Athabasca University (AU) is home to many athletes competing at a high level while they study, and Kiera Keglowitsch was one of them.
As a professional ballet dancer, she worked for a small ballet company performing four to five different shows annually. Being part of a smaller dance troupe meant she, and her fellow dancers, would often have to learn and perform several different roles in each show.
Knowing that a dancer’s career doesn’t span a long length of time, Keglowitsch decided to pursue a post-secondary education and enrolled in the Bachelor of Science degree at AU. After several years of hard work, she will graduate at the virtual convocation Oct. 2, 2020.
“The flexibility that (AU) allowed me was the only way I would be able to do post-secondary school while continuing to dance,” said Keglowitsch.
From traditional to virtual
Beginning her undergraduate degree at a traditional university, Keglowitsch took evening classes to accommodate her bustling ballet career. She soon realized the need for a more flexible schedule in order to fit both her school work and performances. After researching other online post-secondary institutions, she chose AU because she felt it would work well with her life’s demands.
As a permanent cast member for the dance company, she generally knew when her auditions were scheduled. However, she did experience some uncertain times with the company and had to travel out of town for unexpected auditions. Having transferred over to AU, her schedule permitted her to take a week off without worrying about missing any classes or assignment due dates.
A network of support
Keglowitsch said she is grateful to her family and her partner for all their support. With everyone living under one roof, she was able to come home from a long day of dancing where her parents would have dinner made, allowing her to jump into three to four hours of school work.
“Little things that seem little, but are not really that little… they add up,” she said, reminiscing about the home-cooked meals she enjoyed without having to make them herself.
On the professional side, the ballet company directors she worked with were very supportive of her academics.
“They both understood that ballet careers can be quite short, and you have to plan for what you’re going to do next,” Keglowitsch said. “It’s not like other careers where you can work until you’re 70. You have to have another career, or possibly two or three after ballet.”