Dancing all the way to graduation

As a stay-at-home mom, Renee Fabian raised her three children on a tight budget.

When her daughter, Kaitlyn Fabian, came to her at the age of 10, she wanted to be a gymnast. But the financial means to put her in classes weren’t available. So, instead, Renee Fabian enrolled her daughter in dance classes.

Come graduation day, Kaitlyn Fabian will reflect upon how God closed one door and opened another, as she will be the first to graduate from Youngstown State University, with a degree in dance management. She is one of the keynote speakers for YSU’s spring 2012 commencement.

“I believe that God directed my path to dance,” Kaitlyn Fabian said. “I am very honored to be in this position to be the leadoff with this new major.”

For three years, she took classes at YSU with an undeclared major and a dance minor. She credits her adviser, Christine Cobb, for guiding and preparing her for the new major.

“She knew that we were working towards the new major, and she knew that was what she wanted to do,” Cobb said.

Cobb has been working with Kaitlyn Fabian for four years.

Although Renee Fabian was worried about her daughter picking a major before her scholarship ran out, Kaitlyn Fabian said she had no doubts.

“I just started taking the classes before I was technically in the major, and God put me right where he wanted me,” Kaitlyn Fabian said.

She teaches dance at Chaney High School and the studio where it all started, Ruth’s Dance and Fitness.

Kaitlyn Fabian is also involved with the YSU Dance Ensemble. At the spring concert, she’ll perform a solo during “Shadow of Your Wings.” It’s a song that will pay homage to her relationship with God, she said.

“That’s such a big part of me and a big reason why I dance. … I’m most passionate when I dance. So, I’m excited to do that,” Kaitlyn Fabian said.

Renee Fabian said she saw her daughter’s interest in dance spark at a young age, especially when she performed with her church’s children’s choir.

She added that she knows the exact moment her daughter wanted to pursue dancing as a career.

It was when the two saw Ballet Magnificat, a premier Christian dance company that travels and performs worldwide.

“We went and saw them, and it was amazing how they could tell a story through dance,” Renee Fabian said. “We looked at each other with tears in our eyes, and she said, ‘I want to do that, Mom.’”

They then made an effort to see Ballet Magnificat whenever a performance was nearby.

“I am so blessed and honored to be her mother,” Renee Fabian said.

Kaitlyn Fabian said she’s nervous about speaking on stage instead of dancing, but she knows God will give her the words.

“With dance, you memorize your moves, and it’s all there, and then you just do it. But, now, it’s like I’m going to have a piece of paper in front of me, and I have to remember my lines. So, that should be interesting,” Kaitlyn Fabian said. “It’s probably easier to dance and not open your mouth.”

She said she’s honored to be the undergraduate speaker.

Kaitlyn Fabian plans to continue teaching dance and expanding her horizons. She’d like to one day open a Christian-centered dance school.

“This is really just the beginning for her,” Renee Fabian said.