Students storm the stage
What: Winter Dances
Where: Performing Arts Center Mainstage, WWU
WHEN: 7:30pm Thurs.-Sat., Jan. 23-25; 2pm Sun., Jan. 26
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
By the time Western Washington University students make their way onstage for annual “Winter Dances” performances taking place Jan. 23-26 at the school’s Performing Arts Center mainstage, the work they will have put in to ensure their audiences are entertained will have gone far beyond what those seated in the theater will see when the curtain goes up.
That’s because in addition to putting their bodies on the line, those studying to secure their Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degrees offered as part of the school’s dance program aren’t just responsible for learning their moves and hitting their marks. Original student choreography is also a part of the creative curriculum, and is a big draw for the perennially popular shows.
And because the major is focused in part on action-based learning, dancing and choreography aren’t the only areas in which students are expected to step up. They’re also acting as lighting designers, and fill a variety of roles behind the scenes as stage managers, costume and lighting designers, and even master electricians.
Before they even get to the place where they’re performing in public or filling one of the many necessary functions required to pull off the performances, those seeking their BA or BFA degrees in dance will have had to prove they have the mettle to stick with the program.
“Entry into the BA/BFA is by audition,” reads a missive on WWU’s website for those wanting more information about the rigorous programs. “The BA degree in dance offers an in-depth education in dance technique; contemporary and ballet, performance and choreography, anatomy, dance history and pedagogy.
“The BFA degree requires recommendation of faculty members and is a highly selective program that trains exceptionally committed, disciplined and talented students with additional course work in performance and choreography.”
The phrase “thinking artists and artistic thinkers” also stands out when it comes to the lifelong practices instructors are hoping to instill in those who want to make movement a part of their lives beyond the classroom. Collaboration with other music, theater and visual art majors is also encouraged, as is creative process work with faculty and guest artists.
In short, if you want to see what it takes to acquire a dance major at Western Washington University, watch the “Winter Dances” performances in coming days.
Sure, it will be a thrill to see the students’ creations brought to vivid life via their dancing, costuming and choreography, but it will also be exciting to realize that fellow students are the ones helping them shine. They’re storming the stage in a different way, but with just as much effect.
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