park_coverThis article was featured in the 2009-2010 Park Scholarships Annual Report. A similar excerpt is available online here.

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Chasta Hamilton Calhoun moved from her home in Tennessee to accept a Park Scholarship at NC State University and never looked back; fortunately for North Carolinians, she has remained in Raleigh after graduation. Calhoun is the owner and artistic director of Stage Door Dance Productions, where she masterfully combines elements of dance and service.

As a studio, Stage Door not only provides solid technical training and an emphasis on the art of performance, but is committed to developing dancers into well-rounded human beings. “We strongly believe that giving back to our community is an important component of each child’s dance education,” says Calhoun.

As such, the Stage Door Elite Company and Stage Door Dancers participate in service opportunities throughout the year. Service has included participation in fundraisers for Dancers Responding to AIDS and earthquake victims in Haiti, holiday projects with hospitals and nursing homes, and programs with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Special Olympics North Carolina.

Calhoun also serves as founder and director of the Sightless Rhythm Tap Project at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind. “The school has and never will be the same since Chasta danced her way into our lives,” says Rebecca Rommen, a dance instructor at the school. “She embraced the students with love, acceptance, and brought out the very best in each of them, as she does with every student she teaches.”

Calhoun has also given back to the Park Scholarships program by serving as a discussion task rater during Finalist Weekend selection activities.