Diane Newman Alumni Award - Happendance

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2018 Diane Newman Award for Distinguished Alumni Honoree Julianne VanWagenen
Julianne VanWagenen started dancing at Happendance [then I think it was the Newman Dance School/Foundation, right?] in 1987, at the age of 3. She graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelors of Arts in English and Italian in 2006 and then spent 5 years in Rome, Italy, where she attended university and taught language. In 2011, Julianne began a doctoral program in Italian Studies as Harvard University, graduating in May, 2017, and she now lives and teaches in Los Angeles, California, as a lecturer in Italian at the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. Julianne has lived in Chicago; Rome, Italy; Santiago, Chile; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Los Angeles, California; and no matter where she goes, she dances. She has found that the training she received at Happendance has prepared her to dance with any school, no matter the caliber, even with the likes of Joffrey dancers at Ruth Page in Chicago, or for Tai Jimenez and Yury Yanowsky of the Boston Ballet.
2017 Diane Newman Award for Distinguished Alumni Honoree Nick Rehberger
Nick Rehberger studied at Happendance School during his high school studies at Haslett High School and graduated in 2009. This summer he makes his Chicago debut at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as Will Shakespeare in Shakespeare In Love. His Broadway credits include: The Glass Menagerie, directed by John Tiffany; and Fiddler on the Roof, directed by Bartlett Sher. Film credits include: I Am Michael. Television credits include; Girls (HBO), The Deuce (HBO), and Gotham (FOX). Mr. Rehberger received his BFA in musical theatre from Carnegie Mellon University in 2013.

In accepting this award, Mr. Rehberger had this to say:
"Wow! Thank you for thinking of me for this award! It really means a lot. Of course, I am completely honored to accept it. Although I am always working on improving my dance technique, I know that the dance training I had in high school at Happendance prepared me to be less afraid to dive into the very intense movement and dance classes I took in college. From there, I had no fear to seek out productions with a strong physical life. Thank You!
2015 Diane Newman Award for Distinguished Alumni Honoree Christine Hill-Kayser
Christine Hill-Kayser is a graduate of East Lansing High School, and danced at the Happendance School from ages 9 -18. After a year at Tisch School of the Arts as a dance major, she enrolled at the University of Michigan and then at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, from which she received her MD in 2005. Chrissie completed her medical training in Radiation Oncology and joined the Penn Faculty in 2010. She now spends her time taking care of pediatric cancer patients, with special research focus on survivorship issues for patients who have completed active cancer care. She is the Chief of the Pediatric Radiation Oncology Service and the Editor-in-Chief of OncoLink, a cancer information website, at the University of Pennsylvania. In both of these roles, she travels around the world teaching others about cancer survivorship and the role of a new technology, proton therapy, in improving quality of life for patients who require radiation for cancer. She lives in Philadelphia and continues taking dance classes at Koresh School of Dance, sometimes alone, but more often with her three year old daughter, Mabel. She reminds Mabel of a lesson that she keeps in her heart from Diane Newman – “whatever you do, always do your very best.” This message has stood Chrissie in good stead through both dance and medical training, as well as in daily life, and is one never to forget.
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