By Libbie Alexander and Ellie Angle
There are a few exciting changes for the Collegiate dance program coming next year.
To Upper School Dance teacher Kara Priddy, the “most exciting news is that we are getting a new studio!” The new studio will be mainly for middle school classes. It will prevent overlapping classes and allow both the teachers and student groups to have more spaces to work in. Up until the creation of the new studio, classes have had to be taught and students have had to use the hallway, the wrestling room, or the gym when classes overlapped. This new studio will be directly next to the current one, across the hall from the wrestling room, in what is now a health and wellness classroom.
In addition to the new studio, the structure of the entire program is taking a major leap forward next year. In previous years, dancers had to take two semester-long courses before enrolling in the highest company, Dance 360, often as sophomores. Now the program has grown exponentially, and there are multiple sections of the highest company. Next year, instead of having these multiple sections, each section will be a different level. There will be three levels: level one for freshman, level two for mostly sophomores, and three for mostly juniors and seniors. Students will be placed based on technical and performance skills, as well as work ethic. They will be judged during a required placement class – similar to an audition – in May the year before. This new structure is modeled after performing arts schools that Priddy and Stacy Dudley, another Collegiate dance teacher, visited this winter.
Priddy says the creation of levels will allow “for depth of knowledge, instead of breadth of knowledge.” Teachers and students will have time to dive into and explore their interests within the performing arts instead of rushing to finish pieces.
If you want to support your peers in the dance program, there is a great opportunity to come out and see what they have been working on Saturday, April 29. There will be two performances with a variety of styles of dance, including some student-choreographed pieces, at 3 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m. in Oates Theater. Come support your friends and peers!
Featured image courtesy of Collegiate School.