A newly formed repertory dance Ensemble will help kick off Troy University’s new dance minor in the Department of Theatre and Dance.
The Department of Theatre and Dance, created this spring within the College of Communication and Fine Arts, began offering the dance minor this fall. It marks the first time dance has been recognized at the University as an arts discipline, according to Adena Moree, director of theatre and dance.
“With the revitalized program, we are envisioning a total package in dance,” she said. “The performance-based dance minor and the Ensemble will allow students with extensive dance training and performance experience prior to high school graduation to continue that tradition at Troy University.”
Prior to the change, dance was taught within the College of Health and Human Services as part of the physical education curriculum.
“This is a whole new attitude,” said Dr. Maryjo Cochran, dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts. “We’re taking these classes out of a physical education forum, bringing them into the fine arts and making our program much more contemporary.”
“The TROY Dance Repertory Ensemble will operate much like a commercial dance company with apprentices and a junior company made up of young dancers from our area,” Moree said. “It will function as a billboard for what we’re trying to establish on the Troy Campus and will guarantee another stellar performance group for TROY audiences, ensuring a more varied cultural experience for our students and the community at large.”
Though the program strongly emphasizes ballet, it will focus primarily on contemporary dance, jazz and musical theatre performance – providing dancers the opportunity “to continue doing what they’ve spent their pre-college years loving,” Moree said. “Our concentration will be on performance and instruction; therefore, in addition to classroom instruction, we intend to offer master-teacher workshops and also to include conventions like ‘The Pulse’ for instructional and exposure purposes.”
The inaugural Ensemble, recruited by faculty member Deborah Hicks who helped organize both the program and Ensemble, will allow students to continue their dance careers.
These six dancers have specialized backgrounds in the field: one currently apprentices with Alabama Ballet in Birmingham, one comes from Birmingham Dance Theatre where she has, this year, placed first in two regional dance convention scholarship auditions, one comes to TROY from the Alvin Ailey bachelor of fine arts program in New York City, two are state Junior Miss talent winners, two hold national solo titles, another placed third overall in the Youth America Grand Prix and one dances professionally as far away as Japan.
“The talented dancers who comprise our first Ensemble will set a high standard of quality by which future generations of TROY dancers will be measured,” said Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor of the University. “Their fitness, talent and professional demeanor promise to inspire and excite many audiences during the year ahead.”