Ora Rae Knopic

Mentor: Dr. Joan Frosch
College of Arts
"As a choreographer, I am attuned to the interaction of mind and body as a creator. As a dancer, I am attuned to the interaction of mind and body as a performing artist who seeks a long and healthy career. At eleven years of age, I developed asthma and allergies to pollen, animal dander, mold, dust, coconut, and soy. I learned early on that good nutrition builds health and prevents disease. I now recognize that good nutrition is key for the student dancer, as well. Dancers live in the same culture of convenience and fast food that all Americans do. I want to help dancers to understand that nutrition can assist them in their dance studies today and help them build solid nutritional habits for a lifetime in dance."




Food Science

Research Interests

  • Energy inputs and outputs of dancers
  • Nutritional correlation between diet and performance
  • Access to fresh produce in Gainesville, Florida

Academic Awards

  • Leonard Family Scholarship


  • Dance in a Suitcase
  • Creativity of the Arts and Sciences Even


  • Environmental Steward, Sustany Foundation
  • Teaching Intern, Brucie Klay's Dance Center
  • Dance Teacher, Metropolitan Ministries

Hobbies and Interests

  • Dance, Yoga
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Reading, especially memoirs, fiction, and the Sunday edition of the New York Times
  • Surfing

Research Description

At UF Dance, I am surrounded by people like me: young dancers with limited time and finances who must meet the extraordinary demands on their physicality and brain power every day. While UF dancers are serious about their health and understand the value of their well being both personally and professionally, the relationship between good food and good health needs reinforcement. Through qualitative interviews and wellness engagements with my dancer peers, under the guidance of my mentor, Dr. Joan Frosch I will identify how dance students currently approach nourishing their instruments and identify potential knowledge or awareness gaps that an app could support. Their feedback will help me to shape a fun and useful beta-app. I feel that acknowledging the special needs of the young dancer by making dancer-specific nutritional plans available as an app will reinforce and support good health. Thus, I am seeking to develop and beta test an app that can educate serious young dancers to make good nutritional choices. Through my research, I hope to uncover real life needs of the young performing artist, and develop a test app that has the potential to support the awareness and knowledge of a new generation of dancers.