ASU graduate leads life of professional dance

When Jordan Kriston graduated from ASU with a dance performance degree in 2006, she set off on her path as a professional dancer and has come a long way since.

Nearly a decade later, Kriston has become a professional dancer working with organizations such as Movement Source Dance Company of Phoenix and Pilobolus.

Mary Fitzgerald, who co-directed the the community-based dance company Dance Arizona Repertory Theater (DART), worked with Kriston while she attended ASU.

“Jordan is a rare gem and I am thrilled that she has continued to grow on so many levels as an artist and human being,” Fitzgerald said. “Her commitment to this process raised the caliber of the repertory and inspired other students to push themselves as performers and collaborators.”

Mary Anne Herding, a founding member of the Movement Source Dance Company, said Kriston's talent stems from her focus.

“I have known Jordan for 15 years,” Herding said. “She is focused and creates work with depth -- tapping into each dancer's strength and amplifying it.”

Kriston has always been active, playing basketball, softball, volleyball, swimming and doing gymnastics. As a child, she vigorously pursued outdoor activities such as climbing trees, biking and hiking, but through it all, she said she always loved dance.

“Dancing teaches me about myself every day,” Kriston said.

Kriston took dance as an elective in high school, but took the art form more seriously once she came to ASU as she learned what it was like to train, work and dance for a professional company.

“I was in the dance company DART during my time at ASU,” Kriston said. “We got exposed to guest artists from around the globe, and got many experiences of different ways of moving.”

These experiences helped her to prepare for life as a professional dancer after she graduated.

“We talked about auditions, making a living while trying to become a professional, how to make a resume and expose yourself to companies of interest, ways to stay in shape while auditioning — all things that I actually applied to my life” Jordan said.

Dancing keeps Kriston on the road for 6-8 months of the year because she practices eight hours a day, five days a week, year-round, performing on stage between 110 and 130 times.

“I love the physicality of the work,” Kriston said. “With that comes emotional endurance."

Kriston said she enjoys the hard work, performances and traveling because it creates a sense of community among her and the other dancers while building teamwork and trust.

"To accomplish the movements requires vulnerability and trust, because we are literally holding one another up," Kriston said. "We couldn't do the things we do alone; we wholeheartedly depend on each other.”

Kriston is thankful for her zigzagging path to dance and said she wouldn't be who she is without finding her passion.

“Everything happened exactly the way it should," Kriston said.

Dancing has a deep emotional connection for Kriston, which she said allows her to connect every time she goes on stage and explore who she is as a person.

“I have to reach deeply into my psyche to find different emotions and feelings to express onstage,” Kriston said. “For me, I don't make up a character on stage. I take a little piece of myself, something that already exists that I have a reference to...and I expand and flourish in that little piece of truth.”

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