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In Defense of the Dance Major

dooling blog pic

Shannon Dooling, a 2007 DeSales Graduate recently posted an intriguing blog post called “In Defense of the Dance Major”.  In the blog post, Shannon talks about the importance of the dance major and her personal experiences in the dance world. We are very proud of our alumni student! Go Shannon!

Click here to view the article: In Defense of the Dance Major






Relay For Life 2014

Dancers Fighting Cancer!

dancers fighting cancer 2014 group

This year the Dance majors took over at Relay! Check out this message from the teams captain, Cristina Siegel:

Relay for life with Dancers Fighting Cancer was a complete success!

We started out on Friday evening and made it all the way until Saturday afternoon! I am so proud of every single person on the team this year, and am happy to announce that with the support of family, friends, and professors, we raised $4,632.41, ranking us #1 out of 16 teams. We were also the biggest team ever with a roster of 36 people!

More big news! Julissa Dee, & Samantha Jones both shaved their heads,and received donations totaling about $400.00 for the cause!! Kaitlyn Maria also was recognized for her constant walking throughout the night, totaling about 30 miles! Also, congratulations to Samantha Burns ($910) Sam Jones ($405) & Jordan Fager ($400) who were our top 3 fundraisers & to Julissa DeJesus, Amanda Lee Sedor, Haley Gilbert, Sarah Rose,Andrea Miller, Kate Sloan, Katie Borrello, & Kristin Gorman for raising over $100 each!

Dancers Fighting Cancer was also recognized for raising the most money in 80 hours, having more than 15 members, having the most spirited team, & for raising the most money at DSU for the American Cancer Society.”

Congratulations to all involved in RELAY, I have been more than blessed to have been able to spend this weekend with you.

dancers fighting cancer 2014 sam

dancers fighting cancer 2014 the teamdancers fighting cancer 2014 sam ad julissa


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Dancer For A Day!

Time is running out to register your child for “Dancer For A Day” at DeSales University. On Sunday, October 20, 2013 young and aspiring dancers are invited to spend the day at DSU, while participating in a variety of classes taught by current students!

Take a look!


DSU Dancer For A Day 2013


Hope to see you there!





Vol. 1, Issue 1

PAGE 1 Page 2

Dancers Fighting Cancer

Dancers Fighting Cancer: DeSales Dancers Participate in Relay for Life

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back. On April 27-28, the DeSales University Dance Department did just that and started what I’m sure is to be an annual tradition: Relay for Life.

The team was started by XTE, the Dance Honors Society, and captained by the club’s president, Kelsey George ’12. The entire dance department was encouraged to join the “Dancers Fighting Cancer” team and begin fundraising for a cure.

The event started at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 26 and would continue until noon the next day. We set up two tents and were selling dance-themed cookies as our on sight fundraiser. Naturally, we made our presence known as soon as we took our first steps on the track. Wearing hot pink t-shirts and zebra-striped tutus, other Relay-ers could spot all twenty-six of us from a mile away! Although the rules only called for one member of the team to be walking at all times, at least two dancers could be spotted walking together, hand-in-hand, throughout the night.

As the night wore on and the temperatures continued to drop, all event participants were reminded why Relay is so important during the Luminaria Ceremony. Everyone was given a glow stick and asked to break it so it would glow in honor of someone they know or knew who was diagnosed with cancer. Then everyone walked a Silent Lap to reflect on those that may have lost their battle with cancer or are still fighting one today. After this point in the night, I think there was a strong connection between everyone there, specifically our team. We realized why we need to do whatever we can to help find a cure for this disease.

Hours passed, other teams and participants had turned in but the Dancers Fighting Cancer were still going strong. A 2 a.m. Zumba class and a dancer-dominated scavenger hunt let everyone know (again) that we meant business.

In the wee hours of the morning, as the sun began to rise, the deliriousness started to set in. Our team had managed to keep the most members awake throughout the night, resulting in some pretty sleep-deprived dancers. When a live band arrived at around 9 in the morning, we knew just what we had to do. We did what we do best… dance! Eventually the rest of the teams joined us and despite our lack of sleep and frozen bodies, everyone danced together until the Closing Ceremony.

At the Closing Ceremony, the Dancers Fighting Cancer won three awards: Top Fundraising Team, Highest Scoring Team and Most Spirited Team. After raising approximately $2,600 and walking for the past 18 hours, we had more than reached our goal. Not only did we accomplish what we had originally set out to do, but we had also done so much more. We came together as a department. We were a team and we showed the whole school just how close we are. In the words of Team Captain Kelsey George: “I always say that dance is a therapy, both physically and mentally. We used what we knew last night to push through and make it to the very end!”

