A blog for college dancers

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Improv: Be Prepared to be Inspired

Oh, the beauty of improv.

If you told me to improv before college I would look at your think okay “i’ll throw in a turn, a kick, and some more tricks.” Even better, some contact improv? I would look at you like you had three heads.

If you ask me about improv now? I probably jump leap for joy inside. It’s the act that allows a dancer to go to another place. A place where you cannot even think while it’s happening, and that is the beauty of it. But isn’t that was dancing is truly about? Letting our body and mind go wherever in space? Exactly.

Some competition studios may not be doing it right, but The Club Dance Studio sure is. Competitions are full of choreographed pieces, well these two talented dancers just threw themselves on stage and improved a duet. May sound like a total train wreck, right? Well, in this case this improved duet is probably better then any choreographed duet I have ever witnessed. It is true inspiration.


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The Shock: Competition to College

When a dancer goes from the competition to college, it is a whole new world. You think WOAH, where exactly am I?

Where are my kicks? What do you mean a piece is not 2 min and 30 seconds? Where are my five fuette turns into a triple into an illusion? Where are my weekends filled with high platinum’s and special awards? Where is my solo, duet, trio, and seven group dances?

 Personally, I feel every competition dancer feels this way as they enter college. Yet, as time goes on all these questions soon become erased. College is where you develop your artistic ability, learn about the great dance historians that developed codified techniques, overall where you learn who you are as a dancer inside and out.

Coming to Salve Regina University, all I thought that existed in the world of dance was “the better tricks, the better dancer,” however there is WAY more too it. I would put the “way” in about 500x size font if I could. In my Junior year, I can say I know the background of dance (the duty as a dancer), the kinesiology, who I am as a dancer and choreographer, but most of all I know myself as a person. I have an artistic style, and I am proud of it.

I have been surrounded by CRAY talented choreographers and dancers in the concert world. Yet, most of these dancers come from a competition background. With all the negativity that surrounds competitions, I wonder, are competitions what give some of the great concert dancers the foundations to be great? 

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The Intense In Summer Intensive

You know that moment?

That moment when you are dancing more than 8 hours a day and ‘BOOM’ summer sneaks up on you out of no where? You are suddenly wondering, what do I do now?

It seems impossible as a dancer to go through months without dancing. Well, that is exactly what summer intensives are for. Sometimes these programs only last a week or up too 6 weeks, but one thing is certain: the friends made, the opportunities presented, and the overall growth not just as a dancer, but a person will remain with you forever.

Being accepted and participating in the 3 week Urbanity Dance Summer Intensive program was amazing. Actually, no words can even describe it. The eight hour days consisting of ballet, contemporary, guest artists, and rehearsal not only pushed myself physically, but mentally, in ways that I didn’t even know I could be pushed.  Although, my body would be shouting at me “NO STOP,” I found myself stronger and more confidence as each day passed.

The leaders of the intensive, Betsi Graves and Kat Pantos, created a light of positivity cascading the studio day by day.  It was a environment of growth surrounded by fellow dancers. Although, we all came from different places, we shared one thing in common: our passion for dance. As an intensive comes to an end, the feeling is indescribable. You feel proud and accomplished that “yes, you did this.” Oh, and did I mention I could hold a plank for 8 minutes by the end? Yup, EIGHT minutes. 

So, wondering what you should be doing this summer? Well, the answer to that questions seems pretty easy now, huh? While many intensives are quite expensive, it is completely worth the money. Look for scholarships.Cut down on the coffee everyday for the extra cash. Do whatever it takes because it is a life changing experience for a dancer. Even after the vigorous hours each day with intense blood  sweat, and even maybe some tears, you will realize it was the best decision of your summer.



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Technique and Texting

This generation likes  LOVES texting.

No, really? This statement is obviously a given. But, did you ever think texting was affecting your technique? Well, you might want to take a second thought the next time you pull out your IPhone to text.

Shout out to Melissa Schrock who posted “Is Texting Bad for Your Technique?” with the Dance Magazine blog, for bringing up a topic that seems so out of the ordinary. But, guess what? It DOES affect your technique. 

Listen up because as dancers, our technique is everything. We practice to obtain stronger technique. We strive for that ideal perfect dancer. This day to day habit may be hard to break, but you may want to think it over.

“A recent study at Hong Kong Polytechnic University looked at how the use of smartphones impacts our bodies. Researchers surveyed 1,049 people ages 10 to 50 and found that a startling 70 percent of adults and 30 percent of children suffered musculoskeletal symptoms as a result of their technology use,” Schrock explains.

