Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

SHU’s Dance Enthusiast: Tanya Payne

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Sacred Heart chapter.

“Tanya Payne is probably one of the most realist people I’ve ever had the chance to meet. She is kind, considerate, passionate, always there when you need her and just an overall awesome person. Side note, she has some of the most incredible dance moves ever… I know that my life wouldn’t be the same without her in my life.” – Thomas Bovino


Rapid Fire Questions

Year: 2014

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Franklin, MA

College: Sacred Heart University

Campus Involvement: Community Connections, SHU Dance Ensemble, GE Scholars, Volunteer Programs and Service Learning, Student Nurse Association, Habitat for Humanity, & Relay for Life participant.

Favorite Food FRENCH FRIES!

Favorite Dessert? Ice Cream

Chocolate or Vanilla Ice Cream? Vanilla. All day.

Where are you most likely to be found? At the Pitt, in the fishbowl, headphones in.

Favorite TV Show/Movie? 50/50 or The Dark Knight.




Community Connections 2013


“Tanya Payne is one of the few people I have a tremendous amount of admiration for. She conducts herself in a way that is like no other, with poise & respect. Tanya has a way of inspiring others around her, without realizing it. She has inspired me as a dancer to challenge myself. She believed in me within dance when I didn’t believe in myself. If you have not seen her dance, you need to come to SHU FORCE’s practice because this girl is EXTREMLY talented. She brings so much emotion to the table when dancing. Tanya is going to go very far in life with her passion and dedication. Tanya Payne has made an impact on my life and I know she has on others too. Love you Tanya!” – Shannon Muscara  




Get Inside Tanya’s Head

What is a quote that resonates with you?

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross


“Tanya is the best choreographer I’ve ever been honored to work with. She believes in your ability when you don’t and she’ll never put you down for struggling with a move. She’s a kind, nurturing spirit and one of the biggest inspirations to me. I’m going to be truly disheartened when she graduates but she will make an amazing nurse.” – Melanie Vollono


What is something not a lot of people know about you?

I’m actually a pretty decent artist, or used to be ( I haven’t really drawn in a while). I wanted to go to art school before I found nursing.


“Tanya is a special individual; she is one of a kind. She is a spectacular dancer.” – anonymous 


Who has the greatest Influence on your life?

Probably my sister, Alana. We’re twins. She knows me really well and accepts me just the way that I am. She pushes me out of my comfort zone a lot, but it’s always made me that much better of a person. If anyone is going to encourage or influence me to do something, it’s going to be her– she’s the only one I will listen to.


Left to Right: Alana (Tanya’s Sister), Tanya


“Tanya is one of the most authentic people I know. She is true to herself in everyway and through all of her actions. Her heart, her spirit and her desire to be truly great in all that she does has led her to so many accomplishments already in life. Whether it is in dance, nursing or life, she inspires others to channel her level of passion. She is one of my greatest friends and I’m lucky to have her in my life.” – Kate Gallagher


What motivates you to be a nurse?

“I love helping others. If there is someone in need, I want to do something about it. Having the privilege of not only watching, but also actually helping someone heal is unbelievable. I was pretty sick at one point of my life and the people who made my path to wellness were the nurses. I want to do for others what they have done for me.”

Left to Right: Tanya Payne, Madison Loren, Annie Conlon


Where do you see yourself in ten years?

“I really want to go to Seattle and live there. Hopefully I’ll be there working as a nurse in pediatrics and/or have started grad school. Maybe I’ll be married. I don’t really know, I never really think that far ahead.”


“Tanya is one of the most selfless individuals I had the privilege of meeting here at SHU. She is a strong individual with a big heart. She is one of my best friends that I know I can trust and I will always have her back. She is the ideal friend” – Joey Falcone


When and why did you start dancing?

I started dancing when I was 13 years old. I had been a gymnast my whole life and my dad (who is 6’ 5”) told me I needed to pick something else to do because I was going to be too tall to keep doing gymnastics. So I picked dance because I could do acrobatics. I ended up loving it.


