It's still a time for the arts

Posted by College of Fine Arts Dean's Office on Jan 9, 2018 10:39:21 AM

 

 The halls are once again filled with energy, campus is reawakened with bustling students, and spring semester has officially begun. But as we open up new textbooks and enter another exciting season of events and activities, let's not forget that it is still a time for the arts.

Why? We asked a few of our students to share their take. Here's what they had to say:

 

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

The Cecily Shives story part III: A professional premiere

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Dec 18, 2017 4:13:57 PM

 

This past July, with nerves, excitement, and a U-Haul filled with her life’s possessions from four years spent in Kalamazoo, Cecily Shives moved across the country to begin her career as a professional ballerina. Unfortunately, however, this new life chapter did not start off on the right foot.

Just three weeks before her contract was set to commence with Ballet San Antonio, Cecily slipped and fell in rehearsal, breaking the fifth metatarsal in her foot. With an injury infamously known as the “dancer’s break,” Cecily was forced off the dance floor and into a boot before her professional career even started. The pain and frustration of being unable to dance, combined with the inevitable anxiety of coming into a new environment, left Cecily devastated.

 

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

My career path changed throughout college and I'm glad it did

Posted by Maddie Kunert on Nov 7, 2017 2:28:43 PM

 

When I first came to Western, I was only sure of two things: one, dance was an integral part of my life that I never wanted to live without, and two, I only had four years to figure out how I was going to make that happen. My original plan was to double major in dance and education. I told myself it was a great way to combine my love for dance with my strengths of leadership and organization, but I realized it was mostly just an easy way to avoid the “do you really expect to get a job doing that?” question that artists get a lot. I did have a desire to teach, but I could teach dance without putting myself through the rigor of an additional degree. 

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Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Student Experience, Careers in the Arts

The Cecily Shives story part II: College bound ballerina

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 25, 2017 1:26:28 PM

 

Despite having two professional dancers as parents, Cecily’s dance journey wasn’t choreographed for her. Just watch her move about the stage or studio, and you’ll see that she got to where she is with her own commitment, resolve and talent.

“You’re only in this because your dad is with the Joffrey,” Cecily recalls peers sneering and suggesting when she was younger. While at times she internalized these resentful jabs and doubted herself, her dad, Willy Shives, reinforced that she was deserving of every role and spot because of her own abilities as a dancer.

“Even the times that I questioned it, he reminded me that he wouldn’t put me in a place that would reflect poorly on him,” she said. “I know I’ve earned [my success], but this flak is something I’ve had to deal with my whole life.”

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

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

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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.

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