Strong technique means perfect alignment. That slouching over reading that oh so important text? Most likely, it is affecting your alinement.Do you find  your professor  constantly giving corrections from “lengthen your spine” to “lift  your chin up?” Well, you guessed it. Texting could be the answer.

My solution? There is no doubt we are “generation smartphone.” It seems almost impossible to completely get rid of texting from our lives. It’s simple, try being aware of slouching while you’re texting. Regular people are most likely “okay”  living with the aliment issues due to texting, but as dancers are not. This is our everything, our career, and our overall strive for the perfect technique.

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Nursing Major? This dancer proves you can still dance!


Every dancer needs one thing: passion.

However, what happens when you have a passion besides dance? Well, dancer Alysia Sjoberg knows what that is all about.  Training in various styles since the young age of three, this well-rounded dance has not one clue what life is without the art form.

Dancing with FusionWorks Dance Company her sophomore  year of high school, performing in the Boston Contemporary Festival last summer, and currently accepted to participate in the Urbanity Dance summer intensive, it is clear she is extraordinarily talented. Yet, would her aspiration to become a nurse essentially get in the way of her passion for dance? Of course not.

When Sjoberg  decided to attend to Salve Regina University she was forced to make a  major decision; pick between dance and nursing. Sounds pretty scary right? Well, she was not ready to give up dance completely. Currently in her sophomore year, she is a Nursing major unable to fit a dance minor.  Yet, she is a member of the University’s professional dance company, Extensions Dance Company.

She explains she has complete faith that fulfilling both her passions is possible! Getting up at the crack of dawn for  nursing clinical while staying in the dance studio for rehearsal until 10 pm, the question is: How does she do it? Personally, I call Alysia Sjoberg the “dance wonder woman.” 

Describe what does dance means to you.

Dance is my release. It is a way for me to release all of the built up stress that I have accumulated throughout the week. It is a way for me to express my emotions, especially things that I can’t put into words. It is something that makes me feel unique, and sets me apart from others. It is a huge part of my life and will continue to be for a long time in the future.

What made you decide to be a nursing major over a dance major?

I have always had a calling to help people. I found a passion working with children whether in the dance studio or volunteering and that also sparked my interest in nursing. Also the stability of a career in nursing really attracted me to this major. I see dance as more of a passion than a lifetime career for me. Dance is something that I do for myself and I wanted a major that would provide me with a job where I could help others. I am dancing about 5 nights a week and still doing what I love so I personally think it was the right choice for me.

Being a nursing major, how do you involve yourself in dance?

I am involved in Extension’s Dance Company where I have had numerous performance opportunities. I take one technique class during the week, to continue my dance education. I also am involved in SRU Dance in both the fall and spring semester. This allows me to be dancing almost every Sunday of the year. Finally, I am involved in the Student Choreography Showcase in the spring semester where I learn and then perform new pieces.

What advice would you give to a dancer who cannot be a dance major or minor?

I would say if you really love to dance put yourself in every performance opportunity possible. Yes, with schoolwork it can be stressful at times but in the end it is so worth it. The connections and opportunities I have been presented with as a dancer who is neither a minor or major are incredible.


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The Double is Possible

Double. No, not a double pirouette. I mean a double major.  Seems pretty scary huh? 

Well, fear not because it IS possible. This is the last thing one wants to think about, but it’s a route many dance majors seem to take. Dance is our passion, but sometimes one might have an interest in another field. One might want to combine the two degrees in their future or even just have their other degree in their back pocket  dance bag.

Being apart of a dance program can already be full of endless hours with no free time, but where is that time to add another major? Here’s a few tips on how to do both:

Pick a major that compliments your dance major. Some majors, such as, nursing and biology, max your number of credits making both completely impossible. Your college advisors are here to help. So, make a meeting and figure out which major is possible to co exist with dance!

It is all about your time management. Carrying around an agenda book helps keep track of your busy schedule. Try a mini size agenda book, that will fit perfectly between your books water bottle and ballet shoes! This will help you be aware of your free time, even though it’s extremely minimum. That fifteen minute apple break between rehearsals is the perfect time to get a bit of work done!

Finally, remember that thing our bodies naturally do? Oh yeah, it’s called breathing. Running around from class to rehearsal can be overwhelming, so find a quiet place whether it’s the dance studio or the quiet floor in the campus library, and use these helpful breathing exercises  that Dance Spirit suggests.