Patricia Woodburn Cloutier '83

Which dorm(s) did you live in?
Page and Best.

What are your favorite memories of Colby-Sawyer?
Well, of course Mountain Day was so much fun, and winning first place in the Talent Show. And all of the time spent in the dance studio and theatre. "Godspell" was a great show to perform there.

Which staff or faculty member had the biggest impact on you?
Julie Larsen, who was my dance professor and advisor, opened my eyes to life outside small town New Hampshire by taking me to New York City for the first time when I was 18. And Patrick Anderson. He probably would not remember me, for I wasn't the most disciplined or dedicated student academically (all I wanted to do was dance and theatre), but I found him very inspiring. It was very interesting studying films like "Citizen Kane" and stars like Charlie Chaplin under Professor Anderson's direction. It's great to see that he is still there, continuing to inspire I'm sure.

How do you think your classmates remember you?
Best Dorm used to give out superlative awards at the end of the year and I won the "non-conformist" award, so possibly some might remember me by that. And maybe my late night impromptu song and dance performances at Page!

Where do you live now?
In the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire.

What are you doing these days?
I own and direct a dance studio, the Monadnock Performing Arts Academy. I also perform in two bands: Ivy LeVine and chum and The Nines. Recently, I also completed a Web ad for Dawn dishwashing liquid that featured my finger-dancing puppets Yvette & Yvonne.

That's a lot of activity! Tell us more about these puppets.
I found them in New London back in 1981 at a toy store that was going out of business. I had always danced with my hands, but after finding the puppets, they really came to life with character. Finger puppetry was really an extension of my dance training, a way of practicing with just my hands when dancing with my entire body was not appropriate or possible. I wanted to practice my dancing partner's part as well, so I used both hands.

How did you end up appearing in the Dawn ad?
My husband put a video of Yvette & Yvonne on YouTube and a representative from Proctor & Gamble saw it and contacted me. There were seven hand talents flown to New York for the ad, which turned into a contest of sorts to attract visitors to the Web site. In the end, I was crowned “Finger Dance Champion”! You can see the ad at www.dawnhandtalent.com.

Speaking of ads...what's your favorite TV show?
"Sunday Morning" with Charles Osgood and "That '70s Show."

Favorite movie?
"The Gay Divorcee" with Fred Astaire. The opening scene is a Paris nightclub featuring dancing finger puppets like Yvonne & Yvette on a rotating stage!

Last book read?
Wally Lamb's I'll Fly Away.

Favorite puppet? Aside from Yvonne or Yvette, of course!
Lamb Chop.

Any words of advice for current Colby-Sawyer students?
Colby-Sawyer maintains a very special place in my heart. I grew up a lot there. I had to leave for a semester to figure out what my priorities were, but I returned to complete my degree. I would encourage students to get the most that they can while they are there, for it will go by fast. Though you might slip up along the way, be persistent and don't give up, for there are good people there who will support you. And don't be afraid to talk to your teachers about any issues you have going on.


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