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Dance Grad Mariah Sainsbury on Trials and Growth as a Dancer

Sainsbury will graduate in April 2023 with a BA in Dance

Photo by Emma Olson/ External Relations

Mariah Sainsbury, a BYU graduate who majored in dance, will be presenting at Convocation on Apr 28. She was drawn to dance because she enjoyed the physicality and exploration of movement and enjoyed the connection it brings to other people around her.

Sainsbury’s story highlights the values of perseverance and positivity. She finds inspiration from dance as a form of art and is reminded of the majesty and discipline of the human body.

While life is full of wonderful experiences, it can drastically change in moments. In her Junior year at BYU, Sainsbury was on a trampoline one day and became disoriented, losing control and falling, tearing all four ligaments in her knee. This experience taught Sainsbury what it meant to be a dancer with a major physical disability.

“I knew that the road back to dancing was not going to be easy, but would be a great deal of despair and pain,” Sainsbury said. “It's a journey I was only able to make with the support of my family from home and my family here; the dance department.”

Throughout an intense recovery process, Sainsbury reflected on the role models in her life. “My parents continue to inspire me with their examples of hard work and dedication,” she said. “I am also grateful for all of my past directors who emphasized my growth as an individual in addition to my growth as a dancer.”

After an intense recovery process, Sainsbury participated in Keely Song’s Faith and Works Lecture. Through this project she gained an “enormous sense of appreciation for the human body and a resolution to never take it for granted.” Sainsbury also experienced the intimate sense of the word “community” through support and understanding of other dancers with experiences similar to her own.

Through being part of companies such as BYU’s Contemporary Dance Theatre and DancEnsemble, Sainsbury has had the opportunity to travel across the nation. “These companies have also helped me gain insight into cultivating a sense of belonging in the pursuit of growth and creation,” she said.

Sainsbury plans to continue her education by attending graduate school to find opportunities to expand her technique and performance opportunities.