Dancers envision their careers with or without dance
Head Copy Editor
April 11, 2019
Dance is the best of both worlds— combining artistry and athleticism into one unique form.
The mind and body play integral roles within dance, challenging a dancer to integrate his or her athletic aptitude with the ability to create movement that connects with an audience.
Musicality is also an essential aspect of dance since dancers must take into account the tempo and rhythm of a piece of music, the mood which it conjures and the emotional resonance that can be fostered through the combination of movement and music.
Within the Santa Clara dance department, there are a range of dancers: those who are majors and minors, as well as those who take dance classes or involve themselves in performances simply to continue their passion. The variety of dance styles offered include ballet, jazz, modern, tap and hip hop.
There are multiple performances put on by the department each year, featuring choreography by professional dance staff or student-choreographed pieces.
This coming weekend, the Spring Dance Festival titled “Impact” will feature the choreography of two senior dance majors, Ella Fogel and Teresa Schofield.
As part of their course requirements, dance majors must choreograph 30 minutes’ worth of dance material, creating a sequence of dances that follow a theme or convey a particular message.
Both choreographers follow themes concerning how humanity affects the world.
Fogel emphasizes the destructive cruelty of humanity, but displays throughout the progression of her pieces how there are sources of lingering hope in human nature that can bring optimism amidst negativity.
Schofield takes more of a naturalworld approach by conveying how humans can have a negative toll on the environment, integrating her environmental science and dance double major.
“I started with a broad theme and then narrowed that theme down to a few specific ideas I felt I could explore in a 30-minute time frame,” Schofield said.
Senior Lauren Valeri, a psychology and dance double major, choreographed for the Fall Dance Festival to showcase dance technique and artistic skills which correlated to a theme of female empowerment.
“All of my choreography meant to speak to some kind of action in regards to women’s empowerment,” Valeri said. “I had to go back and adapt the choreography throughout the process of creating my dances in order to make sure they aligned with my intentions behind the theme.”
The choreographic process itself is unique to all dancers.
For some, they are guided solely by their artistic visions and carry out these visions while teaching their choreography to other dancers.
For other choreographers, they enjoy collaboration and including the input of their fellow dancers within the creation process.
This collaboration can be especially helpful in challenging or frustrating moments of the process.
“When I get stuck in a rut I often open the floor to my dancers to offer their ideas, and this really helps to get the ideas flowing again,” Schofield said in regards to overcoming challenges within the dance creation process. “I used each rehearsal to try out my ideas, sometimes they were premeditated, other times they were in the moment. Then I let those choices sit for a while and tweak them or change them completely at the next rehearsal.”
Schofield mentions how the dance department at Santa Clara has helped her learn the importance of collaboration in the artistic process.
“Recognizing strengths in others and putting them to use in places where I might not have as much expertise has been very beneficial to me in my artistic endeavors at SCU,” she said.
In relation to the role that dance may play in the lives of dance majors after college, a few seniors spoke about not having plans to pursue a career in the professional dance world.
Schofield and Valeri said they didn’t have any particular intentions to dance professionally, but Schofield sees herself teaching at a studio at some point in the future while Valeri seeks to take technique classes at a local studio.
Dance and psychology double major Jacqueline Duong ’18 is pursuing a master in counseling psychology, yet finds opportunities to create and spread her love of dance. She currently works at two dance studios, CLAP Arts and Purdance in San Jose.
“I regularly teach technique and creative dance to children in tap, ballet and jazz,” Duong said. “I also teach a beginning adult jazz class, which is structured similarly to a master class. This gives me the opportunity to express myself and create new content.”
Duong described how her dance major taught her more about the unconventional nature of dance and how to utilize this aspect in creative ways.
“SCU taught me how to move through space in unconventional ways and how to create original content with these newfound skills,” she said. “[My major] gave me the ability to appreciate dance and dancers for more than their technique and perfection. Now I look at meaning, personality and development over time.”
As a senior, Valeri appreciates how Santa Clara provided so many opportunities for her to perform with an audience.
“SCU allowed me to have a lot of performance opportunities that were hard to find in high school and are hard to find in the real world after college,” she said.
Valeri mentioned how she doesn’t worry so much about dancing as she enters the real world since she has already had many performance opportunities during her time at the university.
“For now, I am just enjoying dance for what it is,” she said.
Santa Clara’s dance department will hold the Spring Dance Festival on Saturday, April 13 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 14 at 2 p.m in the Fess Parker Studio Theatre.
Contact Alyse Greenbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.