This month, the student organization Dance Alabama! has joined forces with the Alabama State Council on the Arts as part of the Alabama Touring Artist Program. Dancers will travel to schools across the state to perform and interact with K-12 students. A typical performance lasts around half an hour and is followed by an interactive talkback.
Program Director Lawrence Jackson started the program with the belief that it is “imperative for artists to develop and maintain relationships throughout the communities for which they serve.” He explains that many rural areas in Alabama have limited access to the arts “so the goal of this project is to engage and educate these regions by awakening interest, excitement, imagination and creativity to those areas that have historically had limited exposure to the arts.”
Students will learn dance technique and create a short dance of their own, as well as what encompasses dance and the importance of it! Dance can be used to communicate what happens between the lines of a story. It is non-verbal communication, focused on emotions. Understanding the symbolism of dance is incredibly helpful in reading comprehension as students return to the classroom.
The University of Alabama dance students will address these issues with young students across the state, encouraging them to participate through both creation and as a responsive audience member. Camille Stillman, the tour’s stage manager, confides “it is amazing to interact with the kids after the performances and talk to them about their favorite pieces. So many of them have never seen dance before and are amazed by what we do.”
Camille and many other UA Theatre & Dance students will continue the tour through the end of April, spreading dance to schools all over the state. Follow the project on our social media platforms and check out some of the dances for yourself at the upcoming production of Dance Alabama! More information and tickets are available at theatre.ua.edu.