Anna Adaska

Anna Adaska
Photo by David Schmitz

President’s Scholar

Major: Dance
College of Humanities and the Arts

Why did you choose your major?

I've taken dance classes since I was three, and it's what I've been passionate about my whole life. When I graduated high school I knew that I wanted to pursue a professional dance career and a BFA in dance will help me achieve that. I cannot imagine dedicating as much time as I dedicate to dance to anything else, and I feel lucky that I get to go to school and do what I love every day. 

What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

I feel lucky to have so many faculty members in the dance department that encourage my growth and learning, and this award is a good representation of how hard I work and how much support I have.

Who has had the greatest influence or impact on your life?  In addition, tell us about a SJSU faculty member who contributed to your academic success.

My parents have had a huge impact on my life. Even though they did not pursue an artistic career like me, I am very lucky that they support my choice to do so. At SJSU I have met many incredible faculty members, and the dance faculty are amazing. In particular I have been influenced by Jill Yager; taking her class at the dance major auditions is what made me decide to attend SJSU and every time I interact with her I am inspired by her optimism, dedication to her students, and the way she betters the lives of those around her. 

Describe an experience that has shaped who you are today.

An experience that shaped who I am today would be my first performance with SJSU's contemporary performing company, University Dance Theater. Our director, Raphael Boumalia, changed the way I viewed performing permanently. In the past, I felt pressure to attain perfection when I was on stage. After speaking with Professor Boumalia, I view performing as an experience that is shared by the audience and performer in which the performer's only obligation is to share their art honestly. With the pressure of perfection removed, the way that I dance, perform, and choreograph has been altered. 

What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

I don't think that something an outside influence says can encourage a student to be more dedicated to school. If a student is passionate about what they are studying then their success will follow. The letter grade a person receives is not always the best representation of how successful they are in a class due to the different ways that everyone learns and takes tests, but if a student truly cares about their major then they will have the desire to work hard and will gain something from their courses. 

What makes you a Spartan?

One of the best qualities of SJSU is the diversity that can be found on campus. I encourage myself to be accepting of differences and to learn from those around me who have had different experiences than I have. In addition, I work hard to gain as much as I can from my time at SJSU. I am often inspired by the hard work of my peers and professors, and I try to incorporate that in to my own life and academic pursuits as much as possible. 


Nominated by Fred Mathews
Professor, Dance

“A Senior Dance BFA, Ms. Adaska’s choreography was one of ten selected for the 2017 Gala Concert of the regional American College Dance Association conference by a panel of nationally recognized adjudicators.  Only four students works were selected from a roster that included professional choreographers.  Ms. Adaska has exceeded expectations of service to the Dance Program and most recently was chosen to perform with the New Ballet Company of San Jose.”