From Shakespeare to Shaking His Groove Thing

After graduating from Maryland in 2000 with his BA in English, Mick took on a double life. By day he discussed Shakespeare in AP English classes at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, MD. By night he was gyrating wildly on stage with his dance rock quintet at clubs in D.C. and Baltimore.

danceparty.jpg"During 2008 and 2009, it became apparent that I would have a chance to play music for a living," says Mick. The Dance Party signed a contract with Atlantic Records and Mick is currently hard at work on their debut album, slated for spring 2010 release.

Now, The Dance Party is performing their catchy pop rock grooves at venues in LA and has been featured on the MTV show Styl'd. But Mick is quick to point out a deep structure in their frenetic style. According to The Washingtonian, Mick "delivers high-energy vocals and catchy lyrics on top of synth-pop beats that have you wishing you'd busted out leg warmers before hitting the dance floor." That takes rhythm, rhythm that Mick says he has drawn from his time in Susquehanna Hall. With Barry Pearson, Mick explored the work of Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson. With Jane Donawerth, he studied music's influence on literature, especially Charlie Parker and jazz poetry.

"I view all of the novels, stories, poems, songs, and films that I absorbed as influences for my music," says Mick. "I had a blast as an English major. I loved Professor Olmert's class. I remember laughing uncontrollably while reading one of Sheridan's plays in McKeldin. People were looking at me like I was crazy."

Mick built a corpus of poetic influences that taught him how to engage an audience and how to make them feel. The music of the language nourished the budding rock star. "Teaching literature and learning about literature allows one to be observant of the world around you. It allowed me to think about experiences outside of my own and let me view my own experiences in different ways."

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Mick's Advice to
Current English Majors
    Don't play it safe. Leave your comfort zone and experience as many forms of literature as you can. I found that when you open yourself up to other writers and styles, it allows for growth in your own writing and thinking.
    Studying canonical authors like Shakespeare and Homer early in your college career gives you a great foundation for understanding contemporary storytelling and characterization.
    Take film and art classes so you can hone your observations to different media. Analyzing the nuances of paintings and film can illuminate your reading in startling ways.