200 Days in the Life of the College

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Dance student rocks, and vice versa

By Alyssa White ’11

Growing up with a family name that begins with Z means being last in line for all things alphabetical. And, indeed, Claire Zurlo ’14 finds her name at the tail end of a Hamilton directory that includes students, faculty and staff. Yet Zurlo’s confident posture and articulate speech show that she’s not last in line for much else. The Hershey, Pa., native arrives at Hamilton this fall passionate about both dance and geology — and when it comes to embracing those pursuits, she leads the way.

Zurlo can’t imagine not dancing. “It’s part of me,” she says, proving her point by leaning forward and gesturing gracefully with her hands. “I put my emotions into it.” As she begins just her second month on the Hill, she has already made the dance team and is practicing for a Family Weekend performance with her Contemporary Dance class.

Zurlo says she’s also thought of herself as a scientist since seventh grade. With her current courses in geology and chemistry soon behind her, she’s enthusiastic about tackling independent scientific research in the second semester. Zurlo appreciates the logic that it will involve — especially when it leads to discovery.

Though she hasn’t decided which of her passions will become her college major, it seems likely she’ll learn a lot more about art, science and herself as she figures that out. She calls dance and science “a relatively weird combination.” Yet the poise with which she describes both her chemistry research project and her role in December’s upcoming Choreographer’s Showcase commands attention. That makes Zurlo’s synthesis of scientific logic and performance artistry seem as natural as ABC.