Hannahbeth Fischer explores the many classes and opportunities that Saint Mary's has to offer.
Hannabeth Fischer takes advantage of the many classes in the various disciplines that Saint Mary’s has to offer. In fact she is pursuing not one but two majors—one in humanistic studies (HUST) and one custom-made for her—a student-designed major in digital media, dance arts, and women’s studies. As a HUST major, she is studying the literature, history and art of Western culture as an integrated whole. “Humanistic studies is refining my ability to learn from multiple dimensions, and to be able to draw, organize and articulate connections between texts, whether a written work, an engraving, or a song,” describes Fischer. “The ability to see connections has helped me understand how people frame their world and translates to how I frame mine.”
Fischer is a member of the Saint Mary’s Dance Company and the Dance Collective, a student club, which produces student-run productions. Through the dance collective she gained experience with producing, choreographing, and performing in dance arts. Fischer’s dance experience includes summer dance classes in New York City, and a year of dancing with the traveling performing arts company 13thFloor, a faith-based organization working with local schools and churches to reach young people. “I took a gap year before I came to Saint Mary’s. I traveled to South Africa for four months to train in dance with 13thFloor and then we performed in the States for seven months,” says Fischer of her year off between high school and college.
Saint Mary’s has given Fischer opportunities to further her interests in the arts. She recently worked one-on-one with Emmy-winning actor Anthony Zerbe. Fischer performed an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces. “I definitely learned a new way of performing. I had never done a monologue like that before—a performance monologue. He gave us new techniques for memorizing and speaking.”
Free time and weekends for Fischer mean taking a yoga class or going for walks to the Grotto on Notre Dame’s campus. Often she takes the train to Chicago to participate in a dance class or take in a show at the Ford Theatre for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre. Closer to home, Fischer takes in the atmosphere of Lula’s Café, a coffee house, and Fiddler’s Hearth, an Irish eatery, located just a few miles from Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame. “Lula’s is a great place to hang out and read, and I also like to go to Fiddler’s Hearth on Wednesday nights because I have some friends who play during open mic night,” says Fischer.
Given her double major and interests, the possibilities for Fischer’s future seem unlimited. For now she plans to pursue graduate school for collaborative art or dance. “Instead of having a separate ‘artistic culture,’ I would like to help integrate arts into the humdrum life,” says Fisher.