Walnut Hill School for the Arts

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Alumni Spotlight: Carrie Nedrow '84
Alumni Spotlight: Carrie Nedrow '84

Carrie Nedrow chose to attend Walnut Hill starting her junior year because "it seemed like a solid middle ground between pre-professional training and a good education." She intended to manage her dance career goals while still finishing high school, as opposed to procuring a GED and starting work as an apprentice, as was a common practice at the time. "Little did I know what a great choice I was making," Carrie reflects. "I was blessed to have Penelope Pelton as my main ballet teacher and Ellen Sinopoli for modern dance. Those two 'got me' and took the time to dig past my own preconceived notions of dance and broaden my understanding of the art form." Carrie was given the opportunity to dance with Cleveland Ballet instead of returning to Walnut Hill for her senior year, but she turned down the offer. "Again, I was clueless as to what a blessing that choice would be. Ellen Sinopoli proposed I do an independent study program in choreography. She crafted a significant dance history syllabus combined with choreography theory, culminating in a senior dance performance. From Ellen, I was able to learn the tools of stagecraft and choreography to organize my chaotic ideas into dances."

After graduating, Carrie decided to attend the Juilliard School, despite being initially resistant to go to a conservatory. She felt incredibly well prepared for Juilliard, and notes that she was "so well armed with dance history and choreography" from her years at Walnut Hill that she was able to focus her energy on learning different dance forms. "Most of my classmates were learning about dance theory for the first time, whereas I had a full portfolio of knowledge at my fingertips," Carrie recalls. "That gave me a huge edge." After Juilliard, she enjoyed a career as a freelance dancer, all the while teaching modern and ballet for all levels of children, pre-professionals, adults, and pros.

After a knee injury, Carrie retired from the dance world, and today she works with Intuit Workforce Technology as the Director of Business Operations. "I love this work," says Carrie. "It involves a great deal of problem solving, mentoring peers and teams, as well as being an apprentice to some of the most impressive people I've ever known." She likens working in a corporate environment to being part of a ballet company, with its hierarchies and various elements working together as one: "As in any large theater, there are many players that must be considered to pull off a successful performance—the stagehands, electricians, orchestra, conductor, and other dancers. Performances do not happen by magic; they are tightly coordinated tasks with a broad overarching goal. This is exactly what a project of strategy is like for a company." Carrie posits that artists are uniquely prepared to work in a corporate setting, as "they understand the complexity and value of being dependent on others to deliver an exceptional artistic moment. No one does it on their own."