Kate Vigmostad, an MUM graduate in 2007, says she found the perfect balance of assured direction and nurturing support in her professors in MUM’s art department. In particular, she benefited from the guidance of Jim Shrosbree and Jill Brown, the department’s chairman and program director respectively, who helped her to blossom as an artist.
“I was really inspired by them,” says Kate, 28, who teaches dance at Morning Star Studios in Fairfield, Iowa. “They understand how to nurture creativity without a heavy hand. They use just the right amount of influence on the student’s work, helping you find your own creative voice.”
Following her graduation from MUM, Kate worked for six months as a video editor at the David Lynch Foundation’s TV channel. Then she traveled, studying a dance movement analysis method called The Axis Syllabus in locations as diverse as Santa Cruz, Calif., Italy, and the Czech Republic.
Kate returned to Iowa in 2008 and enrolled in a Master of Fine Arts program in Dance at the University of Iowa (UI), where she was awarded the prestigious Iowa Arts Fellowship. While at UI, Kate created more than six original dance works, taught four undergraduate courses, and performed frequently.
In 2010, Kate’s interests took her to the West Coast. In San Francisco, she worked for the nonprofit organization, Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education, instructing at-risk youth in the Transcendental Meditation® technique, as well as in movement. She helped implement the Quiet Time program, a highly successful TM practice in schools.
In Marin County, just north of San Francisco, she taught dance full-time (12+ classes per week) to teens and adults at Roco Dance and Fitness, a premiere studio. She choreographed more than 13 unique dances for student performances.
Over the last few years, Kate has continued to grow and expand as a dancer, performing for Becca Rozzell and The Riley Project in San Francisco, and producing her own original work in several dance concerts. Her choreography has even been shown in Korea.
In 2013, she co-created the Mid to West Dance Collective, which had its first show in December 2013 in San Francisco. “This last year with the Collective has been huge for me,” says Kate. “And this is just the beginning. We’re planning to do shows every year.”
She will also start an MA in filmmaking at MUM in fall 2014. One of her goals is to creatively marry dance and film.
“I’ve always loved making videos,” says Kate, who has made short films at both MUM and the University of Iowa. “I want to get deeper into the technical aspects of filmmaking and continue to explore my love of dance. My goal is to tell stories through movement and dance.”
As an undergraduate at MUM, Kate felt she’d come to understand herself better, which she then used as a springboard going forward in her career and in her life.
“At MUM I was able to figure out what was most important to me,” she says. “I learned how to prioritize the things in my life. That created a strong foundation that’s helped me make decisions big and small along the way. That’s been incredibly valuable for me.”