Exploring the Art of Dance
Fourteen dancers grouped together on center stage, bodies extended, arms outstretched, heads tilted back… it’s a picture of grace as warm lights pour down on their uniformed poise. There are no words, just music, yet it is a captivating moment of power and intrigue.
“Okay ladies, beautiful. Let’s try that cue again.”
That’s the voice of professor Daniela Wancier, head of the dance program at Broward College. We’re sitting through the rehearsals of the Dance Ensemble as they prepare for their fall concert. The cast of 20 dancers is just a fraction of the students who take classes across the College. For them, dance isn’t just entertainment; it’s self-expression, therapy and healing.
Adrienne Khouri, 24, takes a break from the rehearsals, her shyness contrasts with the power she exudes on stage. Her demeanor changes to excitement as she explains how dance has totally transformed her life. “In high school I actually got bullied so I needed something to do to take my mind off it. I started doing hip hop actually. I didn’t know anything about ballet, jazz or contemporary. It was not until I came to Broward College that my teachers taught me all the things I know.”
The program has not only developed her movement, but her body and mind. “You learn so much. You get pushed out of your comfort zone. I’ve watched my body do things I didn’t know it could do.” Adriaenne has excelled, so much so, that her choreography is one of three student pieces included in this fall concert. It’s not an easy feat as the spots are earned through auditions. Choreographers have to prepare the pieces and present them before a team of expert judges.
For professor Wancier and the other five faculty members, the two annual concerts held in spring and fall are just a part of the curriculum to expose students to the professional stage. With half of the students in the program hoping to move into the field full-time, she explains that the real work is preparing them not just to hone their skills but effectively use it.
Students who pursue a career in dance have options to use their skills performing, teaching, conducting physical therapy, marketing, theater production or art administration. For Adrienne, “it’s the passion, the way it changed me. Bullying had an impact on my self-esteem. I was literally broken. My ultimate goal is to be a full time performer. I’m a strong choreographer but dancing is therapeutic. It defines me and allows me to speak volumes without saying a word.”
Professor Wancier says support for the program has grown over the years, but acknowledges there’s more to be done to help society appreciate the art form. If you’re interested in showing support, come out and see the concert on Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19 at Bailey Hall (http://www.baileyhall.org/events/broward-college-fall-dance-concert-2016/). You won’t be disappointed. The pieces are a reflection of the classes – a mixture of comedy, emotion and drama.
If you would like more information on the program visit: http://www.broward.edu/academics/programs/vpa/Pages/dance.aspx