WKU Theatre & Dance hosts Summer Dance Intensive

Alexandria Anderson, Editor-in-Chief

The WKU Department of Theatre & Dance is hosting their annual Summer Dance Intensive, a program for high school students to explore college dance, this week.

The intensive is designed for intermediate to advanced high school dancers, grades 9-12, and features technique, style and theory courses taught by WKU dance faculty. Students also rehearse choreography for a showcase on the last day of the intensive with various group numbers.

Amanda Clark, WKU dance program coordinator and professor, is also a coordinator and instructor for the Summer Dance Intensive. She said planning for the program began in the fall and spring, and during the intensive, she teaches some showcase choreography and the jazz and tap classes.

“It is called an intensive for a reason, because it is very intense,” Clark said.

A student’s day at the intensive includes two hour and a half long technique classes, three style or theory classes, a course from the guest artist and a two hour rehearsal, along with breakfast, lunch and dinner. The intensive costs $750 for early registration and $800 for regular registration.

This year, the guest artist is the Sankofa African Drum and Dance Company, a performing arts company out of Tennessee. For the showcase on Saturday, students will perform group choreography set by the guest artist, as well as a piece taught by one of the three dance instructors.

“We [dance instructors] are setting an excerpt from our evening of dance concert, our spring mainstage dance concert,” Clark said. “We each set an excerpt. The students in the intensive are divided up among those three pieces so everyone is performing at least one piece.”

Clark explained students will benefit from the intensive because it pushes them to keep training outside what they already know, as many of them have “grown up in their hometown dance studio.”

“It is always good for a dancer to continue training and to continue training outside of their comfort zone,” Clark said. “[…] It’s going to help them learn new approaches to movement, learn different styles, learn how to pick up movement fast by coming to an intensive like this.”

The intensive will also provide students an idea of what it is like to dance in college. As students get to know WKU dance faculty and the program, Clark said it will help “ease them into” life on the Hill if they choose to come to WKU.

“[For] those students who think that they want to go on and dance, pursue a major in dance in college, this is a good introduction to what dance in college is going to be like,” Clark said.

The WKU dance program sees benefits from the intensive as well, Clark explained. It serves as a recruitment opportunity, and the profits from the intensive go right back into the dance program, for recruitment travel, guest artists and attending festivals.

“It helps us reach students beginning in their freshman year through their senior year and start to build connections and relationships with them, so it becomes a great recruitment opportunity,” Clark said.

Editor-in-chief Alexandria Anderson can be reached at [email protected].