October was a busy month for the dance program; as we approach midterms, our students are are gearing up for Fall Dance Festival. The student choreographers previewed their work-in-progress a few weeks ago and it was exciting to watch these young artists showcase unique voices through movement. Their work this year is eclectic and engaging, and our current majors, performing together in one of my favorite eclectic and energetic events. Tickets are selling fast for Fall Dance Festival, so run…don't walk to get your tickets before they are gone!
We hosted our first College Day for prospective students, and watching our students engage and dance alongside our guests was enlightening. More than sixty students, mostly from Lubbock High School, visited campus to take part in our Friday technique labs, tour our buildings, and observe student work. Many of these students had not considered college or dance as an area of study, and I was thrilled to overhear many of them say how excited they were at the possibility of both. We will host another College Day in April and hope to have similar success.
Allow me a moment to brag about the dance faculty and our students. Yvonne Racz-Key, one of our ballet instructors and Artistic Director of Ballet Lubbock, was honored as this year's National Award for Outstanding Leadership (Independent Sector) from NDEO (National Dance Education Organization). We are thrilled for Yvonne and for Ballet Lubbock. This speaks to her incredible skillset not only in practice, but in theory. We are proud she earned her MFA with us!
Kristi Franks, a recent graduate of our M.A. in Dance Studies program, won the Doug Risner Prize for Emerging Dance Researchers. Her winning manuscript, derived from her thesis, "Exploring Postsecondary Experiences for Dance Majors in States with Backgrounds in Competitive Dance and/or Drill Team," will be published in the Journal of Dance Education. Only one emerging researcher in the country is awarded this prize every year, illustrating her impressiveness as a researcher and the impact of her research nationally. This also speaks to the instruction she has received earning her advanced degree from TTU. Congratulations to Kristi!
Dr. Ali Duffy shared her motherhood research in Vancouver at the Dance Studies Association conference, co-presenting with Vice Provost Genevieve Durham DeCesaro. She also presented at the 2022 Women in Dance Leadership Conference.
Lauren Biediger, a MA Dance graduate student, presented her thesis research as a paper and taught an Alsatian dance class at the World Dance Alliance mini conference at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
It makes me proud to serve as Head of a dance program that encourages and supports successful research and practice for both faculty and students.