1. Union Home
  2. Admissions
  3. Profiles
  4. Beyond Majors
  5. Keilah Creedon

A Renaissance woman

Beyond majors: Develop your integrated thinking

Keilah Creedon
Hometown: Flagstaff, Ariz.
Majors: Mathematics, History 
Minor: Dance

Charles Batson
Associate professor of French

Keilah Creedon majored in math and history, learned Swahili, researched contemporary slavery, played in a chamber music group and studied abroad. 

And she also went for baroque. Keilah joined with French Professor Charles Batson to perform a baroque dance for a research presentation by Diane McMullen, chair of Union’s Music Department.

In addition to looking elegant in 16th-century formalwear, Keilah and Professor Batson are in step on a variety of academic and personal interests.

Keilah:

Professor McMullen directs the Early Music Ensemble, in which I played the cello. The ensemble plays music from the Middle Ages through the Early Viennese Era. That said, I had never danced baroque!

Professor Batson:

Keilah picked it up so quickly. She’s danced for years, but baroque is two centuries older than anything she’s ever done. It’s much different from, say, ballet. The movements are essentially creating geometry on the floor. 

Keilah:

I think my background in math helped me learn the movements. I often use math and logic to pick up dance steps. Those parts of my brain seem to work together.

Professor Batson:

It’s beautiful to watch her move. You can see her spirit when she dances. She’s alive.

Keilah:

It was great to dance with Professor Batson. Spending time with him and Professor McMullen learning about their passions was one of the best aspects of this experience.

Professor Batson:

I’m a choreographer and work with the dance program on performances. As a French professor, it pleases me to no end to also participate in theater and dance at Union. There’s a natural affinity between the disciplines. Working with both adds so much to my work.

Keilah:

I found that to be true of my studies, as well. That’s what’s so great about Union. Moving among math and history and dance makes for a very rich day. 

Professor Batson:

Not to mention costuming.

Keilah:

That’s right, I also helped sew an overdress for our performance. To think I was initially on a pre-med track when I came to Union! I was extremely career-oriented at first. But my perspective changed sophomore year when I studied in Tanzania. That experience transformed me. I learned Swahili and began to focus on African and world history, which I paired with a math major. 

Professor Batson:

Union often inspires interdisciplinary study. We’re extremely supportive of stepping outside of traditional boundaries. We recognize that research doesn’t just happen in a lab or a classroom. It can also take place on a stage or in a dance studio.

Keilah:

I wrote my history thesis on contemporary slavery, which inspired another student to choreograph a dance on sex trafficking. I had studied sex trafficking intellectually, so it was interesting to explore it through dance. The statistics on this issue are paralyzing. The dance conveyed the more human aspects – pain and brokenness, but also hope. That was the most powerful emotion. It demonstrated that the issue is more than just numbers.

Professor Batson:

Your senior dance project was also quite moving.

Keilah:

I choreographed a social commentary based on my participation in Union volunteer trips to New York City to serve the homeless. There are so many misperceptions of the homeless, and they are often unseen. I developed five very different characters, from a homeless person to a businesswoman, and defined them through movement. Initially their interactions are negative, but ultimately they recognize one another’s humanity. It’s meant to show that, in the end, we’re all dancing together.

Professor Batson:

It’s a perfect example of how bridging disciplines adds to the student experience. At Union, students learn how their many interests can come together to make a life.

Keilah:

Union transformed my dream for the future. After graduating, I was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Kenya for a year. I am now living in Rwanda and working at MindLeaps, a nonprofit for street children, teaching English and dance, and doing administrative work. I am getting to live my dream – and I feel so lucky.


Convergence: Jakub Kaczmarzyk,
neuroscience and music

Click play (above) or view on VIMEO