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Inside the Dance Program

Inside the Dance Program

Performance by American University Dance Company 2019.

Sergio Guerra Abril

Dance and Mathematics Double Major, Class of 2019, he/him

I chose to become a dance major because I wanted to continue learning about myself and the world around me through the body. I felt like dance could bring a more holistic approach to my learning and could teach me a lot of practical skills for post-graduation life. Besides, I had the opportunity of combining the two fields that I love the most into one program of studies, so there seemed to be no real reason why I shouldn’t do it.

Dance Capstone was probably the most impactful experience within the program, because it gave me the time and space to research and create a project of my own, one that would activate mathematical ideas in dance, while being exposed to all the elements that go into producing a dance performance. It was a huge amount of work, but collaborating with my capstone cohort through the process made it all worth it!

Also, the Dance Company has definitely been one of the most important experiences of the program for me. I’m grateful that I could work with many different choreographers, perform, choreograph, and present my own work. However, the greatest part about it was our community. We supported each other unconditionally while pushing each other to bring out our best work. It made the company really fun and rewarding to be part of. I particularly remember our trips together to the ACDA conferences and how much fun we had experiencing them together. And I know that many of the friends I made in the company, I will have for life.

I sense dance as a driving force in the moving world. The body holds a lot of knowledge of what happens and has happened around us, and by dancing, we are stepping into that knowledge, culturally, socially, economically, and socially. At the same time, we process this knowledge into creative expression by dancing, so we can not only learn from the world, but also have an impact on it.

Sergio Guerra Abril

KT Aylesworth

Dance and Musical Theatre double major, Class of 2020, they/them

I chose to become a dance major because I wanted to continue learning about myself and the world around me through the body. I felt like dance could bring a more holistic approach to my learning and could teach me a lot of practical skills for post-graduation life. Besides, I had the opportunity of combining the two fields that I love the most into one program of studies, so there seemed to be no real reason why I shouldn’t do it.

Dance Capstone was probably the most impactful experience within the program, because it gave me the time and space to research and create a project of my own, one that would activate mathematical ideas in dance, while being exposed to all the elements that go into producing a dance performance. It was a huge amount of work, but collaborating with my capstone cohort through the process made it all worth it

I sense dance as a driving force in the moving world. The body holds a lot of knowledge of what happens and has happened around us, and by dancing, we are stepping into that knowledge, culturally, socially, economically, and socially. At the same time, we process this knowledge into creative expression by dancing, so we can not only learn from the world, but also have an impact on it.

The Dance Company has definitely been one of the most important experiences of the program for me. I’m grateful that I could work with many different choreographers, perform, choreograph, and present my own work. However, the greatest part about it was our community. We supported each other unconditionally while pushing each other to bring out our best work. It made the company really fun and rewarding to be part of. I particularly remember our trips together to the ACDA conferences and how much fun we had experiencing them together. And I know that many of the friends I made in the company, I will have for life.

KT Aylesworth

Annie Bernstein

Sustainability Management major, Dance Minor, Class of 2020, she/her

I chose to become a Dance minor because, after dancing in the company sophomore year, I realized how much dance meant to me. I loved the community that was built in classes and through performance, and through the experience gained interdisciplinary skills. After realizing I wanted to take more dance classes, I worked with my Advisor and with the Dance Program to plan my Dance minor coursework.

I have been part of AU in Motion which is a student-run dance organization on campus. This club allows students of all different dance backgrounds to participate in student choreographed pieces and to perform twice a year. This past year, I served as President which gave me the opportunity to lead and give back to a community that meant so much to me. In this role, I was also able to work with professionals in the Arts community as I worked to coordinate performances at both the Greenberg Theatre and Joy of Motion. Ultimately, this club was the first club I joined on campus and I have made long-lasting friendships throughout the years. 

Dance is part of the moving world because it continuously evolves as the world evolves. We create dance as a response to what’s going on in the world and to challenge societal norms. Dance also creates a safe space for those who might not have one in this ever changing world. 

Annie Bernstein

Monica Bogan

Public Communication Major, Dance Minor, Class of 2017, she/her

Dance has been part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I wanted to make sure it was part of my college experience as well. The professors in the Dance program are so knowledgeable and helped me not only improve my technique, but to re-think the way I think about performing, dance making and the role of dance in my life. I loved being in such a collaborative environment and being able to learn alongside people who are so passionate about dance and movement. 

