International Dance Day: SCSA Dance Program Growing
International Dance Day on April 29 is an annual celebration of the art form of Dance.
Through its Dance program, the Theatre and Dance Department of the South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University offers students studies in ballet, jazz, modern dance, musical theatre, pointe and tap. Students have plenty of opportunities to showcase their talents; for example, joining various dance ensembles and performing in concert and at annual events that include Christmas First Night, the President’s Gala and numerous musicals.
Dance, one of Anderson University’s newest degree programs, moved into its own studios, recently built on the Athletic Campus. Then in March, Lauren Imhoff, a longtime adjunct faculty member, became the program’s new director. Imhoff’s experience includes performing with the national tour of “The Wizard of Oz,” as well as regional shows at Flat Rock Playhouse and Little Theatre on the Square. She is a teaching artist, guest choreographer and director for South Carolina Children’s Theatre and is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association.
“As we celebrate International Dance Day, I am excited about the future of the Dance program under our new Director of Dance, Lauren Imhoff,” said Department of Theatre and Dance Chair Dr. David Sollish.
Students Edie Dominick and Emma Turner were among the first incoming students for the dance major at Anderson University. Dominick, who has been dancing since age three, has loved dance for most of her life and wants to be a professional dancer—possibly even a Rockette. She plans to attend the Verdon Fosse Legacy Training Program in New York City this summer. Dominick appreciates how Anderson University’s Dance Department is preparing her for a career in dance.
“The relationships between the dancers,” Dominick said, “feels like a family. We’re all very supportive and kind to each other. Our professors are right there with us, supporting us and pushing us, seeing how far we can grow.”
“My parents enrolled me in a dance class when I was five or six,” Turner said. “They enrolled me in everything because they had no idea what I wanted to do and dance ended up being the one thing where I was like, ‘I want to do this! I don’t want to do soccer, I want to do this!’”
Until Anderson University offered a dance major, Turner hadn’t considered a career in dance. Ultimately she would like to continue her education and teach others.
“I want to get my master’s in dance and teach at the university level, either specifically in dance therapy; I haven’t fully decided yet,” Turner said.
Madeline Cannon, a dance major who is minoring in kinesiology, began dancing at age three and fell in love with it.
“I would love to perform as much as possible, but my ultimate goal is to own my own studio, and to build a dance studio from the ground up and just train dancers,” Cannon said. “I would love to build some sort of conservatory rather than just a competition studio where we can train dancers safely and get them to perform.” Cannon also teaches at the Anderson School of Dance; her students are performing during Anderson’s Soirée this weekend.
Callie Williamson hopes to one day become a dance therapist. She is double-majoring in dance, along with human development and family studies.
“I’m anticipating being a teacher for just a little bit while I’m getting that certification,” Williamson said. “I would love to teach for a season; Maybe God will have a different idea.” When she was seeking out a dance program, Williamson found the ideal program right in her hometown of Anderson.
“I chose AU in particular because I knew that AU is a Christian campus, so I knew that I would be encouraged to dance for God and not for myself,” Williamson said.
Anderson University’s Dance program is a diverse, performance-intensive program designed to prepare students for a career with professional dance companies, musical theatre, graduate school, worship dance as a Christian ministry, cruise ship or theme park performing, dance therapy or to teach dance. The program seeks to develop the whole dancer, integrating the physical with the intellectual, and the analytical with the expressive. Dance students also take kinesiology courses that help them to prevent injuries as they pursue their art.
Further details about Anderson University’s Dance degree program can be found online.
Performance photo: Lynn Guthrie, South Carolina School of the Arts
Studio photo: Calvin Bowman, AU Marketing and Communication