‘Celebration of Dance’ gives WVU students stage experience

MORGANTOWN — WVU’s “A Celebration of Dance” — set for 7 p.m. today-Friday in the Antoinette Falbo Theatre at the Creative Arts Center — is more than just an opportunity to honor the art form, it’s a way for performers to gain real-world experience.

“This is an important event for our students on so many different levels, said Yoav Kaddar, associate professor at the School of Theatre & Dance and director of WVU’s dance program. “Most importantly, it serves as an extension of what we teach and work on in our courses, especially in our choreography courses but also in our technique classes where students work to develop their technical dance skills.

“The opportunity to perform and present one’s work in public, in a program like ours, is an important part of the curriculum. It’s like an athlete would only have practice opportunities without a chance to get on a field and play a real opponent in front of a live audience. It’s what we train for.

“The performance experience is also a place where our students grow as dancers and as artists. It teaches them things like collaboration, team work, adhering to deadlines, public presentation and so much more.”

About 60 students are participating in this year’s pair of shows, some in more than one piece. While the majority are dance majors, auditions are open to anyone at the university.

“There are pieces that are more ballet oriented and then there are pieces that are more contemporary in style,” Kaddar said. “In between, we also have modern and jazz pieces. There is always a nice variety on each show as the choreographers have the creative freedom to create and express what it is they want.”

Choreographers were required to show their work and receive feedback from dance faculty, a process that began about eight weeks ago.

“Student choreographers are free to choose their music and theme/concept for their work,” he said. “They are the ones who pick and choose their dancers too. The works had to be at least four minutes long.”

And while this is a chance for students to hone their talents, Kaddar said it’s also a way for the community to support aspiring artists and performers.

“I encourage people to come to see the show,” he said in an email. “… It validates their work and education. It shows them that they are a part of something larger and that they too can contribute as adults, and as such they learn to take responsibility for their own work.

“It also is a chance for the community to support our dance program here at WVU that has grown and developed into a driving dance force in our state (the only academic dance degree offered in West Virginia), region and nationally. Everyone enjoys a good show and especially during such tense social times, the arts can unite us and make us share a collective culture that we can all be proud of.”

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