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Student Spotlight – Cydney Covert

Photo Credit: William Bowers

Cydney Covert is pursuing a Multidisciplinary Studies degree with a Minor in Criminal Justice and a Certificate of Human Rights. Originally from Pensacola, Florida, she moved to Boise to train at Ballet Idaho’s academy at age 14.

Tell us a little about your current career.
I currently dance for Ballet Idaho, Project Flux, and LED. I’ve been in professional dance productions since I was 14 and was hired into the company as an apprentice at 16. My senior year of high school I was promoted to corps de ballet, meaning I’ve been dancing full-time for about four years now. This means I spend my days rehearsing and preparing for different performances. Aside from dance, I’ve also worked as one of the dancer representatives for the company, meaning I help communicate dancer concerns and negotiate our contract each season.

Given your professional background, why did you decide to pursue the Marilyn Shuler Human Rights Certificate as well?
Working as a dancer representative gave me insight into how necessary it is for our concerns and fears as populations to be addressed and fixed. That, and my work with incarcerated individuals at the Idaho Medium Security Prison, made me eager to learn more about how to advocate for those who are marginalized and oppressed. My artistic pursuits seem to combine well with this desire as I’ve had plenty of opportunities to address inequities in the dance world as well as in our general society. The Human Rights Certificate has given me the tools to address these inequities on a systemic level, like advocating for and against bills in the Idaho legislature. Though I recognize the healing power of art, I also note that big change happens with education and action.

What are your plans for the future?
I intend on continuing to dance for as long as I possibly can, as that is my first passion. However, having seen the intersection between art and activism firsthand, I’m dedicated to continuing to explore this. I’ve considered law school, but I’ve been balancing work and school for such a long time that I’m eager to focus exclusively on one thing. Dancing is an athletic career, meaning I only have so much time to enjoy this work. I plan on letting dance take me many places before I retire as I’m eager to open myself up to new and challenging experiences. I have an outline of how I’d like my life to go after dance, and it definitely involves advocacy. Regardless, I don’t think I’ll ever step away from the arts completely.

We understand that you have an interest in creative problem solving. How do you see the Marilyn Shuler Human Rights Certificate helping you develop and apply your problem-solving skills?
The Human Rights Certificate has taught me that there is no singular avenue for advocacy. Many of the problems we face right now are deeply personal, meaning we have to exercise incredible amounts of empathy in order to understand them. Those who are in a position of privilege, such as myself, must recognize that we can never truly understand some of the oppressive experiences of other members of our community. There is no “one size fits all” for advocacy. Some people are most successful pursuing this endeavor in the form of policy change, while others have recognized their talents lie in teaching others. I have recognized that I can utilize my own artistic pursuits to advocate for others, something that I didn’t necessarily consider valuable before pursuing this certificate. The Human Rights Certificate reminded me that my humanity is the most valuable and creative thing I can use to solve issues that affect my rights and the rights of others.