DUKE LEMUR CENTER
Chapel Hill Fire Rescue Station 1 is one of the town’s biggest stations, overseeing both Franklin Street and the northern part of UNC campus. With a large responsibility on their shoulders, it’s not just a job for them.“They’re not just my co-workers,” Firefighter Aria Alexander said. “They’re my family.”
Jolie Choi doesn’t just love dancing; it’s a fundamental part of her life.“I started dancing since I was like really, really young and I did a lot of different styles like ballet, Latin, Chinese traditional dancing, jazz, contemporary, everything,” Choi said. “I’ve been dancing basically my whole life since I was in kindergarten.”Despite her busy schedule as a biology major, she finds the time to be a member of two dance UNC clubs—Moonlight Dance Crew and UNiCorn.
Choi warms up before a Moonlight dance practice, and laughs at a joke one of her teammates made. While exploring her love of dance with the team, she’s also found a community that the team dubs “Moonfam.”
Moonlight practices a new dance choreography for the first time. They plan to perform it later this month. The events they perform at include Chapel Hill community events, UNC student events, and charity fundraisers. Choi said she loves to perform in front of people.“It just makes me feel like I’m doing something that I truly enjoy,” Choi said.
Choi heads into Davis Library to work on homework for one of her biology classes. Outside of dancing, studying takes up a large part of her schedule.“I really like dancing, even though my schoolwork is hard.” Choi said. “So I really want to balance them and I think I’m doing okay for now. It’s just sometimes school is stressful and dancing helps me deal with the stress.”
Choi believes that it’s crucial to be proactive in managing the time she spends on her passion and her studies, not wanting to give up one for the other.“Sometimes it’s hard, but I still try to come to dance practices.” Choi said. “I feel like it’s one way that I cope with my stress too. It makes me happy. “
Choi studies the choreography of one of Moonlight's dances. Team members often take turns choreographing the dances, and Choi has choreographed some herself. Even outside of practice, she reviews choreography so that she can memorize it. Although dance may seem like an added responsibility to her busy schedule, she views it as a time to relax from her academic life.“Sometimes if I’m really stressed with school and everything, I just come to dance practice and I’ll be happy afterwards,” Choi said.
Choi greets a friend who came to watch her performance with Moonlight on Franklin Street. Performances like these showcase all of the hard work she’s put into practicing.
Though Choi loves the moment of dancing on stage, it isn’t easy.“My heartbeat goes fast, I’m exercising,” Choi said. “It’s really tiring.”
“I’m always happy when I’m dancing,” Choi said. “Everyone says that to me, cause I’m always smiling when I’m dancing. And I don’t even notice, cause I enjoy dancing and performing for people and on stage.”Choi doesn’t think she’ll ever stop dancing, even once she goes into medical school and starts her career.“It’s a part of my life,” she said. “I don’t think it’s something extra that I do.”