We will reign: Melanie George

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 13, 2017 12:49:17 PM

 

Since graduating from Western Michigan University's Department of Dance in 1994, Melanie George has forged a multifaceted career as a jazz dancer, choreographer, educator, scholar and advocate. From our Q&A conversation with Melanie, it is clear that these roles do not just overlap. Rather, they are deeply intertwined and synergistic. According to Melanie in her artist statement, "my scholarship purposely and strategically informs my choreography and pedagogy. I have great interest in upsetting traditional hierarchies in dance on the stage and the page."

For the past week, we have been lucky to have had Melanie back on campus bringing her wide-ranging expertise and perspective to our students. Last Friday, Melanie served as a celebrity judge for the annual Dancing with the WMU/Kazoo Stars competition and scholarship fundraiser, offering thoughtful praise, critique and commentary on the evening's performances. Over the past several days, Melanie has also worked in the studio, teaching jazz dance classes and staging new choreography on first-year students. And later this afternoon, in recognition of her years of research, education, innovation and excellence in the world of dance, Melanie will be presented with the 2017 College of Fine Arts Distinguished Alumni Award for the Department of Dance.

Get to know more about Distinguished Alumna Melanie George in her interview with the Fine Print:

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Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Careers in the Arts, Alumni, We Will Reign

The Cecily Shives story part I: To be a ballerina

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Sep 7, 2017 12:21:09 PM

 

Ask any young child what they want to be when they grow up, and ballerina often makes the list of ideal occupations. But how many of these dance dreams actually come true?

For Cecily Shives, a 2017 BFA graduate of the Department of Dance, the dream of becoming a ballerina has remained alive throughout her life. As a toddler, Cecily was already dancing around her family’s home in pointe shoes, and then in eighth grade, she was voted “most likely to become a ballerina” by her peers.

Well, her classmates had it right. This fall, Cecily will pirouette into the professional world as a company member with Ballet San Antonio.

Through a series of three installments, we’ll be profiling Cecily and the many steps – and turns, spins and leaps – she’s made in her journey to become a professional ballerina. We’ll open with the early days.

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Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Careers in the Arts, Alumni

Slam Dancing in Spain

Posted by Kirsten Smits on Aug 24, 2017 4:25:44 PM

 

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern through Performing Arts Abroad at a dance school in Barcelona Spain, Slam Dancing Studio. Over the course of six weeks, the internship involved many different roles and responsibilities. A role that impacted me most was the job of being a featured instructor at the school’s annual performing arts camp, which was taught in English. This camp was three weeks in length, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for ages 4-16.

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Topics: Study Abroad, Department of Dance, Dance, The Student Experience, CFA Students in Summer, Going places - Summer 2017

A time for the arts

Posted by College of Fine Arts Dean's Office on Aug 17, 2017 4:56:14 PM

 

The College of Fine Arts is beginning the 2017-18 academic year with a simple message: Now is a time for the arts.

The arts have long been a vital part of the human experience. Whether watching the Kabuki of Japan or classic ballet of France, taking in works showcased at MoMA, or absorbing the distinctive sounds of jazz, the act of engaging with the arts provides us an opportunity to examine our lived experiences and encourages us to be more creative, more observant and more aware.

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Topics: Department of Dance, School of Music, Frostic School of Art, Department of Theatre

Rubbing elbows with RUBBERBANDance Group

Posted by Michael Arellano on Jul 28, 2017 3:59:16 PM

 

My name is Michael Arellano, and I am a Junior at WMU pursuing a BA degree in both Dance and Psychology. I’m originally from Shelby Township, Michigan and next fall I will be traveling to London to study abroad. 

This summer, I spent two weeks at the Domaine Forget International Music and Dance Academy in Saint-Irénée, Québec. The company RUBBERBANDance Group was in residence at the academy to teach their codified “Rubberband Method” as well as some of their repertoire. RUBBERBANDance was founded by artist director Victor Quijada in 2002 and is based in Montreal, Québec. The works created by this company include elements of both hip-hop/break-dancing, as well as ballet and contemporary.

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Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Student Experience, CFA Students in Summer, Going places - Summer 2017

Staff spotlight: Laura Cornish

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Jul 5, 2017 11:44:43 AM

 

Laura Cornish can usually be found behind the lightboard, but today we're shining the spotlight on her.

As supervisor of dance production, Laura splits her time between designing lighting for dance concerts and presentations, teaching and mentoring aspiring lighting designers, and managing various marketing duties for the Department of Dance. Learn more about Laura -  including what her farm upbringing taught her and where she finds the best prime rib in Kalamazoo - in her responses below.

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Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Staff Spotlight

Looking back to move forward

Posted by Amy Russell on Jun 28, 2017 12:28:36 PM

 

It is my strong belief that in order to effectively progress forward in time, you must fully understand the path you have traveled thus far. This philosophy has been my guiding star as I research the history of the Western Michigan University Department of Dance.

The goal of this research is to document and analyze the evolution of dance at Western Michigan University. Much of the analysis will consist of tracing dance lineages through faculty and guest artists to understand stylistic choices in training university students. In addition, external factors, such as socio-political climates and trends within the dance industry, will be analyzed. My goal is to really understand why the department developed the way it did, which requires an understanding of university conditions, socio-political climates, and circumstances in the professional dance industry.

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Topics: Department of Dance, CFA Students in Summer, Going places - Summer 2017

2016-17 year in review: WMU Department of Dance

Posted by Kelly Anderson on May 3, 2017 9:17:00 AM

 

Time flies when you’re having fun, and it’s no question that the Western Michigan University Department of Dance had a bit of fun throughout this 2016–17 school year.
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Topics: Department of Dance, Dance

5 ways the WMU Department of Dance prepared me for the professional dance world

Posted by Sarah Jones on Mar 16, 2017 11:26:43 AM

 

“It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”  -Jean-Luc Godard

 

Inspired … how I always felt at Western Michigan University.  Inspired by my professors, the guest choreographers, the repétitéurs, the alumni and my peers. Inspired by their stories and experiences. Inspired to find my own voice. Inspired to trust that voice. Inspired to train and chisel my body into a vessel for that voice. Inspired to get to the next level. Inspired to give back.     

That inspiration reaffirmed me when I felt rejected, steadied me when I stumbled, and picked me up when I fell; all of which you will experience in the professional dance world. With every dismissal, you dig in and dig deeper, until finally, you get your shot. I am proud to say that this small town girl used that inspiration and her WMU education to get to the bright lights of the windy city as a company member of DanceWorks Chicago!

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Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Student Experience, The Student Experience, Alumni

A day in the life of a dance student

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Jan 27, 2017 12:35:42 PM

 

Mastering and performing a ballet is no easy feat. It's a process that involves complex dance sequences and intricate technique. It requires flexibility and balance - both physical and internal - as dancers must take on different roles through the movement of their bodies alone. It demands discipline, stamina, attention to detail and commitment.

In many ways, the complexities and demands of staging a ballet mirror those that exist in the every day life of a dance student. With coursework to complete, choreography to learn and rehearsals to attend, the life of a dance student is a fast-paced and tiring balancing act. But, just as perfecting a ballet brings great satisfaction and applause, the life of a dance student is immensely rewarding. 

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Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Student Experience, The Student Experience

About the Fine Print

The Official Blog of the WMU College of Fine Arts

Western Michigan University's College of Fine Arts is a place where passion meets practice, and The Fine Print is your lens into the lives of our students, faculty and community.

From behind-the-scenes looks at our performances and exhibits to tips and resources for prospective students, The Fine Print is rich with content that is both interesting and valuable. Subscribe below to read The Fine Print and stay in-the-know.

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