|31 Mar 2021|
|Written by Alana Macallister|
Years Attended Arden
Year 7-Year 12 (2012-2017)
Bachelor of Health Science (Dance) – Australian College of Physical Education
In this feature put together by The Australian College of Physical Education (ACPE) and Dance Australia, Maja elaborates on her education journey and the pathways made available to her from undergraduate to post-graduate studies.
Maja Pavic graduated in 2017 and has stayed connected to the School through her love of dance - giving back to our community by teaching and choreographing at Arden for the past three years. Maja believes her passion for dance flourished at Arden and the support of one of her favourite teachers helped start her life-long dance journey.
What has your journey been since finishing school?
Straight after finishing school I studied a Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Dance at the Australian College of Physical Education. I also completed a Certificate III in Assistant Dance Teaching and a Diploma of Pharmacy Assistant. I am also a qualified gymnastics coach and a Level 1 Sports Trainer. I love and value learning especially if it provides me with the knowledge to grow and keep my passions alive.
What is it like coming back to teach dance at Arden? What does your role involve?
I have been teaching dance at Arden since the day I finished School, so for 3 years now and I have loved every minute of it. Giving back to the dance community at Arden has been such a pleasure especially as this is where my confidence in my dancing began. I choreograph the dance routines for each group and run weekly rehearsals in order to prepare the groups for the eisteddfod season.
What is it like working at Arden after being a student here?
It was definitely unusual coming back to the School and seeing how much work goes into every aspect of Arden behind the scenes. I enjoy watching our dancers grow from the first time I watch them at auditions, up to their last performance. I always think back to my very first audition for the Arden Dance Group and it reminds me how far I have come. I believe it is important to keep the legacy of dance alive at Arden.
Tell us about your time at Arden. Is there anything you especially remember?
I have a lot of fond memories about my time at Arden but the ones that have stuck with me are school camps and especially The Extra Mile Project. I will always remember our trip to Cambodia and Vietnam serving the communities and those less fortunate than ourselves.
What activities did you enjoy doing while you were at Arden?
I enjoyed every aspect of Arden life and was able to fully immerse myself into almost every co-curricular activity. These included dance, music, crusaders, social justice and sport.
What were your favourite subjects?
My favourite subjects were CAFS and PDHPE – I might be a little biased since I furthered my studies at a sporting university.
Did you have a favourite staff member or teacher? Why were they your favourite? What made them a special teacher?
I appreciated all my teachers during my time at Arden, however, one teacher in particular made my journey at Arden extra special and that was Mrs Collins.
I came to Arden fairly shy and wanted to try out for the Arden Dance Group and I did so not knowing where it would take me. Mrs Collins boosted my confidence and I started to fall more in love with dancing due to all the opportunities she gave me. Representing Arden at eisteddfods was a dream come true and this is where Mrs Collins helped boost my self-belief. She really made coming to School every day enjoyable and I was able to make great friendships across different year groups because of my involvement in dance.
What are your passions or hobbies? What do you do for fun?
I have been dancing for 16 years and have loved every minute of this incredible journey. I have been a competitive cheerleader for 4 years as well and it has been a wonderful experience that I wish I had found earlier. I love my sports and getting to know people from all walks of life so I am going outside my comfort zone this year and taking my dancing feet onto a netball court. One may disagree with this statement but I love to work, hence, I have six jobs – I could never see myself not being active and doing something every minute of the day.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your career path?
No one forced me into doing what I have done so far. This has been all about my passions, however, I have had the support and guidance from a lot of people especially my mum who has been supporting my dance journey right from the beginning.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far, career or otherwise?
I have had so many accomplishments such as receiving my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, Perpetual Service Award at Uni and finishing university, however, I have to share a special accomplishment that is going to take me somewhere in the future. In my last semester of uni I did a research unit and I looked at dancers landing a jump in different types of dance footwear. I combined my passion for dance and science in order to undertake this research using a biomechanical video motion analysis of vocational dancers. I received my overall grade for the subject and I got a High Distinction and a special email from my teacher stating that the research project I produced has great potential for future publication. This meant the world to me and I know that my paper will fair well in the dance world. From humble beginnings as a 5 year old to now completing a dance degree with research that will have a valued impact on the dance world, there is not much more to say but to be proud of where I have come from and where I am headed on my dance journey.
What advice would you give to other alumni or current students who aspire to follow a similar career path as you?
My advice would be to take every opportunity you are given. Do not hold back, give everything a go and if you want to achieve, you need to put yourself out there. Go seek opportunities, do not wait for the opportunity to come to you.
What do you believe Arden has shown you/given you as a person?
Arden taught me so much during my time there. Arden showed me how to love everyone and to always put God at the forefront of everything.
What have you taken away from your time at Arden?
The number one thing I have taken away from my time at Arden is serving others. Whether it was the Duke of Edinburgh program or just helping wherever I could, I have taken those experiences with me and continue to serve in the same way at my University and in the broader community.
Where do you want to be in ten years?
My ultimate goal is being a dance physiotherapist, and I am hoping to get a contract as a physiotherapist with a dance company. I am also hoping dance at Arden will still be there and I can continue this journey. Arden will always have special place in my heart.
What does the future hold for you?
At this stage it is hard to say what the future holds for me but I always know that dance will be a part of me no matter what. My short-term goal is to publish my research paper and hoping to possibly take it as far as starting a PhD one day. When I was at orientation day at Uni I was told by my Head of Department that as I travel through my degree I will find subjects that I completely love and want to do more of and that it could form the basis for future studies. That is exactly what has happened, however, there has been a combination of a few subjects such as biomechanics, exercise physiology, research and functional movement screening. So now it is a matter of combining them with dance as I continue on my academic journey.
Describe your Arden experience in three words
Life changing journey
Thank you for sharing your journey Maja, your passion is inspiring to us all and we hope you continue with us at Arden for as long as possible.
Maja (right) receives a dance trophy