Creation and competition: Why WKU students dance

Makaio Smith, News reporter

Three dancers sit in a circle with laptops open in front of them. They are all stretching while doing work near an open studio door on the first floor of Gordon Wilson Hall. They are dressed in athletic leggings and jackets, talking amongst themselves.

All three are a part of Dance Project, the WKU Dance program’s upcoming show that is set to run from Feb. 3-6 in Gordon Wilson Hall. The student-choreographed project features 13 works, which have been in development since the fall semester, and are now in the rehearsal stage.

Cordelia Newton, one of the three, is a sophomore at WKU. She is a dance major with a minor in athletic coaching. She aspires to make a career in choreography with dance, and she’s been dancing since she was three years old. 

“I really enjoy the art of dancing, which is a part of competition, but I just love being able to express myself, and being able to create something that feels like it’s never been done before,” Newton said.

While Newton prefers the more modern dance style, her dance colleague Grace Becker prefers the musical theater and jazz style of dance.

“They’re very high energy, and I have a lot of energy to expend,” Becker said.

Becker is a sophomore at WKU. She is a dance major minoring in performing arts and creative writing and loves the competitive aspects of dance. The dance world can be very competitive; likewise, aspiring dancers have to possess a competitive drive.

“I did competitive dance from the time I was 5 until I was 18,” Becker said. “I love being able to perform and receive feedback on how I can do better.”

Freshman Lindy Fischer (center) is flanked by fellow freshmen Madelyn Groth (left) and Grace Carter (right) while rehearsing “Creating Center”. (Tucker Covey)

Becker’s biggest goal is to move to New York to pursue dance for a company or on Broadway.

Sophia Jones, the third of the trio, is a sophomore at WKU majoring in dance and minoring in arts administration. Jones grew up training in the competitive side of dance, but these days, she is more focused on creating for the sake of creating.

“Once I got to college, you don’t really compete anymore, you create for the art of it,” Jones said. “I’ve learned to really enjoy this side of being able to create something or be part of a creation that means more to an audience than just numbers.”

Jones originally started dancing as a way to get all of her energy out and ended up falling in love, particularly with tap and jazz. She’s turned into a competitor and aspires to pursue a dance career in Chicago in its jazz dance scene.

The three dancers, along with the rest of the program, will have the chance to visibly express their love of dance this weekend at Dance Project. Ticketing information can be found here

“It’s really intimate, it’s an intimate show,” Becker said. “All the pieces in it have a great meaning behind it, we’re in a lot of the pieces so we know so much about our choreographers and how important it is for them. It’s really exciting to show something that is so important to everybody.”

News Reporter Makaio Smith can be reached [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @MakaioSmith.