By Mariat Thankachan
On the journey of discovering passions and life aspirations, numerous MSMS students find themselves interested in the prospect of creating their own business. Questions on how they should take the risky leap and what processes they should follow down the path of entrepreneurship circle the young, creative minds. An informative seminar featuring MSMS Class of 2012 alumna, Ellice Patterson, proved invaluable to students looking to gain more insight into the world of business.
Students flocked into Shackleford Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 14 to attend Patterson’s seminar, where she described her experiences with establishing Abilities Dance in Boston. This developing company focuses on implementing modern choreography into dance and encourages individuals with physical disabilities to express themselves with the aid of creative movement.
Dr. Kayla Hester, MSMS Economics instructor, explains that the seminar gave students an opportunity to have their questions answered and be inspired by the accomplishments of a member of the MSMS family.
“The purpose was to basically bring in an MSMS alum who has become an entrepreneur and let her talk about her experience and allow the students to potentially see themselves as doing something like that in the future and seeing that as something that’s very feasible,” Hester stated.
Patterson began working towards building her company after enduring a spinal operation that left her relearning how to move her body. With music specially composed to fit the style of her dancers, she puts effort into ensuring that dance is professionally accessible to all, even those with physical limitations. Patterson shared pieces of her choreography with the students, responding to inquiries while twirling around barefoot on the floors of Shackleford.
Junior Lori Feng comments on the ways she found time with Patterson to be impactful.
“It was really inspiring to see someone from MSMS be able to start something so successful. It shows that we all can truly succeed and we just need to follow through with our aspirations. I learned about the process of starting a new business, which I found was particularly insightful because I am also interested in starting my own social enterprise in the future,” Feng expressed.
Abilities Dance has been growing under Patterson’s care for nearly two years, securing studios for practice and seeking investors for grants. This innovative dance company seeks to one day become a non-profit organization, producing dance shows that inspire and suit dancers of all abilities.