how many turns you can do … the movement or the feeling behind the movement and more thinking about what you’re doing rather than ... just going out on stage and performing and getting the gold.”
Although she claims each dance ensemble is different, Bergamo credited Knightline for allowing her to find most of her long-term friends and GDE for teaching her more about the art of dance. She added that one of her favorite performances was her jazz piece “Serendiptity” that was featured in GDE’s fall 2015 show “48 Live: Dancing on the Edge.” Bergamo was not only a choreographer, but also a student assistant director for the show.
Bergamo admitted that while she may not continue to pursue dance after college, it’s definitely something she wants to incorporate into her life. Bergamo is set to attend Michigan State University to get her Ph.D. in school psychology and to research Autism Spectrum Disorder to obtain her license as a school psychologist. “To incorporate dance movement in a classroom setting would be really cool,” she said. And for her, it wouldn’t be the first time she’s done it.
“Since [dance is only a] minor here, it’s not really something that has driven my career goals,” she said. “[But] teaching dance is always really cool as like a part-time job, so I’d love to incorporate that somehow.”
Although she may not continue dance outside of college, Bergamo emphasized that dance will always remain a very important part of her life. “[Dance has] surrounded me with ... really cool people that share the same passion ... It’s just provided me with more outside connections,” she said. “In terms of the way I think, I think dance has allowed me to think more creatively.” Bergamo added that she used to always consider herself as more of a “math” student, but dance has opened her mind to think both creatively and logically.
Whether she’s performing on stage or solving a problem, Bergamo has demonstrated that when she puts her mind to it, she can accomplish anything.