Dance students at Anderson University were provided with opportunities to grow as performers, expand their knowledge, and network with others during the spring 2012 semester.
Students and faculty in the AU Dance Program worked vigorously on rehearsals for the annual Spring into Dance performance, which was held in AU’s Reardon Auditorium on March 23 and 24. Ten pieces were performed, one of which was a commemorative piece for Shey Harris, a dance program student who was killed in a plane crash over Thanksgiving break 2011.
“Shey was one of the humblest people I know,” said senior dance business major Dayna Muhleck. “She would be honored to have a memorial piece in Spring into Dance, in which she was supposed to perform in four of the choreographic works. She was a dynamic performer who never failed to dance her fullest for the glory of God. Months have gone by since her passing, and the impact she had on this campus is so evident in many people's lives. This piece is a great way to carry on her legacy and remind people of who she was and how she impacted our school.”
The pieces for this performance were choreographed by faculty, and the cast was dependent on auditions. “My favorite part of Spring into Dance is creating things and seeing them come to life. By the end of Spring into Dance this year, I have ideas flowing for next year, and I’ll be excited about it all year long,” said Doug King, an AU dance instructor. “I also love working with the students and getting to know them and seeing how they achieve and accomplish the pieces and take it on to the next level.”
As well as rehearsing for Spring into Dance, students from the dance program attended the American College Dance Festival Association’s conference at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. The conference was March 7-10, and 10 AU dancers attended along with two faculty members. “Being a member of the conference for faculty includes being part of committees or attending planning meetings when required,” said Shauna Steele, dance area coordinator and assistant professor of dance. While there, the students take classes from diverse instructors as well as performing.
The students were also given an opportunity to perform in Chicago as part of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance conference. Department of Kinesiology Chair Dr. Rebecca Hull provided this opportunity to the dance program students because she is a member of the anniversary planning committee. Thirteen AU dancers attended this conference, where they performed a number of short dances that represent different exercise or dance crazes throughout the decades. “We did vignettes on crazes such as swing dancing, aerobics, disco, Zumba sequences that lean more toward Latin dance, and line dances,” said Steele.
As well as these opportunities for the students, the department has been working on bringing in guest artists for master classes. These classes will be free for the students of the AU dance program, but there will be a small fee charged for off-campus participants. Funds brought in by these classes will support a scholarship that will be established in memory of Shey Harris.
This summer, students traveled to India where they learned classical Indian dance and assisted Steele The trip was organized through Tri-S.
— Lydia Hawley is a sophomore from Homerville, Ohio, majoring in communication arts and complementary dance. Lydia is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.