Lauren Pappalardo is taking charge of her future—and with the help of the College of Health Professions, she's earning a master's degree to build a new career aligned with her values and passions.
Joneisha “JoJo” Carmichael ’22, a commercial dance major and arts and entertainment management minor, has been hard at work completing a “daily doing challenge” put forth by dance legend Dana Wilson. The challenge is simple: do something every day related to your creative outlet. “My daily doing includes turning on a song and dancing to it. Sometimes the movement is choreographed and sometimes I improvise,” JoJo told us. Every video is posted to her Instagram story, where she’s been getting a lot of attention for her passion and perseverance—not to mention her immense talent. “Through this experience, I have gotten more comfortable in creating and sharing my art,” she said.
Initially, her goal was to complete two months of producing daily videos of her dance routines. JoJo is currently well past day 181—and counting. “Throughout this experience, I have slowly been overcoming this perfectionist trait that I inherently have,” she explained. “Social media is a platform where we all generally like to post our life highlights or all of the good things that we have going on, and [we] are reluctant to share our lows. However, since social media is where I display my daily videos, I have gained comfort in sharing my highs and lows with everyone.”
“I think what I enjoyed the most was being able to share the stage with such amazing artists. This was the first time that I had performed with actors and I was simply in awe of everyone’s talent.”
Her passion for dance all started way back when JoJo was just four years old. She was in gymnastics first, and a single moment during practice would change her life forever. “One day a little girl walked into the gym with some tap shoes. After seeing that, I told my parents I wanted to do whatever that little girl did,” JoJo told us. Her parents went on to enroll her in a local dance studio, and the rest is history. She’s been dancing ever since—so, naturally, when it came time to choose a college, it was important to pick one that fit what she was looking for in a dance program.
“Following high school graduation, I knew that I did not want to put myself in a box,” JoJo explained. “Pace commercial dance seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn and grow as a dancer, as well as have the freedom to explore different avenues within my training. I also found the LA experience that [they] offer extremely exciting, and something I knew I wanted to be a part of.”
She’s appeared in numerous productions at Pace since, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which she counts as one of her all-time favorite performance experiences. “[It] was a collaboration between the BFA in Acting program and the commercial dance program,” JoJo explained. “I think what I enjoyed the most was being able to share the stage with such amazing artists. This was the first time that I had performed with actors and I was simply in awe of everyone’s talent.”
Looking to the future, JoJo has some big plans. She not only wants a career in dance, but also to launch her very own talent agency someday. “I would want to represent multiple different talents within the entertainment industry—not just one artistic category,” she explained. “What I hope to bring to the arts industry is authenticity. By staying true to who I am as an artist and human, I hope that I inspire others to do the same. I also hope to bring variety to the arts industry.”
For now, JoJo is staying focused and working on her craft. She recently signed with MSA agency, too, and she says she’s “extremely excited about what this new chapter will bring.” We are, too! Keep an eye on where JoJo’s career goes—you’re sure to see her name in lights soon. In the meantime, give her a follow on Instagram.