“Tanya has such an incredible energy about her not only when she dances but all around. She is always there to lend a hand or just give a smile! “ – Siobhan McCarthy


Why do you dance?

“It’s my release, my escape. It’s my thing. It is limitless to me. If I’m having a bad day, I dance it out. If I’m having a great day, I dance it out. I’m a very reserved person for the most part when it comes to expressing how I truly feel about something. Dancing does for me what words cannot.”

Tanya doing a handstand in the freshman dorms. 


You choreographed a dance for the SHU Dance Ensemble Kickoff that happened this past week. Why did you decide to choreograph a contemporary style of dance?

“Contemporary is my style, I guess. It’s where I feel most comfortable. I like that I can do anything I want with it. When I do contemporary, there are no boundaries. I can be as ugly or as pretty as I want. With this piece specifically, I wanted people to feel uninhibited loneliness, what it feels like to have someone you love walk away from you. I wanted people to watch this and be able to feel, confront, and relate to that moment of loss. Though it was a beautiful piece, I wanted people to, ultimately, feel heartbroken.”

                                                                          SHU “FORCE” Dance Ensemble E-Board 2013-2014! From left to right: Dana Kinlen, Jess Berard, MariaElena DiStefano, Shannon Muscara, Tanya Payne, and Jenn Correnty


What would you say to a first year student here at SHU?

“Be yourself. People will love you for you, so don’t try to be anything you’re not and don’t do anything you’re not comfortable doing. Be confident in who you are and if people don’t like you for it, whatever.”


“Since day one I have admired Tanya. She is an incredible dancer and has pushed me to limits that I didn’t even know I could reach. I think I grew a lot as a contemporary dancer because of her. She has a real talent and I’m glad I have gotten the opportunity to see her use it.” – Cristina Zangaglia


Tell us about your experience with Community Connections.

“Community connections (CC) is a pre-fall program here at SHU that I did when I was a freshman. You come to school a week early, live in a church in inner Bridgeport, and do community service for the week. Participating in the program is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I love community service– it’s something I’m really passionate about. CC allowed me to meet and connect with people who were just as passionate about service. I met my best friends on that trip and, to this day, they are still my best friends. I was able to be a leader on the trip for the past two years and the experience just gets better every time. It’s amazing to watch the desire for change spread so quickly through the group throughout the week. It’s also really gratifying to see that the week is just as moving for the participants as it was for me when I was a freshman. Honestly, this program was one of the most definitive moments of my college career and has had a huge impact in molding me into the person I am now.”

Community Connections 2014


Would you say the friendships you have made here at SHU will continue in life after college?

“Definitely. The friendships I’ve made here have left such an impression on my life. Am I expecting to remain in contact with every friend I’ve made here? Probably not. But there are definitely people that I don’t think I could quite let go of, no matter how far away from them I am.”

If you do not know Tanya Payne, you should make an effort to get to know her because she is one UNIQUE human being!



Her Campus Placeholder Avatar
Shannon Muscara

Sacred Heart

Shannon Muscara is a junior majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Fashion Marketing as well as a minor in fashion design. She is set to graduate in 2015 from Scared Heart university. This will be her third consecutive year on the Dean’s list at the university.  Shannon is currently residing in Fairfield,Ct, where she attends school, but her hometown is Mahopac, NY. When she isn’t studying for class, Shannon enjoys hip hop dancing on SHU FORCE Dance Ensemble (currently SHU Dance Ensemble) where she holds an executive board position as secretary. Since joining the ensemble her freshman year of college, her passion for dance has soared, pushing herself to be a stronger dancer. Shannon is also involved with her school’s Fashion Club where she holds another executive board position as community outreach chair. As a member of Chi Omega Sorority, Shannon has helped Make-A-Wish foundation raise money to grant wishes for children with life-threatening medical illnesses.  Shannon lives her life as a positive role model and is inspired by the following quote. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” - Eleanor Roosevelt 
Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart '24

The official contributor profile for the Her Campus chapter at Sacred Heart.