Coming together as a department and working towards a common goal is something we should all be extremely proud of. Our hard work paid off and our efforts were noticed. It was an extremely emotional and rewarding experience for everyone involved and I have no doubt that this is a tradition that will continue for many years to come.

Written by: Erin Weigand
DeSales University ‘13
Dance & Communication Major

DeSales Dance Faculty – Coppelia

Written by: Leigha Adduci
DeSales University ‘13
Dance & Communication Major

‘Coppelia’ is a charmingly humors ballet set in three acts full of endless entertainment. ‘Coppelia’ introduces dancing dolls, marionettes, and much more! This creative ballet has a little something for everyone to enjoy.

Dance faculty member Trinette Singleton, and the Repertory Dance Theatre, also known as RDT, are presenting this enchanting ballet in our local area!

Trinette Singleton, in collaboration with Jennifer Tracy have been rehearsing with the Repertory Dance Theatre for numerous months and are thrilled to finally present their enthusiastic production to the community.  RDT dancers have been rehearsing since January 2011 and cannot wait to share all of their hard work through their miraculous production of ‘Coppelia’.

Please join the dancers at the Scottish Rite Theatre at 15th and Hamilton in Allentown, PA. Performances are open to the public on Saturday, March 31st at 1:00pm and 7:00pm. There is a special performance on Friday, March 30th at 10:00am for local schools to enjoy. Tickets will be available at the door.

For more information, please call 610-965-6216 or visit www.repertorydance.org

The New York Times – April 2011

Mirrors, Clowns and Other Visions

Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

Sharing the Legacy: Alwin Nikolais, at the Kaye Playhouse, included dancers from Tulane in “Temple.”

Published: April 17, 2011

Alwin Nikolais, a pioneer of multimedia dance, didn’t stop at movement. He was a stagecraft wizard whose love for abstraction — along with lights, projections and electronic music — was strangely life affirming. He drew on a dancer’s musculature, not a dancer’s emotions. “He doesn’t even have to be a person — he can be a thing, a place or a time,” he once said.

Yet movement and dancers formed the core of his psychedelic adventures. At the Kaye Playhouse on Friday night, the Hunter College Dance Department presented a program of nine Nikolais pieces. Part of Hunter’s Sharing the Legacy series, the evening featured dancers from several colleges and marked the final American component of the Nikolais centennial celebration.

Nikolais’s dances have influenced countless artists and companies — obviously, Pilobolus and Momix, but even the French conceptualist Xavier Le Roy and the performance artist and designer Leigh Bowery came to mind on Friday. The program, directed by Alberto del Saz, was a long one, with the sort of uneven performances expected from students. But for the sheer assemblage of Nikolais works — selections from 1955 to 1985 — it was also invaluable. “Temple” (1974), “Aviary” (1978) and “Gallery” (1978) haven’t been seen in New York in years.

The opening “Crucible” (1985) was splendid: 10 students from Muhlenberg College created shapes behind low mirror panels. After their disembodied hands and arms became creatures in a double reflection — fancifully deceiving the eye — they continued until a leg and then a torso emerged, essentially freeing the body from the machine.

“Temple,” performed by students from Tulane University, demonstrated that while Nikolais’s works may seem simple, they require constant motion and core strength to give the spine tactile ease. (The dancers struggled.) Students from Marymount Manhattan College fared better in excerpts from “Mechanical Organ” (1980), a dance geared toward pure movement.

Nikolais’s illusionary works about the natural world created a more lasting effect. In “Aviary” excerpts, dancers from Hunter College stood on low, transparent footstools; flexing one foot, they turned their heads sharply, flicking their wrists with darting, birdlike acuteness. “Pond” (1982), performed by Middle Tennessee State University students, transformed dancers into waterlilies gliding along on rudimentary skateboards. And in “Water Studies” (1964), shown by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, dancers seemed to shoot up from water like rippling reeds.

Students from DeSales University used elastic bands to weave a majestic cat’s cradle in “Tensile Involvement.” (From 1955, it’s one of those vintage Nikolais works that still make you gasp.) In excerpts from “Imago” (1963), courtesy of Southern Utah University, a group of Harlequins — wearing white miniature top hats and armless sack dresses — became individuals through their whimsical movement.

