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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Various campuses represented at Merge dance concert in Fort Worth

SE associate professor of dance Brandy Niccolai-Belfi performs during Merge April 14. Photo by Alex Hoben/The Collegian
Company member of Texas Woman’s International Dance Company Krista Carson performs “Fronteras.”
Photo by Alex Hoben/The Collegian

CAMERON WEBSTER
campus editor
cameron.webster@my.tccd.edu

Sundance Square Plaza in downtown Fort Worth was alive with dance April 14 as TCC held the 12th annual “Merge: Tarrant County College District Faculty & Guest Artist Dance Concert.”

NW associate professor of dance Amy Jennings is the creator behind Merge and has been the event’s organizer since its inception in 2008.

“This concert came about so that faculty can share their professional artistry and so that our TCC dance students had the opportunity to learn the craft of technical production,” Jennings said. “In 2015, when Sundance Square was rebirthed with a plaza stage, I had decided what a wonderful opportunity to bring dance to the heart of Fort Worth. There is something unique in dance that we have the ability to craft our work in various venues.”

The event featured performances from numerous faculty members as well as outside dance professionals and organizations. Special invites for this year’s event were the University of North Texas Dance Ensemble and the University of Texas in Arlington Maverick Dance Company.

“This season, we opened the invitation to our four-year colleagues to expose our TCC dance students to further dance in higher education, as well as the professional world of dance DFW offers,” Jennings said.

Guests were treated to 90 minutes of dancing with different styles on display. These styles included modern and post-modern dance, modern hip-hop fusion, contemporary ballet and ballet folklórico. The performances were a combination of solo, duet and ensemble dance works.

SE associate professor of dance Brandy Niccolai-Belfi performed at Merge and spoke about how important the concert is to students at TCC.

“TCC has thriving dance programs on four campuses (NW, NE, S, SE),” Niccolai-Belfi said. “Our classes are accessible to all students with experience levels ranging from beginner to advanced. Students can enroll in our movement-based courses either for credit or non-credit… Then, maybe one day, we will see them on stage with us in Merge achieving their goals and pursuing their passion of dance.”

Current TCC dance students are used every year as the infrastructure of the concert. They are put into support roles to make sure the event goes off without a hitch.  

Jennings said the exposure they receive to the professional dance world is a huge benefit if they plan to continue into higher education in dance.

The students are the production and technical crew for this event and always have been,” Jennings said. “Students are stage managers, assistant stage managers, greeters to the audience, emcees for the concert and our student ambassadors take care of the guest artists’ needs prior, during and post-performance. This is part of the learning outreach and allows our students to have the experience of technical aspects running a show, as well as threading into the fabric of our vibrant dance community.

Niccolai-Belfi hopes attendees gained an understanding of how important dance can be.

“The concert is a one-stop-shop to experience the thriving dance community in and around Tarrant County,” she said. “We hope that it educates the audience about the importance of, not only dance, but also art in our lives and our students’ lives.”

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