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Hannah was a student in my Modern Dance I course at UNM last semester––the semester that, due to Covid-19, we never returned for face-to-face learning after Spring Break. Many of you know that Hannah worked a full-time+ job doing incredible (and very demanding) work for KUNM, but she enrolled in my class as a non-degree undergrad last semester regardless. It was very clear that Hannah loved dancing. This is how I will remember her, even though I closely followed and admired her journalistic work, too.

Our class met on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:00 to 6:20 PM, so Hannah often arrived a few minutes late, running over from KUNM. Though she alerted me at the beginning of the semester that this would be the case –– and though I told her she was definitely excused –– Hannah was always careful to follow my (very) strict tardy policy, observing class until it was appropriate to join everyone without disrupting the flow. On the days that Hannah would arrive too late to join in, she would still make the effort of showing up, even if only for the final 10 minutes of class. On these days, she often filmed her classmates dancing, proudly posting their work on her Instagram story or cheering them on as they made progress with the material. It was clear how community-minded Hannah was, and how deeply she valued watching other people succeed. She was also a remarkably attentive listener, and her curiosity and honest enthusiasm brought me a lot of energy as a teacher. One day, for example, I ran into Hannah on campus, and she took the time to tell me exactly what she was loving about the class and what her questions were. Anyone who teaches knows how helpful this sort of feedback from students can be. Another day, when our live musicians arrived a few minutes late, Hannah offered to DJ the class from her iPod! Unfortunately they walked in right as she offered…

But finally, it would be remiss of me not to say that, on the days that Hannah did dance in class, she really shined. A dancer dance class does not make haha; you show up eager and ready to dance, or you don’t. Hannah was natural mover, moving for the reasons that really matter, and that only moving reveals to you. I know that she’s still doing her thing now, moving what needs to be moved in all of us, in her memory. This is how dancers work, and I am sure she knew that.

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