The Dance program gave me so many unique opportunities to grow through both performing and choreographing. One of the best moments was being able to choreograph as part of CHOREOLAB during my junior and senior year. I never had the opportunity to choreograph before, so being able to go in-depth on a piece of work and receive feedback in a supportive environment really challenged me as an artist, and was definitely a highlight of my college experience.

For me, dance is about human connection, and I can see that connection in so many aspects of life. Especially living in a busy city (I currently live in NYC), part of interacting with one another (even non-verbally) is learning those collective patterns and movements, and everyone mastering and abiding by those movements is what keeps a city running. While we are all individuals, we are part of something much larger than ourselves, and knowing the role we play in the moving world helps to create an intricate, complicated and beautiful dance.  

Monica Bogan

Dominique Dempsey

Dance and International Relations double major, Class of 2021, she/her

I have always been extremely passionate about how arts can be utilized as a form of advocacy and offer an opportunity to educate. Dance is an immensely influential 'soft power' that can transcend many cultural boundaries. Dance directly interacts with different ways of thinking, specifically International Relations, and I became a Dance major to explore those intersections.

Opportunities such as CHOREOLAB allow for double majors, like myself, to explore the intersections between their two majors. I thoroughly enjoyed going through the creative process and learning what my style of movement research is. I learned how academic dance is and how it can explain varying foreign service theories.

The spring of my junior year I engaged in a 3 week intensive Gaga workshop in Jerusalem, Israel. Throughout the intensive I was challenged and found new improvisational ways to move.

I also am the founder of AU’s Chapter of Movement Exchange. Movement Exchange is a nonprofit organization that’s goal is to connect those interested in foreign policy, community service, and dance with the local community. The members of the club, also known as dance diplomats, offer free and accessible dance classes in the local DMV community and through international sustainable dance exchanges offer master classes in Panama and Brazil.

Dance is intrinsic to how I function in, and go throughout, the world. As an African-American woman, there are aspects of my essence that will always inform my art form. I dance because every time I move, I have the ability to challenge social norms and ideologies including racism, colorism, and sexism. Dance allows us to engage in conversations, dialogues, and arguments that challenge how racisim, colorism, and sexism exist in society.

Dominique Dempsey

Skylar Blake

Business and Entertainment Major, Dance Minor, Class of 2020, she/her

I chose to become a dance minor because dance has always played a significant role in my life. I started dancing at a young age and it grew to become my outlet for creativity, physical expression, and mindfulness. During my time at AU, I've learned to appreciate it's multi-faceted purpose through embodied knowledge and content-based research.

Everyone in the AU Dance faculty and student community brings a new walk of life to the table, which I found to be a very important part of my learning experience. I have been able to open my eyes to the use of dance as a movement and research tool to create, inform, and support in our communities. Joining the program was a very rewarding experience!

Skylar Blake

Kourtney Clements

Dance and Public Relations & Strategic Communicationdoubl major, Class of 2020, she/her

I chose to become a Dance major because dance is an important part of my identity that I couldn't imagine leaving behind me. AU offers a unique program that guides dancers into the roles that best fit their long-term goals. It is refreshing to know that I can pave a path vastly different from my fellow Dance majors who have differing interests within the art form. The program has challenged me to think critically and broaden my scope of learning far beyond expectations. Dance has given me an opportunity to interact with different people and ideas that I had never been introduced to before. It has helped me understand my role in this very unpredictable world. 

My most impactful experiences in the dance program include being able to dance amongst a supportive community of dancers, working with guest artists for the AU Dance Company, and sharing my capstone performance research with friends and family. Dancing in the Spring Dance Concert with the AU Dance Company every year has been a highlight of my college experience. It has brought me some of my closest friends and most valuable memories from my past four years.

Kourtney Clements

 

Meaghan Sweeney

Business and Entertainment Major, Dance Minor, Class of 2020, she/her

I chose to become a dance minor because dance has always played a significant role in my life. I started dancing at a young age and it grew to become my outlet for creativity, physical expression, and mindfulness. During my time at AU, I've learned to appreciate it's multi-faceted purpose through embodied knowledge and content-based research.

Everyone in the AU Dance faculty and student community brings a new walk of life to the table, which I found to be a very important part of my learning experience. I have been able to open my eyes to the use of dance as a movement and research tool to create, inform, and support in our communities. Joining the program was a very rewarding experience!

Meaghan Sweeney