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Spotlight on … Jalisa Roberts ’13

Jalisa Roberts ’13, a dance teacher, choreographer, and founder of the New Orleans nonprofit The Cocoon, will appear this fall in Vessels, a seven-woman harmonic meditation on the transcendental possibilities of song during the Middle Passage.

What do you love most about what you do?

For me, dancing is when I feel most at peace in the world, and it is the gift I have to share with others. In my work with students, I use dance as a language to amplify their voices and their agency in the world.

How has Swarthmore shaped your career—and your life?

Swarthmore was the catalyst for the work I do today. Winning the first-ever Swat Tank allowed me to access the resources I needed to launch The Cocoon, and the work I do with students and in my dance career is directly impacted by the time I spent in dance and black studies at Swarthmore.

What advice would you give current Swarthmoreans hoping to follow in your path?

Make use of the resources around you to explore whatever you are passionate about. Swarthmore and its alumni provide rare and valuable opportunities to learn and grow into your path in the world.

Anything else you’d like to say?

I would love to see my Swarthmore community at the Vessels Philadelphia premiere at the Annenberg Center!