Dancer, choreographer and entrepreneur Madeline Douglas plans to perform, teach and sew


Name: Madeline Douglas

College: College of Fine Arts and Communication

Major: Dance performance and choreography, certificate in entrepreneurship    

Age: 22

Classification/Year: Senior

Hometown: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Hobbies/interests: Dancing, sewing, taking walks outside and making crafts

Clubs and Organizations: Dance Science Club, National Honors Society for Dance Arts, East Carolina Dance Association, Fine Arts Funding Board Representative for ECU Loessin Playhouse


Favorite hangout: My apartment with my roommates

Favorite place on campus: Messick Theatre Arts Center

Favorite place to eat: Coastal Fog

Favorite class: Contemporary or modern dance

Professor who influenced you the most: All my dance professors have greatly influenced me. They have taught me so many valuable lessons that I will carry with me long into my professional career.

Favorite bands/musicians: Dermot Kennedy, Empara Mi, and James Vincent McMorrow

Favorite superhero: My favorite superhero is my dad. He has so many different talents and can learn to do just about anything.


Dream job: I would love to perform professionally with a contemporary dance company as well as be a choreographer for concert dance works. I would love for these two jobs to provide opportunities for me to travel the country.

Role model: My mom is my role model. She works so hard every day to help provide for our family. She is so selfless, genuine and compassionate.

What advice do you have for other students? Stay true to yourself and be open to trying new things! Don’t let anyone influence you to compromise your standards.

East Carolina University’s Madeline Douglas is a multi-talented dancer, choreographer and entrepreneur who will graduate with honors this week, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance performance and choreography and a certificate in entrepreneurship.

She hopes to move to Chicago to perform professionally in a contemporary dance company as well as teach and choreograph for studios, companies and dance festivals. She also plans to continue making dancewear, activewear and custom costumes through her business, Alinement Dancewear, which she started at the end of her sophomore year at ECU while at home in Winston-Salem during the pandemic.

“I hand sew all of my dancewear as well as design the styles myself,” said Douglas, who started sewing in high school. “I get style ideas from peers in addition to the ones I design, and I collaborate with directors and choreographers for custom costumes.”

You’re apt to see other ECU students modeling the Made in the USA dancewear on her website, with photos taken by modern dance professor John Dixon. Her brother photographs other models from her hometown studio.

ECU grad profile Madeline Douglas poses on campus.

Douglas, who hand sews dancewear, started her own business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While dance is a time-consuming major in addition to rehearsals and productions, Douglas says it’s easy to find time for everything because she really enjoys it.

Last summer, she and two of her roommates received three ECU grants — Accelerate Rural NC, ECU I-Corps and Innovation Design Lab Fellowship — to help expand the business. They pored over customer reviews, grew the company’s social media, developed new styles and expanded the size range, and sewed ready-to-ship and custom products.

“We also began experimenting with dyeing fabric to make our own unique colors of fabric as well as make tie-dyed and ombre leotards,” Douglas said. “Our sizes now include youth extra small to adult large, but I’m hoping to continue expanding into plus-sized dancewear as well.”

On campus, she has enjoyed performing in School of Theatre and Dance productions. “This spring was our first mainstage back in McGinnis Theatre with a live audience since before the pandemic began. It was such a special week!” she said.

Douglas was picked as student choreographer for the Dance at Wright show last fall. While dance faculty members choreograph works for students, one student choreographer is chosen each year to present a piece as well. “It was an absolute honor to be chosen,” Douglas said. “I had a wonderful experience working with my cast, and I got to costume my own piece with my dancewear. It was one of my favorite memories during my time here.”

Douglas has been dancing since age 7, when her first-grade teacher suggested she try it. In high school, she couldn’t imagine pursuing another major and picked ECU because of its dance program.

“Two of my dance teachers from high school attended ECU’s dance program for college and had all great things to say about the program,” Douglas said. “Senior year, I came to watch Fall Dance at ECU, and I was blown away. I knew I wanted to come here! I had a wonderful experience auditioning for the dance program and knew the school would be a great fit for me.”

Douglas has been a leader in the program, where she is a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society and serves as the fine arts funding board representative for Loessin Playhouse. She is a two-time recipient of the Archie Burnette Theatre Endowment for Theatre Arts Family Scholarship and received the Marie Smith Wallace Dance Scholarship her freshman year.

Douglas, far left, celebrates her upcoming graduation with fellow ECU spring 2022 graduates.