Saneshige performing the Black Swan pas de deux with Cincinnati Ballet's Patric Palkens. Photo by Will Brenner. Courtesy CCM.

A Day in the Life of a Dance Major: Kiahna Saneshige, University of Cincinnati

Pointe caught up with three college dancers last spring to see what it's like juggling ballet, academics and a social life on campus. Here's Kiahna Saneshige, a student at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati getting her BFA in dance with a minor in communications.

Saneshige posing with friends in CCM's dance studios. Photo Courtesy Saneshige.

When Kiahna Saneshige attended Cincinnati Ballet's summer intensive after her junior year of high school, she knew she wanted a professional career but wasn't sure joining a company after graduation would completely satisfy her. "The RAs were all University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music students, and they gave me the rundown of what the school was like," she recalls. "It's known for the excellent quality of its dancers, plus I could have the social life of college and the chance to pursue another degree besides dance." Saneshige, who graduated from CCM in May, says the last four years were challenging but couldn't have prepared her better for her next step: a position with Columbus Dance Theatre.


9:05–10:35 am: Limón technique, an especially good bridge for ballet dancers transitioning to contemporary styles. Saneshige, who lives in a studio apartment five minutes from campus, gets up around 8 and has breakfast (coffee, fruit and yogurt) en route to class.

11:15 am–1:45 pm: Ballet and pointe technique. "We're usually on a three-week rotation between different instructors," Saneshige says. "CCM also brings in a lot of guest choreographers and master teachers, which gives us a chance to network." When Columbus Dance Theatre director Tim Veach taught earlier this year, Saneshige expressed interest in his company. After inviting her to take company class over spring break, he offered her a job.


Pre-class selfie. Photo Courtesy Saneshige.

1:45–2:35 pm: Lunch break. Saneshige brings nuts, fruit or a smoothie to keep her fueled throughout the day. "There are lots of amazing ethnic restaurants near campus, so I'll grab ramen or curry if I have extra time," she adds.

2:35–3:30 pm: Partnering class or rehearsal

3:30–5:15 pm: Rehearsals. CCM students perform several times a year, and also have the chance to choreograph on their peers and showcase their work. "I love having every aspect of the performing arts together in one building," she says. "Each production we do is a collaboration of costume design, wig, makeup, lighting and sound design students."


Saneshige in costume for Roger van Fletersen's "unRAVELed." Photo Courtesy Saneshige.

6–8:50 pm: Academics. With so much of the day spent in the studio, Saneshige chooses to take some of her academics (like dance history, integrated media and medieval history) online. "For a lot of us, online is the best option, but you have to be extremely self-disciplined. There's no one on top of you to tell you when to get things done!"

Saneshige also worked one night a week at the campus Starbucks and a weekend shift at a local sushi restaurant. "Everything lined up with what I needed," she says. "I experienced everything a college student would, while getting prepared for a professional career."

Want more? Check out a day in the life of Butler University's Elizabeth Abbick and Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at the University of Southern California's Jackie Schiffner.

Latest Posts


Courtesy Tiler Peck

Tiler Peck's Top 10 Tips for Training at Home

On March 15, New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck announced to her 172,000-plus Instagram followers that she'd be teaching a live class from her family's home in Bakersfield, California, where she's currently waiting out COVID-19. Little did she know that she'd receive such a viral response. Since then, Peck has offered daily Instagram LIVE classes Monday through Friday at 10 am PST/1 pm EST, plus an occasional Saturday class and Sunday stretch/Pilates combo. "The reaction was just so overwhelming," she says. "These classes are keeping me sane, and giving me something to look forward to."

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Burmann working with Wendy Whelan at Steps. Photo by Kyle Froman.

Remembering Iconic Steps Teacher Wilhelm "Willy" Burmann

Over the last 36 years, scores of dancers passed through Wilhelm Burmann's studio doors at Steps on Broadway in New York City. Burmann, who went by "Willy," welcomed everyone—from huge dance stars to young students with huge dreams. He also welcomed adult students seeking to improve their technique and even students just taking ballet class for exercise.

On Tuesday, March 31, he died of renal failure after his treatment was complicated by the coronavirus, and the dance world lost a beloved teacher and coach.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi Everyone,

These are challenging times. The social distancing measures brought about by COVID-19 has likely meant that your regular ballet training has been interrupted, while your performances, competitions—even auditions—have been cancelled. You may be feeling anxious about what the future holds, not only for you but for the dance industry. And that's perfectly understandable.

As you adjust to taking virtual ballet class from your living rooms, we here at Pointe are adjusting to working remotely from our living rooms. We've had to get a little creative, especially as we put our Summer Issue together, but like you we're taking full advantage of modern technology. Sure, it's a little inconvenient sometimes, but we're finding our groove.

And we know that you will, too. We've been utterly inspired by how the dance community has rallied together, from ballet stars giving online classes to companies streaming their performances to the flood of artist resources popping up. We've loved watching you dance from your kitchens. And we want to help keep this spirit alive. That's why Pointe and all of our Dance Media sister publications are working nonstop to produce and cross-post stories to help you navigate this crisis. We're all in this together.

We also want to hear from you! Send us a message on social media, or email me directly at abrandt@dancemedia.com. Tell us how you're doing, send us your ideas and show us your dance moves. Let the collective love we share for our beloved art form spark the light at the end of the tunnel—we will come out the other side soon enough.

Best wishes,

Amy