WSU grad dances her way into a career in Los Angeles
For 2007 Wichita State graduate Shauna Martinez, the drive to dance started when she was only 3.
Now 27, Martinez works as a performer and rehearsal director with Diavolo Dance Theater in Los Angeles, Calif. Diavolo tours across the United States and world, dancing and teaching through educational and community outreach programs.
While a dance major at WSU, Martinez gained valuable experience participating in events that helped her learn what life in the real world of her desired career would be. She also made valuable contacts that helped her get where she is today.
“This experience definitely made my career transition easier and more successful,” Martinez said.
Born in Austin, TX, and raised in Derby, Kan., Martinez was an active child, competing for Folger’s Gymnastics in Wichita (now located in Andover) and eventually becoming an All American cheerleader for Wichita State.
And as part of the university dance program, Martinez choreographed a student piece for the American College Dance Festival Association, which was chosen to close the evening of the gala performance – a high honor for Martinez.
With the performing dance company at Wichita State, she traveled and performed nationally and internationally.
“We went out of the state and out of the country touring,” she said. “It let me figure out what types of stresses to prepare for in traveling and performing with a large group. It also let me know what my strengths are with a group setting like that.”
Martinez – who is accomplished in ballet, modern dance, jazz, mime and hip hop – does a lot of touring now, too, with Diavolo. She joined the group in 2009 and was chosen as one of only 10 dancers out of a field of 2,000 people.
Martinez credits her time at WSU and the experience she got outside of the classroom for the life she enjoys now. And when she can, she tries to give back.
“The intimacy of my program at Wichita State is the reason I stayed so motivated, and love coming back to teach and share my experiences.”