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Naya Hutchinson '17

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Naya Hutchinson '17
Naya Hutchinson '17

What grades did you attend Bullis? What year did you graduate?
9th-12th grades, Class of ‘17

Where did you attend college and what is your occupation?
I attended Fordham University where I danced in the joint Ailey/Fordham Program. I was a dance and African American Studies major. Currently I am in graduate school for public media and am a professional dancer.

What activities or classes were most memorable for you as you reflect on your time at Bullis?
The most memorable classes for me at Bullis in the arts program were the advanced dance ensemble and the capstone I did my senior year. I was in the advanced dance ensemble for four years and it taught me so much about what it means to be an artist. It challenged me to think outside of the box and I am so appreciative of my teacher, Ms. Hill, for helping me become confident outside of the technical box that I began in. I also liked my capstone class. It prepared me well for college and allowed me to take on my own creative endeavors.

How did Bullis best prepare you for college and beyond?
Bullis best prepared me for college and beyond in so many ways! Taking the classes that I did taught me how to critically think which is a skill that is 100% needed in college and is so valuable within our world today with anything that we choose to do. I also would like to point out the capstone program, because that heavily prepared me for college in many ways. It helped me find my own identity as an artist and pushed me to understand what it means to be at the forefront of my own creative process and project.

Please tell us about what you have been doing since graduating from Bullis.
After graduating from Bullis I attended the Ailey/Fordham BFA program where I majored in Dance and African-American studies. During my time within the program I was able to perform works by many notable choreographers and perform in amazing venues such as New York City Center and in the 2019 Macy's Day Parade. I also was awarded the Denise Jefferson Memorial Scholarship in 2020 as a junior at the Ailey School. Post graduation I am finishing up my accelerated master's within Fordham's Public Media Program and am currently auditioning.

Naya Hutchinson '17

Which part of your journey has been most rewarding?
I think one of the most rewarding parts of my journey has been being able to be apart of Mr. Ailey's legacy. Going to a school that is surrounded with teachers that have learned from him and other students that are just as excited to learn about his legacy and strive to do their best dancing everyday was very inspiring.

What would you say to Bullis students who are currently on their journey to finding purpose?
I would tell them don't force or rush finding their purpose, but have an open mind about what they are passionate about. Finding your purpose, to me, is all about exploring and having an open mind about what you actually like doing whether that is helping others in some capacity, performing, technology, etc. There are so many ways to achieve your purpose and I believe that one of the things that can hinder finding your purpose is putting yourself in a box. So if you haven't found it yet please do not be worried! Continue to just pay close attention to what brings you joy and use that as a barometer for finding your purpose.

Who is someone that inspires you and how?
Someone that inspires me the most in this world is actually my mom, Demetra. I always say if I am just a quarter version of who she is I am doing something right! My mom inspires me because she is such a go-getter and in the same breath the most selfless person I know. Recently, my mom has gotten her doctorate in human services counseling while also receiving a master's in psychology. She has always inspired me to do what I am passionate about and her continued drive is something to be admired. She is also someone that loves helping people and that is something I love so much about her as well.

What is the best book or production that you have read, watched, or listened to lately?
There is one documentary and one film that have recently re-inspired me! The first is Beyoncé's documentary Homecoming. I know this is a fan favorite documentary, but I just want to touch on it because of the artistry that went into not only creating the performance, but creating the film itself. I truly admire the vision behind the creation of the project. I have also recently been inspired by a mini-series called Queen's Gambit. I'm sure many have heard about this series due to its mass recognition and popularity. When watching any type of art form, as an artist, I am looking to be inspired even if it isn't in a medium in which I usually work. I thought that this series was quite a masterpiece in terms of its raw eagerness to tell the story. The actors were brilliant and the direction of the film as well was very amazing. Lastly, in light of the pandemic we have been in I have had to create my own visual work. I created a piece called Lambent for my senior choreography project this past spring and it showed me that I can actually create dance on film that can inspire. This has pushed me to think about what more I can do with movement on film in the future.

What global challenge would you like to see tackled and how do you see yourself contributing to the positive change that you desire?
There are so many global challenges that I would like to see tackled in today's world, but one that I have constantly been fighting for since I was young is housing instability and homelessness. This is an issue that breaks my heart constantly because I know that the world has the means to solve this problem. As a 6th grader I began a coat drive for the homeless and have been making and delivering food to the homeless in the D.C. area. I believe that I can create positive change within my field through telling the stories of some of these people. Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools that we have especially in the age of digital and social media. I strive to be able to help tell stories for the people that feel they have never had the opportunity to have their voices heard.

Why would you tell a prospective family to choose Bullis?
I would tell a prospective family to choose Bullis because their child will have the opportunity to receive a top-tier education while being able to explore their interests outside of school within the school. I was able to get an excellent academic and arts education while at Bullis and am so appreciative of the support I received from the faculty while I attended!

  • Alumni
  • Class of 2017