Dance performance majors senior-piece it all together

Kait Kishbaugh and Aubrey Phillips were two of 14 graduating dance performance seniors who performed their senior pieces April 28.

The light at the end of the tunnel is in sight. Graduating dance performance seniors are one step closer to graduation.

The students performed their senior pieces at 4 p.m. April 28 in the Kirkpatrick auditorium in the Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Center. To see a list of graduating seniors, click here.

Kait Kishbaugh, dance performance senior, said she felt “wonderful” after performing her senior piece.

Kishbaugh said she plans to take the summer off and hopes to get a job in the New York or on the East Coast in the fall.

Performing a satisfactory senior piece is one of the requirements students must adhere to before graduation. Seniors also must pass jazz, tap and ballet proficiency exams, make at least a Level 7 in a dance style of their choice, a Level 6 in their second dance style of choice and a Level 5 in their third style of choice. Graduating seniors also must make their weigh-in goal and pass an oral exam prior to graduation.

Dance performance seniors often relocate to pursue different performing careers after graduation. To see a list of some venues and locations where OCU dance alumni have performed, click here. To see a list of some Broadway shows OCU dance alumni have been in, click here. As of 2006, more than 48 dance alumni had performed on cruise ships, more than 37 had performed as Radio City Rockettes and more than 31 had performed in Broadway shows, according to the 42nd St. and Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management document.

But, just because the dancers are alumni of the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management, does not mean they will have gigs falling in their laps.

Questions during the students’ oral exam following their senior pieces made clear the views of Jo Rowan, chairman of the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management, on the entertainment industry. Some of the questions and answers included:

  • Q: Is life fair?     A: No.     Q: What do you do about it?     A: Get over it.
  • Q: How do you make it in the industry?     A: Make yourself desirable.

Getting work in Los Angeles:

“The commercial dance world requires almost more from you than dance skill and if you want to work regularly, you have to put in some serious legwork both in and outside the studio,” according to Be Your Own Agent, an article by Kathryn Holmes, a former editor at Dance Spirit magazine.

Here are some tips Holmes offers for getting hired:

  1. Get to class— Even professional dancers need to continue to train.
  2. Network smart— Dancing is almost as much about who you know as about how you dance.
  3. Work the Web— Posting videos of yourself in class or performance will expose your talent to a broader audience and many casting agencies and choreographers actually search the Internet for fresh dance faces.
  4. Cultivate your image— Dress for class in a way that highlights your best features and shows off your personal style.

Making it in New York City:

Kendra Barreda, assistant director of alumni relations, said she suggests the graduating seniors become a member of the OCUNYC alumni chapter.

“There are about 750 OCU alumni living in New York City,” Barreda said. “About 650 of the alumni are members of the alumni chapter.”

Barreda said OCUNYC is like a family for alumni of the university.

“Members help the new alumni with things as simple as finding an apartment,” she said.

Barreda said OCUNYC was established in 2006 and is the university’s only established alumni chapter, but officials are looking to start a second chapter in Chicago.

Jo Rowan, chairman of the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management, said during senior piece performances that sticking with your OCU family is important.

Dancers share West Side Story audition experience

dance performance senior

Carla Yoselow, dance management junior

Katy Zelon, dance pedagogy senior

Daniella Ortega, OCU alumna '09

By Amanda Alfanos

Imagine auditioning for a Broadway musical which is acclaimed as “one of the most memorable musicals and greatest love stories of all time”: West Side Story.

Carla Yoselow, dance management junior, Kim Fauré, dance performance senior, Katy Zelon, dance pedagogy senior, and Daniella Ortega, alumna ’09, auditioned for the show for the first time during Spring Break on March 15 in New York City. The audition began at 10 a.m.

The performers were first taught a 16-count combination from to the show’s song, America. The performers did the routine across the floor one at a time before the directors cut about 70 percent of the performers. After the cut, the choreographer took five to 10 minutes to teach the rest of the choreography to a group of about 30 dancers. The performers then executed the choreography in groups of five. Another cut was then made and the remaining performers were asked to sing, Yoselow said.

“It was a little intimidating, but I was there with three other OCU students, so we kind of stuck together, really as like a family,” Yoselow said.

Yoselow and Ortega made it to the end of the dance call. Fauré and Zelon made it to the end of the audition.

“I hope I get a callback. After the audition, they asked me if I was available in May,” Fauré said.