For most dance graduates, the best one can hope for is an artist position that simply pays the bills. Luckily, 2013 UNM graduate Sonia Bologa said she found that and more just a few short weeks after graduation.

Bologa, freshly graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, was hired at a local studio as a company dancer in June. Alongside four other talented young ladies, she spends most of her time at the Keshet Center for the Arts, learning and rehearsing repertory pieces as well as taking and teaching classes.

A Romanian who moved to Albuquerque about eight years ago, Bologa said she had just a small hope for becoming a dance major when she enrolled at UNM.

“I knew I wanted to be a dance major, but didn’t think I could be because I had only been dancing for three years before I got to the University. It took me about two years before I knew I really wanted to be a dance major,” she said.

Bologa was 16 years old when she, her mother and sister moved here to be with her father, a biochemical researcher at UNM.

Bologa had done nothing more than hip-hop and salsa back home, but began to experiment with other dance styles at the encouragement of her father, she said. Before she knew it, she was deep into the dance department, being molded and guided by the hobby that would come to be all she lived and breathed.

Vladimir Conde-Reche, an undergraduate adviser and dance professor at UNM, said he remembers Bologa when she first began her journey as a dance major.

“When Sonia came here, she was talented, you could see that. But she had that protected veil that might be shyness, might be some sort of insecurity. One of the things we push her was to find her individuality and for her to understand that it was okay to be that person,” he said.

Keshet Dance Company, founded in 1996, is a studio known for its acceptance of all different styles and levels of dancers.

Bologa said the dance company’s mission statement blends smoothly with her personal belief that art can make a difference in everyone’s life.

Now, Bologa teaches the entire hip-hop curriculum at Keshet, a job she looks forward to every day. Bologa said her company position at Keshet is her day job, a job she said supports and gives time for her to participate in classes and shows inside and outside Keshet.

“I feel like I am doing everything I was doing before, but now it’s a job. I’m still taking classes, teaching, performing but, you know, now I get paid,” she said.

For Bologa, dance is all there is. She lives and breathes dance and doesn’t see an end in sight, she said.

Sonia Bologa can still occasionally be found at Carlisle Gym, the building on campus where the majority of dance courses are held, dropping in on dance classes and lending her opinion and aid to new dance pieces.