By JW McNay/campus editor

Creative art continues to grow

TCC’s dance program approaches its 20th anniversary this spring with an increasing number of classes and performances available.

“From the inception year of 1999, the dance program has grown from one campus, one professor and 10 students to a dance program of four campuses, seven professors, 10 adjunct faculty and over 300 dance students,” NW dance associate professor Amy Jennings said.

NE communication, arts and entertainment dean Linda Quinn founded the dance program at TCC with the philosophy that everyone is welcome and everyone can dance, Quinn said. Every dance instructor at TCC still embraces that philosophy, she said.

“Our programs welcome everyone with an open door, and we feel that dance can touch everyone’s lives in a positive way,” Quinn said.

South dance instructor Kiera Amison was a dance student during the early years of TCC’s dance program. In the early 2000s, she drove from Arlington to NW Campus for dance classes because of the lack of options. Now she is in her fifth year teaching dance full time at TCC.

“Students now, if they want to get really fantastic dance training, they don’t have to do what I did, which is drive 45 minutes away,” Amison said.

The dance program offers 17 different dance and technique classes this semester including ballet, modern dance, jazz dance, hip-hop, tap and musical theater, NE dance professor Kihyoung Choi said.

“Dancers can be members of audition- and non-audition-based companies, perform in faculty and guest artists choreography, create and produce their own choreography, attend local and national festivals [and] become members in dance education associations,” Jennings said.

Students practice for a performance. The dance program provides students 17 different styles of dance to study.
Students practice for a performance. The dance program provides students 17 different styles of dance to study.
Collegian file photo

Each campus’ dance program has its own performances during the semester, and they also collaborate on other events. South Campus will host the annual District Dance Concert Oct. 13 that will feature all four campus dance companies: South’s Continuum Dance Company, SE’s Fusion Dance Company, NE’s Movers Unlimited and NW’s Mosaic Dance Project.

“Each campus has their own accolades, but one that we are proud of is our ability to award scholarships to students each semester,” SE dance associate professor Brandy Niccolai-Belfi said. “In the past four years, we have awarded nearly $10,000 in dance scholarships.”

Also, the NE dance program has made more than $10,000 in donations to several local and national nonprofit organizations over the past nine years, Choi said.

TCC dance students who complete the program may further their training by transferring to four-year universities, performing with professional companies or becoming educators, Jennings said.

Two recent dance works in the Gala Concert at the American College Dance Association in March was a proud moment for all, Jennings said.

“One faculty and one student choreography work was chosen, two dance works out of a total of 40 from both two- and four-year dance programs,” she said. “This accomplishment put TCC dance on the map in our region.”