Cari Cunningham

A 1995 Crater High graduate, Cari was very active and involved during her high school years.  She played junior varsity soccer, was Yearbook editor, started a dance team, was as a member of the National Honor Society, received the top 5% honors award, was named an Oregon Scholar, received a Rotary Scholarship, was selected to attend ALA Girls State and was the Pear Blossom queen.  If that was not enough involvement, she was also a dancer for Dance Arts and Medford Civic Ballet during her time at Crater. 

Upon high school graduation, Cari entered the University of Oregon where she had been accepted into the Robert D. Clark Honor’s College and had received the prestigious four-year Ford Family Foundation scholarship. While she stated that she was a student first at Crater and a dancer second, it was at the U of O where she discovered that academia and dance could be fused.  Indeed, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance in 1999, graduating magna cum laude from the University of Oregon.

This led to three years in New York City, working for the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, the Ailey School and as a freelance writer for the Dance Spirit magazine. By then, she was convinced that her career would in some way be related to dance, but she desired further education, so she applied for the Master of Fine Arts in Dance program at the University of Colorado in Boulder.  While at the University of Colorado, she was a graduate student part-time Instructor, freelance writer for Dance Spirit, Dance Teacher, and Dance magazines. She also served as Assistant to the Executive Director for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and as an Intern for Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

Upon receiving her master’s degree from the University of Colorado, she was hired to a tenured track position in dance at the University of Nevada in Reno.  Subsequently, she has become the first faculty member in Dance at the University to be tenured.  She has had several service assignments as part of her job at the University, but much of her service in the community overlaps with the list of “community involvement.”  She has organized free children’s dance classes through several organizations.

Life in Reno is very busy for Cari.  She has her own small dance company that performs locally as well as all over the country, including four performances in New York City.   She is currently working on a proposal for a major in dance at the college and is teaching classes in modern dance, dance history, choreography and dance aesthetics.