Dance majors prepare for senior showcases in the spring

After years of dedication and practice, senior dance majors are preparing for life outside of Eastern. As final performances draw nearer, they reflect on their training and look forward to the future.

Although the program was very limited in the late 1990s with few classes and fewer performances, Eastern’s dance department has flourished in recent years. Ever since it was officially established as a major in 2003, large numbers of students and faculty members have come together to celebrate the expression and integration of faith and art.

“At Eastern, dance is both art and ritual,” the department’s Web site says. “[It is] the soul speaking through the body, an expression of the spirit of God. The past has been blessed; the future is bright.”

Caroline Butcher is one of the many busy dance major seniors preparing for graduation in the spring. Having been a dancer since she was seven years old, Butcher says that majoring in dance was the natural choice and she could not picture her life without it.

“[Dance] is the way I make sense of the world,” Butcher said. “It is the way I reflect on the innermost parts of my soul and it is the way I dialogue with others about life.”

With hopes of teaching and performing professionally in the future, Butcher has been working diligently on her piece for the Senior Showcase, a performance held in February that gives seniors the opportunity to choreograph and produce a full-length dance performance.

“Dance is not just a physical activity: It is historical, scientific, artistic, spiritual, and intellectual,” Butcher said. “Experiencing dance in these contexts has been one of my favorite parts of studying at Eastern”.

Emily Luca, a fellow dance major, transferred to Eastern just over two years ago and has enjoyed every bit of her experience. “It has been the best experience I have ever had in a dance program,” she said. “It is a welcoming, safe environment that has nurtured me and my art.”

Like Butcher, Luca is busy with plans for the future. As she hopes to combine missions and dance in her future career, Luca is choreographing her senior project to reflect the effects of ADHD as she has experienced them in her brother’s life.

“It has been challenging and stressful, but a very interesting experience so far,” Luca said of the planning process.

Although the prospect of graduation is ripe with excitement, both dancers are saddened at the idea of leaving the community that Eastern’s dance department has provided.

“Dance is a competitive and debilitating industry, but when you are facing that with people who support you it is a little bit easier to handle,” Butcher said. “Being able to take classes everyday with some of your closest friends is a rare gift, and I will miss this privilege dearly.”

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