Gabrielle Quintana supported her studies in Latin, Greek, and dance by working at Starbucks and teaching Portland kids to read. The mask was a gift from Ellen Millender [classics 2002–] who brought it back from Sparta.
Photo by Matt D'Annunzio
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Adviser: Sonia Sabnis [classics 2006–]
Thesis: Paideia through Choreia: An Analysis of Athenian Ritual Dance as Education
What it’s about: In Plato’s tripartite view of the soul, the lowest aspect, which is the hardest to control, craves drink, sex, food, and all the earthly pleasures. It’s the Dionysian side of who you are. By the end of his life, Plato thought that instead of rejecting it or stifling it, we should embrace that part of ourselves and train it through dance.
What it’s really about: Even Plato likes to dance.
When I got to Reed I was: The nerdy cheerleader excited to study her butt off.
Influential book: Plato’s Republic emphasizes the importance of a ruthless pursuit for knowledge. Without consciously seeking the truth, people just sort of bumble through life.
Favorite spot: There is a stunningly beautiful cherry tree on the front lawn with a low-hanging branch to prop up my head while I study.
Random thoughts: In our scientific world, we hear the word “myth” and think, “Not proven, not true.” For the ancient minds, myths were the way they constructed and lived their lives, and in that way they became real.
Cool stuff I did: I learned ancient Greek, Latin, and Labanotation, the language of symbols choreographers use to record movement. With this language I worked with Professor Hannah Kosstrin [dance 2010–] to stage a piece by Anna Sokolow.
How Reed changed me: Coming from a single-parent household, I had no idea that Reed could be a possibility. Once here, I realized that my life before Reed had been very different from most of the student body and though I felt it was the perfect institution for me, at times I wondered if I deserved this education. After working hard and seeing myself grow so much, I’ve realized I did truly deserve this experience because I will use my education to actively give back to our society.
Scholarships, awards, financial aid: My financial aid included a work-study component. I worked as a tutor for about 10 hours a week, teaching first grade and helping second, third, and fourth graders with their literacy. It got me into the classroom, and now I know it’s what I’m meant to do. I also worked as a barista at Starbucks about 15 hours a week for all four years. The generosity of the Reed community is unbelievable, and I cannot wait to give back and help to provide this experience for someone else.
What’s next: I’m going to Hawaii as part of Teach for America.
Plato Does the Twist. Gabrielle Quintana ’12 looked at Plato’s ideas about dance and society. (Plato actually changed his mind, she discovered, which shows that philosophers can groove, too.)