Manifest Spotlight: Ashlea Palafox ( MA '15)

Published on Apr 24, 2015

By Santiago Covarrubias ('16)

How did you find out about Columbia?

Prior to Columbia I was a professional dancer in New York. I danced for a modern company, and I met a dance therapist there, and that’s when I decided I wanted to be a dance therapist because I love people so much. I’ve always had a connection with people,I love relationships, and I always wanted to incorporate dance in my future besides just performing, it was a tough life, so when I met this dance therapist I though: Okay, Ive always been really interested in physiology, so this is a good combination of the two.

Were the classes what you expected?

The first year was very challenging because it is a therapy program, so we were thrown into a kind of a vulnerable state because we had to come to terms what we’re dealing with in our lives and how to cope with that and how we help others. So the first year was really though because it forced me to grow and expand, so that was actually pretty great. [It was] really just a self-reflection year.

The second year, this year, is our internship year, so it’s been more a mix of classes and field work.

How do you feel about Manifest?

I think it is a combination of creation. I think Manifest is a showcase, showcasing our evolution as students at Columbia. So we pour our whole being into our art, whatever that might be, and Manifest is like: Let’s celebrate this! What we’ve crated together.

Are you familiar with what happened last year with your program at the Masters Showcase?

Yes, we are doing the same thing this year, a research celebration. Each of us have to complete a thesis at the end of our graduate experience, which is kind of an individual poster representing our research study. It represents the work that we’ve been doing or that we’re about to do. I am really excited about people coming to ask about my study! Then we have a performance aspect that we do where individuals can create movement and perform it.

How would you describe your poster?

It is actually a combination of emotions that one up for me. Because my study is Qualitative Research, I’m researching on other people whereas some students are doing self studies, so I’ve had challenges of like getting approved which has taken a really long time. I haven’t actually started my study yet; I’m still having to see patients, so my poster will only be the layout of what my study will look like. Within that is all the steps it took for us to get to our thesis idea and that was a lot of hard work. We had to ask ourselves: What do we love? What are we passionate about? What kind of field work do we want to do? What population do we want to work with? How do we want to contribute in this field?

How would you describe The Masters Showcase to someone who’s not familiar with it?

I would say it’s a creative experience. A celebration of our history.

How would you describe The Masters Showcase?

I would definitely say it symbolizes your evolution as an artist at Columbia. In general, it’s your expansion as an artist and you get to showcase that. If you're not showcasing, you get to attend and really just feel what that is, which is beautiful.