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Murrieta Mesa High School Dance Program Interview with Penny Chidester

“. . . the biggest mistake she sees dancers make is their thinking being a good dancer is all about the ability to do “tricks.”

Murrieta Mesa High School in Murrieta, California, is a comprehensive public high school offering a full curriculum of dance classes ranging from beginning to advanced. There are performance opportunities throughout the school year for all dance program students. The two big shows are the winter dance showcase and the spring dance production. There is an extracurricular dance team for those dancers who want to be more involved with the school beyond the class and stage experience.dscn1589-2crop

In the opinion of Penny Chidester, the Dance Program Director, what sets their program apart from other high school dance programs is the fact that there is a place for any student who has the desire to learn about the art and skill of dance.

Penny’s proudest moment as a dance coach occurred when the music cut out in the middle of a dance team performance in a packed gym at a varsity basketball game halftime. The dance team continued to the end of the dance without skipping a beat and received a standing ovation from everybody in the gym. It made her (more…)

Artistic Fusion Dance Academy Interview with Jennifer Jarnot

Ladies DancingArtistic Fusion Dance Academy in Thorton, Colorado, is co-owned by two sisters, Jennifer and Julie Jarnot. They are also co-Artistic Directors. Jennifer describes Artistic Fusion as a studio that instills their dancers with the proper training of dance and dance technique while providing life tools to help them grow in their own personal development, to create the power of self and to nurture each dancer’s spirit individually and creatively.

Artistic Fusion is a nationally acclaimed dance studio that trains students in the art of dance and the beauty of life. Their goal is for each dancer to experience life lessons as they grow in an artistic atmosphere.  No matter what age the dance student is or what level they are at, there is a place for them at Artistic Fusion.

Artistic Fusion Dance Academy’s recreational dance program is second to none. Their amazing faculty provides recreational dance classes in ballet, pointe, contemporary, tap, jazz, hip hop, leaps and turns, and pilates. Their state of the art dance facility serves the entire Front Range and North Denver Metro area. They offer a variety of classes for students of all skill levels and ages from 18 months to 18 years of age. Their faculty consists (more…)

Dancin’ Around Dance Studio Interview with Vi Donald

Vi DonaldThe staff at Dancin’ Around  Dance Studio in Lansing, Illinois, prides themselves with providing great and personalized technical teaching.  Vi Donald, the Founder, Owner and Artistic Director, states that the philosophy of Dancin’ Around’s dance program is to teach the basic fundamentals of dance in a sound and safe manner and to instill an appreciation of the arts in their students in an enjoyable environment. Their main goal is to teach the love of dance as a performing art.

Dancin’ Around specializes in various dance techniques and offer classes that range from Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tumbling, and Pom Pons and are very strong in Jazz and Hip Hop techniques. They teach both children and adults starting from the age of three years old. Their faculty consists of highly trained professionals who aim to give each student the best possible dance experience and to help them gain confidence and poise, as well as encouraging involvement in a healthy physical activity.

Vi’s proudest moment as a dance instructor is when her students walk off the stage after performing, smiling with a sense of accomplishment, confidence and pride.  They enjoy what they do – dance! She makes sure that they are stress free prior (more…)

Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Entertainment Interview with Jo Rowan

DancersThe Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Entertainment at Oklahoma City University is American’s premier musical theatre dance program.   They prepare students for exciting careers in performance, management, teaching dance, and choreography. Everything they do is focused on preparing graduates to work in the entertainment industry.  Established in 1981, they have a strong track record of continued graduate success, because a commitment to the value of professionalism in the entertainment industry.

The Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Entertainment is not just about teaching dance steps or management and teaching skills. They are there to instill character that will serve graduates in their professional careers and personal lives. Their staff, faculty, and administration strive to infuse all of the performances, courses, and activities with Responsibility, Reliability, Respect, Motivation, Ethics, Courage, Accountability, Focus, Commitment.

In the opinion of Prof. Jo Rowan, Chairman of the Dance Department, their dance program is different from other dance programs for the following reasons:
(1) Their focus on tap, jazz, and musical theatre dance with ballet as supporting technical base. (Traditionally university dance programs focus on ballet and modern.)
(2) A philosophy of preparing students to work as performers, teachers, and managers in the entertainment industry.  Everything about their (more…)

Melody Lane Dance, Music & Drama Academy Interview with Tony Akin

tonyMelody Lane Dance, Music & Drama Academy in Yakima, Washington, is a dynamic academy that focuses on the performing arts. Students ages 3 to 18 can take dance classes in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary and pre-dance. They also provide instrumental piano and guitar instruction among other instruments, as well as vocal instruction. Their studio is home to The Akin Center Theatre where drama and musical theatre classes are offered for ages 6 to 18. For the little ones, they have a daily performing arts preschool, as well.

For more than 25 years, Melody Lane has been serving the performance arts community of the Yakima Valley. Owners and artistic directors, Tony and Amy Akin, are the visionaries who inspire students to achieve more than even they thought possible. With an expansive 10,000-square-foot facility designed for dancers, actors, musicians, and singers, students are only limited by their imaginations. Whether it’s performing in the 1,600-square-foot Akin Center Theatre or the historic Capitol Theatre, or touring with the Melody Lane Singers or Melody Lane Ballet Company, every opportunity to shine and grow is given to the students of Melody Lane.

Their mission is to provide the highest quality of instruction in the performing arts. Their (more…)

Western Oregon University Interview with Sharon Stokes Oberst

Men Dancing, Corporate LadderSharon Stokes Oberst is the Secretary of CORPS de Ballet International and the Professor of Dance at the Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon. According to Professor Oberst, the Dance Program at Western Oregon University, provides the opportunity to develop creative, technical, pedagogical, and performance skills under the guidance of professional faculty in a supportive environment. She believes the dance curriculum offers learning experiences that introduce the student to historical, practical, technical, and creative aspects of dance. The degree offers a broad scope of applied dance skills and theoretical knowledge, preparing students for graduate study, teaching, and for a wide variety of professional opportunities in the performing arts.

In Professor Oberst’s opinion, their dance program is set apart from other programs due to the fact that they are part of the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Division of Creative Arts, their dance students have unique opportunities for performance in plays, musicals, and faculty and student projects. They also have opportunities to collaborate with other students and faculty from the other arts disciplines. The team brings in regionally and nationally renowned choreographers each year to set repertory works, historical works or create new works on their students. In addition, they have (more…)

Marist College Dance Team Interview with Laurie Matthews

The Marist Dance Team from Marist College (the “Red Foxes”) in Poughkeepsie, New York Coachis focused on promoting spirit at Marist College. The team actively participates in the Marist community, dancing at all football and basketball home games. They perform during halftime and time outs of each game, as well as engage in Marist spirit traditions along the sidelines, such as the fight song and band accompaniment.

The Dance Team travels with the men’s and women’s basketball teams to the MAAC tournament at the end of each season in March. The team also supports the Red Foxes at the NCAA tournament if either the men’s or women’s basketball teams earn a bid. Members of the Dance Team have accompanied the women’s basketball team to the NCAA Tournaments in California, Ohio, Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida, Maryland and Iowa. Marist Dance Team attends National Dance Association, which have their championships are in April in Daytona Beach Florida and NDA camp in July at Boston University. The team has captured numerous awards over the years including trophies for high scores based on individual performances, as well as a recent trophy for the Most Improved Program. In addition to attending home games, the Dance Team competes at various local (more…)