SE alum finds post-grad success in Branson

By Lornna Bates, News editor

After graduating from SE in 2009, Tiffany Craig moved to Branson, Miss. to pursue her dream of being an entertainer and teaching dance.

 

In August of 2010, Tiffany Craig, recent SE graduate, moved to Branson, Miss. in pursuit of her dreams of dance and theatre.  “My number one dream in life was to be an entertainer in Branson and to also teach dance there,” said Craig, originally from Wister, Ok.

Through strife, determination and tribulation, Craig has accomplished that which she set out for.

Craig graduated in 2009 from SE, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Musical Theatre with a minor in Dance.

“I had the privilege of being a performer for Sparks Dance Company and The Chorvette Stageworks Company,” said Craig.  Also, “I had the honor of being part of an opening act for Legends in Concert and The Twelve Irish Tenors, in Branson, under the direction of Aaron Adair, for the Chorvette Stageworks Company.”

“Tiffany is one of the most disciplined, dedicated and eager student-artists I have ever encountered.  In the four years I have known her, I remember times throughout the school year I would find her alone in the dance studio rehearsing and working on routines or acting projects,” commented Dr. Aaron Adair, associate professor and director of theatre and the Chorvettes.

“Her recent and continued success is a direct result of the effort and work put into developing her talents and career.  She is an example for many wanting to work in our craft to follow,” said Adair.

Craig is now teaching dance for the Starlighter’s Dance Studio. The Starlighter’s Dance Studio is located in Nixa, Miss. and owned by Laura Hawkins.

“I recently signed a contract to play a leading role, as Surie Ellen, through Silver Dollar City Entertainments,” said Craig. Silver Dollar City Entertainment, an affiliate of the Silver Dollar City Theme Park, is located in Branson, Miss. and built on the mountainous terrain of the Ozark Mountains, per the Silver Dollar City website.

The park offers family entertainment including rides and attractions, craft shops, live entertainment, viewings of craftsmen demonstrating their skills in pioneer craft, family-friendly restaurants for dining pleasure and a Culinary and Craft School, with seasonal cooking and craft classes available.

“Silver Dollar City shows were rated among the best in the entire theme park industry at the 2009 Golden Ticket Awards,” according to the Silver Dollar City website.

While Craig has accomplished the honor of being cast with Silver Dollar City Entertainments, she also has a history of awards and honors bestowed upon her.

She has been teaching various aspects of theatre for the past six years, including voice, acting and all styles of dance.

“I have taught and choreographed for Eastern Oklahoma Stage College, C.T.W., Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival After School Program, Summer Arts Camp, Performing Arts Workshop, Honor Show Choir, Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Dreams 2 Reality Dance Studio,” said Craig.  “I was also guest artist for the Sweetheart Soiree.”

Incidentally, Dreams 2 Reality Dance Studio is a small dance studio which Craig opened and operated in her home town of Wister, Ok. while she was attending Eastern Oklahoma State College, shortly around 2005.

“I realized there was a desperate need for the arts in that area,” said Craig.  “There, I choreographed different styles of dance and got to see children love and grow in something they have never had the opportunity to experience.  That is when I knew I wanted to teach dance.”

At Eastern Oklahoma State College, where Craig graduated in 2007, she was named Top Theatre Student (2005-2007).  She also received Outstanding Freshman Actor, Outstanding Actress in Multiple Roles, Jill Jones Dance Performance Award, Best Choreographer, Branson Star Award, Outstanding Achievement Performance for the Mikado, Outstanding Achievement Ensemble Acting for “A Christmas Carol” and “Oklahoma,” Outstanding Achievement in Dance Performance for “Dance of the Dragon,” “Oklahoma,” “Allie’s Cats,” Sparks Dance Company and Advanced Ballet, Outstanding Performance in Chorvette Stageworks Company, first place at UDA dance competition, Best Scene Stealer Actress and Audiences Favorite Character (Ado Annie) Award.

“It has been a very long and rough road, with lots of bruises, pulled muscles, sweat, tears, sleepless nights, hours of hard work, some people telling you you’re no good and you’ll never make it,” said Craig.  “However, it has also been such a blessing, with growing and improving in this wonderful world of entertainment, achieving what you though you couldn’t, building a well-rounded character of yourself, making new friends, working with fantastic instructors, entertaining people and changing or impacting people’s lives through theatre.  Words cannot describe how I feel about being 24 years old and able to say ‘I did it, I have accomplished both of my dreams.’”