Sharing the stage: Boise State’s theater, film, and creative arts department is underrepresenting dance

Courtesy of Krista Hamel

Two Boise State theater classes, THEA 210 and 410, swept audiences away with their two day showcase “Convergence” spanning three shows on Dec. 1, at 7 p.m and Dec. 2, at 2 and 7 p.m. The Repertory dance class had 9 different dances surrounding the theme of transition, metamorphosis, dualities, and transcendence. 

Each student dancer choreographed their own 4-6 minute contemporary style dance. Dance instructor Yuerk Hansen directed the showcase and ran lights and music alongside Fred Hansen. 

The uniqueness of THEA 210 and 410 are that it is the only classes in the Department of Theatre, Film, and Creative Writing that hold live performances. The Pointe class used to perform but doesn’t anymore. 

Seven student choreographers (Krista Hamel, Molly Balison, Izzy Bothwell, Jess Sheridan, Katharine Roundy, Leonardo Aleksander Ryan, and Holly Morrison) handled teaching their own dances to other students for the showcase. 

After the event, some of the choreographers backstage talked with The Arbiter about their personal experiences within the department. 

Varying classes for dance have been cut periodically from the catalog. 

“People who are trying to register and sign up for classes that show up online but don’t exist in the system,” Bothwell said. 

“No one knows that there are dance classes,” Hamel said. “How long has a single department person come to our show?” she asked her fellow dancers. 

“Probably about like five years,” Sheridan replied. The girls also mentioned that they get extra credit by attending theater shows and completing written reviews, yet do not receive anything for participating in own shows. There is no incentive for theater students or other students in the department to come see dance showcases. 

When the Arbiter asked the girls who received more funding, they explained that the theater department receives more funding and they only receive funding through optional donations.

Bothwell explained how they have been kicked out of studio spaces during one of her scheduled rehearsals because of theater department senior projects and theater conflicts, even though the repertory dance class is for college credit and has priority over the studio space. They explained how they have had to move to the racketball room of the Rec.

According to Hamel, she created the design for the flyer with her own hands using oil pastels to symbolize the theme of “convergence”.

“[Krista] used her own funds, we use our Bronco cards to print as many things as possible,” Sheridan added. 

Theater major Leonardo Aleksander Ryan emphasized the same lack of department support as his fellow dancers in a separate interview. 

 “I’m both a theater major and a dance minor. I would say: No, we don’t get any attention or help really, there’s not even a dance major program. We’re all dance minors or we’re just taking these classes because we love it. So like, we don’t really have the same academic support” Ryan said. “Anytime that we have showcases like this, like in the theater department, they advertise their shows for weeks and weeks and weeks. We got our social media posted two days ago, three days ago.”

Ryan has been in the program for around two years, and has been dancing off and on since he was five. He choreographed the dance “Metamorphosis” in this year’s showcase. 

“The actual faculty who are part of the dance teachers like Katie Ponozzo, Jamie, Yuerk, they’re all incredible,” Ryan said. “They are some of the best people to learn from and they’re amazingly supportive …we say in the dance program although we’re small we’re small but mighty. And the people who like the professors who teach here are very attuned to working with people of all different levels and preparing your technique.”

A showcase is put on each semester and the dancers work hard through the weeks to create something beautiful for audiences to enjoy. All shows are completely free to students, teachers and faculty. 

“I mean, we’re part of theater, film and creative writing and we’re the only thing that’s not mentioned in that title,” Ryan said. 

The word convergence means the act of coming together or moving toward unity and uniformity. Despite this, students feel like the Department of Theater, Film, and Create Writing needs to converge more with the talented dancers and choreographers of Boise State.

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