May

15

Senior Wisdom: Sophie Flack

Written by

Sophie Flack
Sophie Flack

Sophie Flack

Today’s first of who-knows-how-many Senior Wisdom: Sophie Flack, former professional ballet dancer, novelist, and GS graduate who has an entirely justified appreciation for Erik Gray.

Name, Hometown, School: Sophie Flack, Watertown, MA (fun fact: my childhood home is less than two blocks from where bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev was hiding in a boat!), GS; English Literature.

Claim to fame? I left home right after my 15th birthday to pursue my dream of dancing with the New York City Ballet. After a nine-year career with the company, I wrote BUNHEADS, a novel inspired by my experiences dancing in the corps de ballet—while enrolled at Columbia.

Where are you going? Leave New York? Are you insane? In terms of figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, I’m hoping to do some more dance review (I have a piece in the next issue of Ballet Review magazine, and I post my recent reviews and essays here). I’ve also been working on a few television scripts, including an adaptation of my book (no, that ABC Family show has no relation to my novel, other than the extremely clever title…) that I’d like to put into the ether and see what happens.

3 things you learned at Columbia:

  • Drop the attitude, because you don’t know everything. Enter class with humility, and be willing to ask for help when you’re lost. People seem a lot smarter when they admit that they don’t understand, than when they pretend they do.
  • Some of the most fascinating courses I took were the ones I dreaded the most.
  • Bubble tea at Café East will satisfy your oral fixation through your longest lectures. Important tip: make sure to ration your bubbles, so you can make it last through class.
  • Typing notes on an iPad is the fastest method for note taking. It’s been proven (by me).
  • Brownies Café (in the basement of Avery) has the BEST molasses cookies. The Avery library is the best place to do work on campus, but you have to smuggle in your cookie… and your bubble tea.

Back in my day…. Metrocards cost $1.50, and unsolicited windshield-squeegeeing was a thing.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: You can follow my existence on twitter: @SophieFlack.

Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: Dear Erik Gray, you are the dreamiest professor of them all.

I am also an enormous fan of Mindy Aloff at Barnard, and Frank Pulgliese (School of the Arts, film department). These professors really give a damn, they’re super encouraging, and just generally awesome people.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I went out in a blizzard to find us some cheese.

One thing to do before graduating: Yes, you need to prioritize your schoolwork, but you also want to develop into an interesting person (nod yes). You do not get street cred from hanging out on campus. For the love of God, get out of this 5 block radius, take the subway downtown, and explore. Go to the galleries in Chelsea, go see some live performance, go check out Brooklyn (gasp!), and meet some people who aren’t enrolled at Columbia (double gasp!). You might actually learn something.

Any regrets? I regret my answer to question #8.

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30 Comments

  1. Anonymous  

    oh hey Angela

  2. CC '13  

    for somebody that's so clever, you clearly don't understand the meaning of "3 things"

  3. seas 2013

    how have i never seen this lovely lady?

  4. CC 14  

    Didn't know senior wisdom was for self promotion of your books and writing but ok.

    • Seriously?  

      All of the self-plugs (all THREE of them) were totally legitimate, given the prompts. Her claim to fame is dancing with the NYCB and writing a book about the experience. Was she just supposed to make up something else, something less apparently pompous? Likewise, the "Where are you going?" question is pretty openly meant for talking about future endeavors - Sophie just happens to be in a position to add a hyperlink to hers. Same goes for the twitter handle - why tell when you can show?

      I'd be a lot more sympathetic to your complaint if there was more self-promotion than wisdom in this SW, but in all honesty there's a lot of really sound advice here & I don't think there's much justification for discounting it just because she took some time to talk about herself (like all the other SWs).

      Sophie, keep on rockin' in the free world.

      -CC'14

  5. The Columbian

    She has her own Wikipedia page. Dayum.

  6. Alibaba  

    Instead of what the public demands (The Dark Hand), we get this sh...t. Bwog, you are becoming boring.

    p.s. I'm at GS as well.

  7. Why did I read this  

    BORING

  8. Cooper

    Love this lady! She's funny and obviously talented. Thanks for posting!

  9. A Fan

    Glad this was posted. Real wisdom from an amazing woman who does, most definitely, have streed cred.

  10. huh

    Google Images would seem to suggest she is dating or very friendly with that guy from Dead Poet's Society.....?

  11. um  

    she is average looking

  12. Anonymous

    Impressive woman. Congratulations!

  13. Anonymous  

    #tdh4seniourwizdum.

  14. GS '13

    No knock on Sophie - she's quite the talent - but I would also love to see a Senior Wisdom from a GSer who's played a notable role in student life at Columbia.

  15. Jon

    This senior has smarts, beauty, humor, and an amazing career. Her book is a big success, too. Glad that SW highlighted her!

  16. Jon

    She was a beautiful dancer before she came to CC, and her book is a big success, too. Glad that SW highlighted her!

  17. Anonymous

    WHAT! A Columbia girl wrote Bunheads?!? I F*CKING LOVE BUNHEADS!

    Thanks for Bunheads, *scrolls up* Sophie, it's really awesome. :) Good luck!

  18. I'd Tap That  

    I'd tap that..

  19. disappointed

    dont know her and thus have no personal investment in her success/failure...but her book sucked. I read a promotional type of thing the NYT did on her before she wrote it, and was really excited to read the book; she said she wanted to do a kind of updated "Winter SEason"...total failure, her book was subpar young adult idiocy. I'd say writing for TV is about the right niche for her particular, er, talent or lack therof.
    and unfortunately agree that for someone who describes herself as clever this interview is lacking "wisdom," insight or even any remotely interesting point of view. much like her book.
    (

  20. ps

    ....p.s. if she writes another book and it's better i take it all back. but at the momentshe's not "a pretty big deal," most of her press has come from her getting fired on masse from nycb, and whether or not peter martins treats the corps fairly...so far no real attention for her own talents in either dance or writing, jsut her circumstances. but I sincerely want someone at nycb (or formerly of) to write a better book about being in the corps.

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