And in excerpts from “Gallery,” performed by students from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Nikolais’s chilling side was evident: clusters of electric green faces seemed to float in the air. Creepy clowns, with carnival wheels instead of feet, rolled across the stage. Despite the outlandish, colorful costumes, the dancers, performing with precision and rigor, stayed true to the ominous message: Don’t get too comfortable — a nightmare could be lurking around the corner.

The Dance Journal – January 2009

Exploring Dance Education: DeSales University

Jan 30th, 2009 | By Dance Journal Staff | Category: Dance Education

by Kathleen Glynn
for The Dance Journal

DeSales University, a Catholic institution located in Allentown, offers a BA dance major program full of vigor, strength, and unity. The mission of the DeSales Dance Department is to thoroughly develop the technical and creative potential of each student while integrating dance and theatre arts within a liberal arts curriculum. Dance professors aim to practically and theoretically approach the art form in order to stimulate the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth of the dancer.

The program’s core consists of ballet and modern technique; however tap, jazz, African dance and ballroom are also regularly offered courses. DeSales is equipped with two spacious dance studios, three performance spaces, an accompanist for all technique classes and a well-used open door policy. This policy encourages dancers to take other classes besides their own assigned course, experiencing new teachers and a new class atmosphere. In addition to daily technique classes, all dance majors must complete freshmen and senior seminars, Dance Composition, Dance History, and Kinesiology. The full-time dance faculty includes Tim Cowart, Director of the program, Kristin Fieseler, Associate Director of the program, and Mishele Mennett, Assistant Dance Professor. Adjunct faculty members include Trinette Singleton Washer, former Joffrey ballerina, Tara Madsen, Janet Peck and Lynn Mariani.

Although there are an endless amount of informal performance opportunities spread throughout the year, the department assembles two major concerts annually. In November, DeSales Dance Department presents the Emerging Choreographers Concert, better known as ECC. This is a completely student-run and student choreographed show, pushing students to embrace leadership positions, collaborate with each other, and grow both as performers and choreographers. In March, the department presents DeSales University Dance Ensemble, also simply called DUDE. This main stage event exhibits works choreographed by faculty members and guest choreographers. In the past, DUDE has included modern, Pointe, African, classical jazz and baroque dance. The 2008 show was granted the rights to present Twyla Tharp’s Torelli and this year will be performing Twyla Tharp’s The One Hundreds.

Every Wednesday afternoon dancers at DeSales come together to attend a master class. This weekly event enables students to explore new styles of dance, meet new faces in the dance world, and step outside of comfort zones. Guest teachers this past academic year have included Caroline Copeland, Rebecca Moyer, Rennie Harris, Ashleigh Laitte, Shen Wei, Ben Levy. Each year the university hosts at least two dance residencies, Rennie Harris, Ben Levy and Ashleigh Laitte have all recently resided at DeSales in order to set pieces on students for the DUDE, to give lecture demonstrations and to teach master classes.

The program at DeSales is very dedicated to giving back and reaching out to the community. Dance students aspiring to pass on their talents and passion to others through teaching learn hands-on at the Conservatory of Dance, COD. This is a small establishment on campus which offers classes to youngsters on Saturday mornings such as beginner or intermediate ballet, tap, jazz, and creative movement. Students are encouraged to sign up to teach or to assist another teacher while also earning credits for this rewarding activity. The dance program offers a course entitled “Teaching Methods” which parallels to the activities of COD.

The Creative Exploration Organization, often referred to as CEO, is a dance majors club at DeSales intended to sponsor several annual events in order to promote support and enthusiasm for the arts on campus. CEO event day is an all-day program, inviting young dancers to come and take classes and to perform a small show as the end result. The Dance Honors Society, also called XTE, is meant to engage exceptional academic dance students in community service opportunities A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. Activities usually include fundraising for service organizations, attending community service events, such as Relay for Life, and hosting a scholarly lecture at DeSales.

The Dance Department has been offering a well-received Summer Dance Intensive since 2002. The two-week program includes courses in ballet repertory, modern repertory, Pilates, improvisation, and hip hop. Students who partake in the intensive, although they may be as young as 14, are eligible to earn three credits for the completion of this program.

This is a great place to blossom as both a student and a dancer; the dance education at DeSales produces wholesome, knowledgeable artists who are well equipped to jump into the world. It is an education which emphasizes the value in giving back, cultivating one’s own artistry, and embracing a unique, individual identity.

The Morning Call & The Express-Times – October 2010