July 24, 2014

Eastern Michigan Sister Act

Meet two EMU students, sisters who juggle it all in performing dancing and acting roles at Eastern, with a homecoming queen honor along with it

by Rose Carver, Published October 30, 2013

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Amber and Courtney Lawson’s student careers at EMU are turning out to be stellar duo performances.

The sisters from Livonia dance, sing, act, and are always on the go. Both receive academic scholarships, perform on the dance team, and have roles in EMU’s fall theatre production, “Fiddler On The Roof.”

Amber, a senior, has the leading part of Hodel in “Fiddler on the Roof,” and has also played Sally in “Urinetown,” the president in "Death of America's First Woman President," and Kachei in “Firebird.”

Amber is also on the Dean’s List for the fourth year in a row, and is finishing her bachelor’s in dance this year. Dancing, she says, is her true passion. Her love of dance began when she was just three years old. Her grandma recognized her kinetic energy and exuberant imagination, recommending to Amber’s mother to enroll her in ballet class. Six years later, 12-year-old Amber made a decision to pursue dance professionally.

“I can’t picture myself doing anything else,” Amber says. “It’s my passion, it’s where my heart is.”

A self-described “freak of change,” Amber loves to push the boundaries of what is deemed impossible, and says she likes to mix things up whenever she can.  She books herself solid with rehearsals and practices, using a meticulously organized and color-coded planner.

“Everyone says I’m involved in too much, but I think I’m in just enough,” she says. “My energy comes from a place I don’t understand, but I hope it never runs out.”

Amber is also the 2013 homecoming queen, and thinks she could even do more with that title. She says that she always wants to promote positivity in her environment and collegiate surroundings, instead of being a passive spectator.

“I would love to be more of a voice on campus,” she says. “I don’t have to wear the crown or anything. I just want to be more involved.”

Amber says she has felt welcome at EMU from the moment she set foot on campus.  The person-centered style to education helped her to connect with her professors on an individual level, who helped to guide her to her strengths.

“The personal approach to education has built so much self-confidence in myself,” she says. “I feel like I learned who I am as a person thanks to EMU.”

Amber’s younger sister, Courtney, also chose to attend EMU, though it was her own decision. She is already involved in many of the same endeavors as her older sister. Along with taking 17 credits, she’s on the dance team, pursuing a minor in dance, and has a small role in “The Fiddler on the Roof.” But, this Lawson sister has an interest in more “left-brain” pursuits. Her major is mechanical engineering and she is a member of the Honors College.

“I’ve liked working on cars my whole life,” Courtney says. “Eventually I’d like to have a car collection of my own and just work on all of them.”

Their father is an engineer, and Courtney says that helping him work on cars while growing up cultivated a passion for engineering. One might be able to catch a glimpse of her cruising around campus in her beloved 99 Cobra Mustang that she and her father labored on together.

“It’s a manual (transmission) and I love it,” she says. “When you’re driving you have to be in tune with the car, which is much like listening to music in dancing.”

Courtney explains that she and Amber plan to move to Los Angeles together after graduation to pursue their shared dancing dream. Courtney says, if that doesn’t pan out, she’ll open a garage and work on cars and be just as fulfilled.

The Lawson sisters share lives and dreams. They are always together, whether it’s at play rehearsal, dance practice, or otherwise–but they both say they wouldn’t have it any other way. They’ve grown up dancing together, so to them, there is nothing more natural than sharing the stage.

“Being able to perform with my sister again has been one of the coolest things,” Amber says. “We are very much a dynamic duo. We even breathe at the same time so our dancing is freakishly close.”

“On stage it’s just so easy,” Courtney says. “It’s kind of weird, we have sister telepathy. We know what each other is thinking.”

Geoff Larcom

glarcom@emich.edu

734.487.4400

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