Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Young dancers to visit campus for student-led workshops


Dance students at The University of Alabama often have the chance to perform in the spotlight for an audience. Very seldom, however, do they have the chance to teach an audience their craft.

On Saturday, March 31, the third annual University of Alabama Dance Festival will take place. Throughout the day, collegiate dance students will mentor and teach middle and high school dancers through a series of workshops and activities.

“I hope that students who attend this festival will feel inspired,” said Nicole DiGiovanni, a junior majoring in dance who is teaching a workshop for the festival. “I hope that this festival not only allows them to grow as a dancer, but I also hope that it allows these young dancers to fall in love with dance all over again.”

The festival is planned as to educate as well as inspire. It gives young dancers a taste of the practical world of professional dancing.

“For the students coming to campus that are participating in the festival, I think it’s a really great opportunity for them to not just continue their dance training — that’s kind of obvious, but also for them to understand what it’s like to be on campus training as a dancer,” said Clifton Baker, a second year MFA arts management student who helped orchestrate the festival. “Because for many of them, this could be really their first taste of professional dance training and what it’s like to be in a college dance program.”

The day will consist of dance classes, a lunch where the students are encouraged to chat with fellow dancers, a viewing of the Dance Alabama! matinee, and a Q & A session with the dancers from the show. 

“There’s a lot of logistical stuff in terms of planning out the day, reserving spaces, coordinating lunch — those types of things,” Baker said. “But, then the dance students also have to prepare for their workshops and what they’re going to teach. They have to come up with not only what they’re going to teach to the students, but how they’re going to communicate it to the students.”

Four workshops will be offered: Classical Ballet Repertoire, Classic Jazz Repertoire, Dance Composition, and Contemporary Fusion. The middle and high school students will be able to choose two workshops to attend during the festival.

Overall, the event is intended to be a learning experience for all who participate, even the college students putting on the classes.

“For our students, University of Alabama students, I hope that this is a great exercise in education for them because it’s one thing to know your material, it’s another thing to teach that material and to develop a good, strong, pedagogical style,” Baker said. 

The dancers putting on the UA Dance Festival are enthusiastic about learning from the experience, as well.

“Young students are so incredible to me because I’ve been there — we’ve all been there,” DiGiovanni said. “We all know how challenging it is. So, I am so excited to be inspired by these young students and have a positive studio experience.”

Registration for the 2018 Dance Festival is already closed; however, registration for next year will open in February 2019. Anyone interested in volunteering for similar future programs can contact UA Theatre and Dance at [email protected]

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