Sibling performers find connection, success on the Phoenix stage

The Department of Performing Arts has tracked the careers of siblings who participated in the department's programs and are now pursuing their professional dreams.

For Elon Performing Arts siblings Nicole Ivan ‘16 and Allison Ivan ‘19, stage fright doesn’t run in the family. Take it from these two B.F.A dancers — dancing into the Elon Performing Arts legacy makes McCrary Theater feel much more alive.

Nicole and Allison Ivan were both students in Elon’s B.F.A. Dance Program.

Upon research, the department has found that many siblings once singing backup have found their solo spotlight here at Elon with the comfort of a loved brother or sister in the wings. Many sibling pairs have journeyed through the program, with both now bearing the honorable badge of “Elon Performing Arts Alum”. What are these shining stars up to in post-Elon life? Let’s find out.

Elon’s championed Musical Theater Program has been home to the wonderful Cara Mcniff ‘18 and Chris Mcniff ‘14, as well brother duo Jeffrey Todd Parrott ‘12 and Joshua Parrott ‘16. Currently, Chris and Cara reside in New York City where they are working ardently to build their resumés. Chris recently finished his third year on a National Tour of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” and is rehearsing for a production of “Hair” at the Nebraska Repertory Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he’ll play the role of Claude. Cara, having just graduated from Elon in 2018, was fortunate to work as a performer at two theme parks until the end of October. She is now auditioning throughout New York City, excited for what the future holds.

Jeffrey Todd Parrott, now a member of Actors’ Equity, has been performing and teaching at renowned theaters such as Orlando Shakespeare, Asolo Repertory and Saint Michael’s Playhouse. In an effort to seek more education, he is a pursuing an MFA in Acting at The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago. His brother Joshua is following a similar path. Having performed and taught artists at notable theaters such as Orlando Shakespeare, Garden Theater and Mad Cow Theater, Joshua is now pursuing further education studying for his LSATs in hopes of working in entertainment law. The department wishes these two the best of luck in their respective journeys.

Elon’s Dance Performance and Choreography Program have been graced with the presence of sisters Meg Wagner ‘13 and Kara Wagner ’16, Nicole Ivan ‘16 and Allison Ivan ‘19, and Aislinn Koch ‘14 and Fiona Koch ‘16.

Dynamic duet Nicole and Allison Ivan both show great admiration for what the dance program as done for them. Nicole has been dancing with prominent, Pittsburgh-based contemporary ballet company Bodiography for three years and is in the process of applying to medical schools. Both the Ivan sisters can be credited for not just excelling at the ballet barre, but in academia as well. Allison, soon to walk the Elon graduation stage, shares that she has the Elon Dance Program to thank for her future endeavors, “Because of Elon, I am pursuing my Masters in Accountancy at Wake Forest University next year where I will be specializing in tax,” Allison said. “If it wasn’t for the Elon Dance Program’s wonderful training and teachings, my sister and I wouldn’t be who we are today, and because of that, I could not be more grateful for this program or for this faculty.”

On a different note, sisters Meaghan and Kara Wagner are now on contrasting paths in their careers after having both received the same BFA training here at Elon. Right after concluding her time at Elon in 2013, Meg found herself teaching technique classes while gathering the needed credits for physical therapy school. She is currently finishing her last semester in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Maryland Eastern. Upon graduation from that program, Meg is looking forward to practicing physical therapy, specifically with the performing arts community. After completing both a BFA in dance performance and choreography and a bachelor’s in Strategic Communications, Kara attended Elon’s iMedia program, obtaining her Master’s Interactive Media. She is now finishing her second season in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens in their Digital Media Department.

Graduating from Elon in 2014 with a double major in dance performance and choreography and communications, Aislinn Koch leaped into more education, attending Seton Hall University of Law and is now a law clerk for The Hon. Terry Paul Bottinelli, J.S.C in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Bergen County. Fiona, on the other hand, after her training at Elon moved to Orlando, Florida, in hopes of dancing for the Walt Disney Company. She now dances in a multitude of performances at Walt Disney World. The Koch sisters feel their experience at Elon, especially in the Dance Performance and Choreography Program was invaluable. They hope more siblings have as wonderful of a time as they did completely the Elon experience together.

Elon’s Acting Program has felt the emotional range of splendid sisters Rachel Pusey ‘19 and Rebekah Pusey ‘21. The only siblings to ever both train in Elon’s Acting Program, these sisters come from a family of eight and were surprised and nervous to study at the collegiate level together. Rachel now finishing her senior year at Elon and has benefited from a wide variety of performance opportunities. Following in Rachel’s soon-to-be legacy, Rebekah recently completed performing in “Arcadia” and is preparing to study abroad in London. Rebekah is elated to have pursued an Elon BFA with her sister feeling they have grown closer and established a deeper family connection. “It’s been wonderful to talk about the industry, technique, and what being a strong actor is in today’s world with my sister,” Rebekah said. “​I now couldn’t imagine my Elon University acting experience any other way.”

The Performing Arts Department here at Elon continues to expand and is thankful for the sibling legacies that have trained under and graced these artistic programs.