Southeast alumnus Chance Hill of Saint Robert, Mo., is flying high with Royal Caribbean Cruise line.
A dancer, Chance has accepted a job doing aerial work with the company.
“Now I’m an aerialist and a dancer,” Chance says. “I have been on ‘the legend of the seas,’ but currently am going to the vision of the seas. I get to travel and dance which was my dream to begin with. I have been to so many destinations that I probably wouldn’t have been to without this job like Montenegro, Rome, Costa Rica and Portugal.”
An aerialist is a performing artist that performs in high spaces off the ground. Chance and the other aerialists use several different apparatuses, including, but not limited to, silks, bungees, two point harnesses, and various different shapes. The performers dance on these or on these apparatuses high in the air, usually at 60 feet or higher.
As part of his training, Chance completed strength training to gain the proper muscles to maintain his balance in the sky, as well as learning the routines and dance numbers for his ship.
“Training never stops. As a matter a fact, I am in training right now for the next ship. Training lasts a week and is intense,” Chance says.
Safety is paramount to an aerialist.
“Every job has dangers but when you’re working at these heights safety is an absolutely important part if the work,” he says.
The aerialists wear safety belts and people observe them they dance looking for specific things that should be in specific places, to ensure they are not in danger.
Safety plays a part in conditioning, since he practices high in the air.
“We learn and condition using the proper safety for heights that are much higher than in our studios. So it’s pretty safe but who isn’t a little afraid heights,” he says.
Despite the dangers related to his job, he enjoys it.
“It’s an adrenaline rush every time we perform and it is so much fun. Our bodies are constantly being challenged and that’s how we know we are doing it right.
“The first time I performed I just felt an intense feeling of joy because I was finally able to complete each movement and make it look effortless,” Chance says.
Chance, who had never danced before arriving at Southeast, first attended the University with a desire to pursue either dentistry or child psychology. He says he knew Southeast was considered excellent for both and also offered an affordable program, so he selected the University.
While in the decision-making process, he selected a dance class as a freshman and discovered his passion. Attending his first technical dance class is his favorite Southeast memory.
“Southeast provided such a diverse environment that I had so many other options,” he says. “I think I learned at Southeast to try so many different things and it surely has paid off because I have traveled the world in less than a year after graduation by accepting a job that was different, just like changing my major way back during my freshman year.”
He is based in St. Louis, but says he plans to move to a larger city with more opportunities for a career in dance.
“I’m heading back to Florida for rehearsals” soon, he said. “After that, I plan to audition around and see what other opportunities there are out there.”
Chance graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from Southeast. While at the University, he leaped at the opportunity to perform in numerous productions in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast’s River Campus, including “Indigo,” “Lazing by the Seaside” and “Denim is What You Wear” from the dance showcase, “Spring into Dance.”
“I found something I love and will do for the rest of my life,” he said.
His future plans include traveling to Stuttgart, Germany, where he was born, to dance.
“They actually have a marvelous ballet company,” Chance says, referring to the Stuttgart Ballet. “It was like dance and Chance were meant to be.”
He encourages students to “get involved with whatever you can. There are so many opportunities at Southeast, and you just have to take them. Don’t settle for anything.”