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Meet Ali Chain

Majors: B.A., Dance - Jazz Concentration
Expected Graduation: 2016
Scottsbluff, Neb.
High School:
Scottsbluff Senior High School

Why did you choose Point Park?

Originally I was supposed to go to small, private college in Hillsdale, Mich. It's possibly one of the most conservative higher education institutes in the country. I had planned throughout high school to go pre-med focusing on plastic surgery.

The summer before my senior year of high school started, I broke my talus, a small bone in the ankle/foot, and I couldn't have surgery on such an invasive area so I had to go on crutches and in a boot for about five months. After realizing how miserable I was without dance, I came home and talked to my mother about my life path. She asked me, "In a perfect world what would you do?" My answer was "to be able to dance every day." After that conversation she told me that she and my father would support me no matter what I do and that if dance was what I wanted my future to be, I had better start looking for schools.

Now at this point it was the end of November; not ideal for just beginning to look at colleges. I had not the slightest idea of where to begin looking but luckily one of my dance teachers had attended Point Park and quickly suggested it to me. By the grace of the universe, I still had the opportunity to audition and by an even bigger grace I made it in.

Who is your favorite professor and why?

This February I, along with countless others, lost my favorite professor, Ron Tassone. He was a faculty member of the dance department and responsible for bringing jazz dance to Point Park. I owe so much of who I am as a performer and as a happier human being to Ron and his classes. I had the opportunity to take class from a legendary figure.

Ron had accomplished more in one lifetime than most would have the chance to accomplish in five and his resume would make anyone blush but he had a heart big enough for all of his dancers and arms strong enough to give everyone a tight hug and quick kiss after every class. He was spunky and one of the most stylishly dressed professors on campus and continued to teach what he loved most until his last days. He made the more dragging weeks seem less awful with his warm up and crazy combinations and I will always be grateful to him for everything he did.

Where is the best view of the city?

It's difficult to dub one location as the best view of the city because I'm almost certain that changes on a daily basis for me. There are so many angles and possibly interesting ways to see Pittsburgh and depending on what I'm doing or the time of day, my favorite view changes. Today I'm going to say it's the view from PNC Park. The view from the ballpark seats makes me feel like I am in a giant ship and Pittsburgh is a floating, island metropolis. It makes the name Pirates that much more fitting.

Pittsburgh has some amazing food. What is your favorite dish to get in the 'Burgh?

Yeah, it totally does! I love basically every food so I'm spoiled rotten here. I can't say just one dish exactly but the absolute greatest french fries I've ever had were at Over The Bar Bicycle Café in South Side. Some other delicious options would have to be their seitan wings and they have pretty bomb turkey burgers, too. Honestly, you can't go wrong with anything there.

Pittsburgh is known as the city of bridges, what else could Pittsburgh be "the city of"?

I think this answer goes hand in hand with the best view of the city question. I've already said I love the angles and possibilities Pittsburgh has but what I love about the city is how involved it is. The people of Pittsburgh care about sports and they care about business but they care about art equally and because of that, you can tell special care has been taken to keep Pittsburgh the beautiful city it is. It's a pretty harmonious place and I think a city that can harbor so many different individuals and continue to have them blend and mesh is a testament to Pittsburgh as a city for culture.

When someone says the word "Pittsburgh," what comes to mind?

Pittsburgh is where I've found myself. I hate to say that because it's totally the post-adolescent idealistic phase Dion makes fun of Paul Rudd's character for in the movie "Clueless" but it has some serious truth to it. Pittsburgh is where I've gotten to spend my college experiences and nothing would motivate me to change anything about that. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I love the life that I have now so Pittsburgh will always have a positive connotation in my book.

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Text and photos by Jakob Como, senior multimedia major

More About: jazz, Pittsburgh, dance