Baruch freshman balances taking 6 courses with dancing and teaching
In the Baruch College classroom, she goes by Lauren Farrugia — but when the curtains come up she transforms into Lucy Patrick of the Ajkun Ballet Theatre. Patrick, 23, was introduced to the world of dance in kindergarten. While she began with one basic class a week, as her love grew for the art, so did the room for it in her schedule, and she soon advanced to five or six sessions a week, attending up to two classes some days.
Originally from Australia, Patrick came to New York City hoping to pursue her dreams of dancing professionally. “It was such a daunting thought, but right away I just fell in love with the city. I fell in love with the dance culture and I just knew that this is where I needed to be,” she said.
As a freshman, Patrick balances six classes but still manages time to fit in a ballet class between periods. After political science, she squeezes in an hour and a half class before returning to her last subject of the day: math.
While for many, juggling a complete course load and a full-time career is a difficult feat, Patrick carefully integrates dance into her schedule, making room for downtime, academics and social interaction. Though it can often be draining to come home from a full day of school and rehearsal, her love for the art drives a fierce motivation to persevere, despite any hardships of the day.
What separates Patrick from many others in the artistic field is her intense desire to not just be dancing, but to be teaching and educating on safe dance practices to help empower a new generation of ballerinas. Patrick works with the New York Institute of Dance & Education, which helps dancers be aware of their specific body types in order to safely execute the routine, specific to each individual's physical capabilities.
Patrick is also associated with Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre. Under the same owner as NYIDE, the mission of Kaleidoscope is to empower people of all colors, shapes, classes and sizes through the art of dance. Patrick recalls one of her favorite performances at Kaleidoscope, Sisters, an eight-woman show that uses ballet to translate each individual's personality onto the stage.
As a team, they build off one another and synchronize the disparity of their movements to create a sense of unity in both the physical production and in their symbolic representation of the idea that women need to disregard differences for a greater goal.
“The amazing thing about dance is that we do it every day. Life happens. Some days you're in a good mood. Some days not. But it’s my way of expressing myself in ways that words can’t,” Patrick said. For Patrick, dance is more than just a creative outlet. It is a way of compiling all of her emotions throughout the day and articulating them through movement. To Patrick, dance is an art form because a little bit of herself is put into every one of the productions.
When she steps onto the stage, all the problems of the day slowly disappear and nothing else matters except for that moment.