By Madi McCellan
**Disclaimer all answers have been edited**
How long have you been teaching dance at HB?
Since you started teaching, how has the HB dance department changed?
“When I started teaching here we had four levels of dance (dance 1-4) and a dance composition course. There also was a dance for athletes. Over the years our curriculum has changed to reflect the change in the school and the school culture as well as the change in academic offering. The dance department changed along with the school. So we started a contemporary dance class for freshmen and other students without experience. There also was a performing ensemble for upperclassmen with the required prerequisites. In addition we began offering a world dance course and a musical theater course. Now we have a dance technique course and advanced dance which both cover ballet, modern, and jazz within one year. The strength and diversity in dance has stayed the same. Our students represent that, which is very refreshing and I would like to keep that going.”
How do you think the HB dance department will change in the future?
I hope that we will continue embracing even more DEI topics in the genres of dance covered. Also, I would like to see students studying composition, possibly as a class. In the future, I hope to get a movement tech lab where we work with production and design students. This would integrate tech into our dance program similar to professional dance and theatre. I encourage students to further develop artistic choice and express themselves through dance.
What makes HB dance different from the dance programs at other schools?
The major difference between HB dance and other schools dance programs is student centered teaching and creating. Students here are encouraged to develop their own work from early on. Many dancers don’t experience that until they are upperclassmen or even in college. Even prime students are encouraged to make their own movement, learning to express themselves from early on.
Can you tell us a little bit about moving company and the dance concert?
The Moving Company performs in concert on March 4th and 5th, deaturing dances from student choreographers. There are about 4 or 5 student choreographers. There will potentially be a student dance film presented. We will have professional lighting design and costuming. The pieces are created from scratch, and worked on during January and February.
Taal originated as a Strnad project by former HB student Preeti Gill. Its goal is to develop an evening long dance concert which celebrates cultural dance. The dance department has held that concert annually for over Fifteen years. Twenty-six different cultures have been represented over the years in that concert. This year’s concert will take place April 1st, 2022. As of now, we will be presenting Indian, Irish, and German dance this year. Possibly more cultures will be represented.