Sunny Staton

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?
My specific area of research is dance, namely choreography. Under the guidance of Janice Gudde Plastino, I hope to further explore the creation of movement for dance at UCI. My strongest form of technique is ballet, and I hope to work on infusing that dance form with contemporary genres of modern dance.
2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I first got involved in this type of research when I was dancing with the Sacramento Ballet. The artistic directors, Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda, were instrumental in allowing me to create works on my fellow dancers. However, the majority of my eleven years with the ballet was primarily focused on my career as a performer. Now that I am twenty-five and have been accepted as a choreography major at UCI, I am prepared to focus the majority of my time on creating the dance and not performing it.

3. How has research enhanced you education?

Creating new works of dance has enhanced my education in several ways. Primarily it has allowed me to open my eyes to other forms of dance. Ballet has been the heart and soul of my life and until this point, has left little room for experiencing all of the many other worthwhile dance techniques. Now that I intend to set my career toward choreography, I need to be able to infuse other dance forms into my ballet base. What better way to do that than through studying many of the other dance forms UCI has to offer? Tap, jazz, modern, Flamenco, Irish, and social dances are available and waiting to be explored. Also, through studying the history of dance, I can discover other choreographers' outlooks on life and dance. Learning about how they are created will be beneficial in learning how to let myself create.

4. What has been you favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?
I believe the greatest experience in research is the culmination of all the hard work that was put into the actual creation of the dance. One always hopes that the idea inside one's mind becomes as real on stage as it is imagined. I love to see my finished product on stage with costumes, lights and music. The fact that my dancers love to dance what they are dancing and to be able to trust them with a piece of my soul is truly the most unique experience I have ever felt.
5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

I have several plans for the future. I always love to look ahead and dream of what my next ideal work will entail. My short-term prospects concern choreographing a piece for the undergraduate student-produced show, Bare Bones and working on another piece for Physical Graffiti, also an undergraduate show performed in Spring Quarter. I have also been talking with my former directors about returning to Sacramento to choreograph another piece with the company. I cannot express how excited I am about the upcoming projects. As for my long-term goals, I hope to continue performing in musical theatre and move to New York where I will be discovered by a famous artistic director who will hire me to create several new works on his or her ballet company. Also, my dream centers on moving back to Sacramento and enjoying a life working in some capacity with the ballet company that I grew up with, and being commissioned to travel around the country setting new creations on many different companies. The possibilities are endless, and I am ready and eager to face the challenges ahead.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

The only advice I could give a student who is interested in pursuing research and a creative activity is to go for it. Keep trying! There are doors waiting to be opened by those who are brave enough to use the right key. Both research and creative activities provide those keys. You can improve your knowledge about a specific area through continual searching. It has certainly been an exciting and rewarding experience for me.

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '01 Anna Kaiser
Nov. '01 Sunny Staton
Oct. '01 Kristine Kolkman
Sep. '01 Raquel Fernandez
Aug. '01 Temre Davies
Jul. '01 Krikor Andonian
Jun. '01 Elizabeth Kirchner
May '01 Joshua Neil
Apr. '01 Alia Shbeeb
Mar. '01 Qyana Griffith
Feb. '01 Reshmi Basu
Jan. '01 Yousuke Hamai
Recent Year