UCF’s Most Talked About New Girl

Not many students can say within the first few months of their freshman year of college that they were already making a household name for themselves. One lucky lady has done just that. Tiffany Maher has already made waves in the Greek community from her stellar performances in both KD Shakedown and ZTA Lip-sync. There has been so much hype around this new member of Zeta Tau Alpha, that I felt the need to see what she is all about. Here is an inside view of this remarkable young lady:
 
Q: Tell us a little about yourself -- where are you from, what do you study, and what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: I am a native of Fort Lauderdale, FL where I attended South Plantation High School. I choose to come to the University of Central Florida because my older sister, who is also my best friend, goes here. I am studying Advertising/ Public Relations with a minor in dance. In my free time, I enjoy dancing, obviously. I love to relax, spend time with my family, and watching football with my dad. I also enjoy going to the beach and watching movies. Basically, just being a normal college girl.
 
Q: How old were you when you started dancing?
A: I was three. It is kind of a funny story of how I began dancing. I would always go with my mom to watch my older sister’s dance practices where I would sit in my stroller in the back of the room. As I watched more practices, I began to pick up the dance routine. I was a little younger than three. There was a show coming up and the dance teacher brought a costume and a pair of shoes for me. I had never taken a dance class, but she put me on stage anyways.

Q: It is evident you are passionate about dancing. Where did this passion come from?
A: Honestly, there is nothing else that compares to dance in my life. I mean my family is my rock, but dance is my outlet. Whenever I am having a bad day, dance changes everything around! To me, it is better than ice cream! Dance is the love of my life. When you care about something so much, you are bound to be extremely passionate about it. When I’m dancing I’m in my happy place.
 
Q: Did you ever think about dancing for Knightmoves?
A: I thought about it, but I decided against it but it was too time-consuming. I cheered in high school, so I never got to experience being in the stands during football games. I wanted to be a normal college student. I dance in studios around UCF.
 
Q: Where do you dance around UCF?
A:Well, I am getting a minor in dance so I take classes through the University and I also take classes through UPAC (which stands for University Performing Arts Center) studios. It’s really nice because the UPAC studio is really close.
 
Q: What are your favorite styles of dance?
A: My favorite styles of dance are jazz, lyrical and hip-hop.
 
Q: What are some of your most proud accomplishments through dance?
A: When I was 12, I received the Tremaine teen dancer of the year award out of all the girls who that went to Tremaine that year, which were ages 12 to 15. Every since I received that award, I’ve traveled with Tremaine all over the country performing with their company. (Check out this website to see Tiffany's accomplishments within the Tremaine company! ) I’ve been so blessed to be able to travel across the country to do the one thing I love most in the world.
I’ve also gotten to dance in the Michael’s awards, and Jazz Fest in Costa Rica for people who could not afford to come to the United States to watch us perform. I won JUMP Senior VIP dancer.
 
Recently after I turned 18, I got the opportunity to audition for a dancing role in the upcoming movie Rock of Ages. My idol, Mia Michaels, held the audition. It was the most intense audition I’ve ever been through. I was auditioning against dancers that I look up too. It was so nerve-racking.  The producer/director for Rock of Ages, Adam Shankman, was there watching the audition. I was able to meet the cast of the movie, which has some high-profile actors including Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige, Julianne Hough, and Russell Brand.
 
Q: What exactly is Rock of Ages?
A: A Broadway musical turned into a movie coming June 2012.
 
Q: If you don’t mind me asking, was this dancing job paid?
A: Yes. But I would’ve it for free. I had to sign a SAG (screen actors guild) contract.
 
Q: How was it dancing for one of your idols, Mia Michaels?
A: Working with Mia Michaels was the most inspirational experiences ever. It’s difficult to put it into words. She gave me my first professional dancing job, so I idolize her! I wish everyday I could go back to this past summer. Everyday, I was in awe of her. In the beginning, I thought for sure that my baby face would get me cut. But Mia believed in me. There was so much pressure, but I feel that I matured because I had to rise to the occasion. Her guidance made me a stronger dancer and person. I feel so blessed being able to work for her!

