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Department Spotlight: Meredith’s Dance Community


People standing in front of Jones Auditorium and holding up maroon signs that have various dance styles listed
Photo courtesy of @meredithcollegedance on Instagram

It’s no secret that the Dance Department at Meredith College is a close-knit and supportive community on campus. According to the Dance Program’s website, the department is a “collaborative environment for conducting artistic scholarship, developing technical, creative and critical skills within a liberal arts curriculum, and exploring personal expression.” The Herald reached out to the Department Chair of Dance and Theatre, Carol Finley and multiple dance students for their opinions on the program.


The Dance Department at Meredith offers a Dance Minor, Dance Major with optional concentrations in either Private Studio Teaching or Dance Education with a K–12 teaching license and a certificate in Professional Performance. The department offers multiple performance and engagement opportunities open to all students, not just majors and minors, such as multiple dance clubs, concerts each semester, conferences and more. The department offers classes in ballet, contemporary, improvisation, jazz, modern and tap in addition to lecture courses such as Dance History.


In regards to the various clubs available to students, Andrea Dula, ‘24, said, “There are also so many different clubs and organizations within the Dance Department, such as the Meredith Dance Theater Company (MDT), the Meredith Jazz & Tap Company (MJTCo), the Meredith Improv Group, Fierce International Rhythmic Experience (F.I.R.E.), the Meredith Angels Dance Team (MADT), the Meredith College Dance Crew (MCDC), and the Meredith Dance Association (MDA).”


When asked about the Dance Program, Finley said, “I think we have found a sweet spot of size, student interest and relevant programming that seems to be what Meredith needs in this moment…we think that everyone can have a place in the industry and want to support any student who is ready to make that commitment.”


The Herald reached out to students to ask why they believe the Dance Department at Meredith is so special. Michaela Rehbein, ‘24, said, “The Dance Department is an incredibly special place…because of the relationships that I have been able to build with each faculty member. Each educator takes the time to know you on a personal level [and] is wonderful at making sure that everyone feels included no matter their age, looks, dance experience, background and anything else that diversifies us as a student body at Meredith.” Sydney Nelson, ‘25, echoed this sentiment by saying “without the faculty and staff in the dance department, I think it would not work in the way that it does.”


Dula believes the department is special because “the dance department creates a strong sense of belonging here at Meredith and invites us students to share our culture and who we are. We are not limited to a certain body type or dress code; we believe as long as you feel great, are comfortable, are learning and are having fun, that’s all that matters.” Stevie Melvin, ‘24, said that the most special part of the Dance Department is “being surrounded by other people who share a passion for the art form…and connecting with each other without talking is so special. It's a very unique phenomenon.”


Nelson also highlighted for The Herald that “the Dance Department is really the only department that I've met on campus that talks openly about mental health and is almost always available to discuss concerns one-on-one, and [the faculty] bring a sense of understanding to the table.” Rehbein echoed this statement by saying that when she struggled with some mental health issues this semester “being able to go to the faculty members, express my concerns and receive nothing but compassion in return has made all the difference. I see the faculty members as motherly figures as much as I do dance educators—and that is something truly special.”


A unique part of the Meredith College Dance Department is the opportunity to choreograph and perform in shows as early as freshman year. Rehbein said, “I love that the Dance Department gives so many opportunities for us to learn, choreograph and perform,” and Dula highlighted that “you are eligible to do as much as you are able. For example, students can be a part of multiple dance companies and as many dance pieces for the concert as they wish, as long as their schedules allow it.”


Finley told The Herald, in regard to students engaging with the program, that “registering for a class is a great way to experience the dance program for the first time, as is attending a concert or an interest meeting,” and “previous dance experience in some form from dance studio classes to dancing in clubs to learning from Youtube to liturgical or praise dance is common among our students but not required.”


Dula encourages Meredith community members to “come to Jones Auditorium for our spring concert, DanceWorks, on April 21 at 7:30 p.m., April 22 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and April 23 at 2 p.m. There will be works showcased from emerging and mainstage artists!”


For more information on DanceWorks and other studio events, visit the Dance Department’s current season webpage. More information on the Dance Department, in general, can be found on their website, as well. If you have questions about the program, email the Department Chair of Dance and Theatre, Carol Finley at finleyc@meredith.edu.


By Freya Dahlgren, Associate Editor

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