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The Show Goes On: History of Gonzaga Theatre and Dance: Case 4

The Dance Program

The Dance Program

Suzanne Ostersmith

Suzanne Ostersmith

With the arrival of Suzanne Ostersmith at the beginning of the 2001-2002 school year, the Dance Program here at GU experienced a revitalization.  Dance Director Ostersmith began instituting the dance minor as soon as she arrived.  She also started several programs without which the Dance curriculum of today would be completely unrecognizable.  She is the current director of the Dance Department here, and has been involved in theatre as well.  She is the director/choreographer of our current Main Stage show, “Weaving Our Sister’s Voices,” and has directed and choreographed several other shows in the past, including the spectacular “Jesus Christ Superstar” which went on last spring.

First Spring Dance Concert-- 2002

First Spring Dance Concert-- 2002

 Now an annual tradition in the Dance Department, the first Spring Dance Concert happened in spring 2002.

Spring Dance Concert-- 2005, 2013

Spring Dance Concert-- 2005Spring Dance Concert-- 2013

These Spring Dance Concert programs are from 2005 and 2013.  Some of the dancers in the 2013 "Dancing Through the Decades" program are graduating this year.

Dance Costume

Dance Costume

This skirt was a costume in the 2007 Spring Dance Concert.

Spring Dance Concert Poster-- 2008

Spring Dance Concert Poster-- 2008

The pictures on the front of the programs are often black and white versions of the posters for the concert, like this one, for the “Time Warp” concert in spring 2008.

Spring Dance Concert T-Shirt-- 2010

Spring Dance Concert T-Shirt-- 2010

The Spring Dance Concert is advertised on campus in many ways.  One has been T-shirts specially designed for the show, like this one from 2010.

Pointe Shoes

Pointe Shoes

This pair of pointe shoes belongs to the curator of this exhibit, Brenda Mandt, who has been involved in theatre and dance here at GU.

The Dance Minor

The Dance Minor

This flyer shows the current requirements for earning a Dance Minor here.  The program has recently experienced some changes, with the addition of new choices and the increase in credits of some of the classes.

ZagDance

ZagDance

ZagDance is a graduation requirement for the Dance Minor.  GU students gain experience in dance teaching by running a program for community kids.  In the framed photo, a ZagDance class huddles around the bulldog statue with their Gonzaga dance mentors, Ellie Thodal (’13), Becca Campbell (’14), and Mika Aoyama (’14).

Teaching ZagDance

Teaching ZagDance

Becca Campbell teaches ZagDance kids to chassé, 2013.

Movement for the Performer Mask

Movement for the Performer Mask

Masks like this one, created in 2009 by Ashley Newberry, have been made each year in Movement for the Performer since the initiation of the dance program.  Last year, with the introduction of Interdisciplinary Arts to the curriculum by Dance Director Ostersmith, mask making has transferred classes.  Each mask is molded to the face of the student who makes it using paper maché.

Student Choreography Program--2006

Student Choreography Program--2006

The Student Choreography Concert—the capstone of the student choreography class, which is a requirement for the dance minor—first occurred in the spring of 2006.  This program is for that first show.  Each student in the choreography class chooses a company of dancers from their peers and choreographs an original piece to music of their choice.  These pieces are presented and adjudicated each spring.

Student Choreography Prop

Student Choreography Prop

This prop was used in Miranda Heckman’s Student Choreography piece.  This dance was presented in the Student Choreography Concert in spring 2014; Miranda will graduate this spring.