Q: Who were some of the dancers you got to perform with this summer?
A: I was lucky enough to dance beside Will Wingfield, Jamie Goodwin, Anya Garnis, Courtney Galiano from the TV show So You Think You Can Dance. I also danced with assistant choreographer from Glee, Brooke Lipton. Another amazing dancer that I got to perform with was Joey Dowling. The people I was getting to dance next to were people I looked up to my entire life.
 
Q: What projects are you involved in right now?
A: I am currently in the process of filming Step-up 4, where I have a dancing part as well. I had to sign another SAG (screen actors guild) contract. I have gotten to work with incredible people in that production, too. From april to now, it’s been such a blur. I can’t believe this all has happened. I think to myself everyday how lucky am I involved in this.

Q: What have you done to date to make your dreams become a reality?
A: Honestly, dancing is my passion so I did everything in my power to be the best I could. In high school, it was difficult to stick with it because I had to miss out on a lot of things, but it has been so worth it. I have worked so hard to get where am I today, and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Dance has also made me a better person all around. It has given me such discipline and that’s why I feel I have done so well in school.

From April until now, it has been such a blur. I have been lucky enough to land dancing roles in two different movies. I honestly get emotional every time I think about it because it’s so surreal. Dancing is what has made me so happy so I do not want to give it up for anything else.
 
Q: What is some advice you’d like to give up and coming dancers?
A: The thing about dance is that you’re never really good enough because there is always more to learn. Dance is ever changing. My advice is to strive to stretch yourself and go the extra mile. Always venture to be an influence in someone’s life because you never know who is watching. Also, be your hardest critic. Most importantly love what you do and don’t give up on it no matter what comes your way.
           
Q: Has dance every made you overcome obstacles?
A: Dance helped me get through the typical high school drama that everyone deals with. It really helped me get closer with my sister. The people I danced with were a whole different group of people. They were much more like me. They helped me realize that this is the only life I have. I only need to worry about myself because in the end that’s all that matter. Dance is like an escape, or even a dreamland. It has helped me get over difficult times. It has also made me so much stronger as a woman.
 
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years with dance?
A: I see myself in L.A., dancing. I know if I didn’t try it out I would regret it for the rest of my life. I would go to L.A. right now, but I like school too much! Also, if I were to ever get hurt I would need my degree to fall back on. But I’ll always have degree to fall back on. School is my priority, but dance is my passion!
 
Q: What would your dream audition/ dance job be?
A: Something what I would love to do would be on So You Think You Can Dance! I would also love to go on tour with an artist and work as a back up dancer. I don’t have Bieber fever, but I would love to go on tour with him, because I feel his concerts would have so much energy it would be a blast dancing in that type of environment. My dream though would be to maybe land the lead role in a dance-oriented movie. Possibly, the next Footloose?
 
Q: What are some other things you are passionate about?
 A: I’m so thankful for what I’ve learned from my dance teachers, that I felt like I needed to give back to the community. I started a dance program at the Boys and Girls club called the “The Starlets” I would go there once a week, sometimes more. The children in my dance program were so excited and grateful that would run to me and give me the biggest hugs before each class.  For the Christmas show, I got my dancers Santa hats. They were so precious! Being able to be a mentor in their lives has probably been one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve had in my life.
 
Q: What are some things people do not know about you?
A: Well, I’m actually a tomboy. Outside of the glitz and glam of dance, I act like such a guy. If I could I would lounge everyday. During rush, my sister had to pick out all of my outfits because I was planning being as casual as possible! Another interesting fact is that I actually came into UCF with enough credits to be a sophomore. I passed eleven A.P. exams in high school. I was selected to be in the Honors College and the Leads Scholar program but I had to decline for this semester because I am taking basic classes so I can commute back and forth from South Florida to film the movie Step-up 4.
 
Well there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Tiffany Maher is not only an incredible dancer, but also one of the most genuine people that I have ever met. This talented lady does not let all of the hype get to her head. Her down-to-earth upbringing keeps her levelheaded. She reminds herself every day of how lucky she is. She left me with a quote that she lives by from one of her idol, Mia Michaels. “There is only one of us ever in the world, and it is up to me how I want to leave my legacy. Every day passes and it will never happen again so I need to live my life and be completely used up. Don’t ever hold back. If you don’t bring everything you have to the table, you will regret it later in life.” Do not forget about this gifted dancer, because you will undoubtedly see her name in lights one day!