Alumni on pointe: Sarah Geocaris Working at Joffrey Ballet

by Kel Faherty / Staff Reporter

Roosevelt alumni Sarah Geocaris has recently begun a new position at The Joffrey
Ballet in the midst of the pandemic. Photo courtesy of BIPOC Arts.

Roosevelt University has made it a priority to encourage the showcase of alumni work. On the performing arts website, a multitude of alumni and their biggest involvements are listed. Following a successful line of former students, Sarah Geocaris recently joined Joffrey Ballet as the Assistant Director of Annual Giving. She attended Roosevelt University within the music conservatory as an aspiring opera singer. Joffrey, a world-renowned ballet studio that has been around for 65 years, showcases a number of highly successful ballets and performances. Through the pandemic, Joffrey Ballet has left its doors open to new possibilities.

“It has definitely been difficult,” Geocaris said. “I was fortunate. I have been working in the arts. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was working at Lyric Opera. It was devastating to see colleagues furloughed and watch performances close.”

This narrative is common these days according to Geocaris –– but she took the new opportunity at Joffrey. “It was the scariest thing to leave a place I loved so much and begin a new path at a new company, but if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is to take a chance.”

Geocaris said, “I have always admired Joffrey. I don’t have rhythm but was an admirer of ballet. I always thought I would be an opera singer. Roosevelt taught me how to take on new passions, and Joffery came at the perfect time. I found a discount ticket one day, went to the ballet and something just clicked. I was just so enthralled.” 

“Joffery’s mission is to bring inspired and creative dance to the city of Chicago,” said Geocaris. “It’s double-pronged because it is a company, yet also an academy. They do some of the best training in the world. It is warm, creative, and passionate.” 

While Geocaris was able to leap into change, other artists may struggle with takeoff. “It can be challenging to reach out into different comfort zones as a young person,” Cate Monnin, a freshman advertising major at DePaul University said. “It is hard to be multifaceted because most of my effort is put into time oriented goals.”

On the other hand, Avani Jha, a computer science freshman at The Ohio State University, came from a slightly different approach. “My major and my passion are different situations. I enjoy computer science but heavily work on my Spotify and my own handmade recording studio. I don’t think kids should be so limited.” 

Not only does Jha keep up with both her major and her music, but she also writes poems when possible. “I am a person of many passions. Why choose just one thing to be ambitious over when there are millions of things for humans to infatuate themselves with?”

Geocaris said that she wants to spread her advice to those beginning on their own paths, “Young artists should ask questions and step out of their comfort zone,” said Geocaris. “There is always this thought that says ‘What if I’m not good at this?’ The truth is that you probably are. Pick one thing that you love and explore the untouched aspects of it. It will always be worth it.”



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