the Department of Dance at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)

the Department of Dance at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)

October 14, 2019 5 By Stanley Isaacs


As far as this department goes, I think it really breeds artists. Like how to be a performer, how to create art, and how to be art onstage. The audition process incorporated a class: a ballet class and a modern class. It was interesting because it was a modern class and ballet, which I wasnít very familiar with, but because I have such a passion for movement and I really understand inertia and just kind of how my body works, I was excited to know that I was gonna be taught what I was trying to do. We came out here and auditioned, and we couldnít find a better place. And I remember the day of the audition feeling very welcomed by the faculty Well there were a lot of them watching the audition. It made me nervous but it was better that way because there were more perspectives. They wanted students that were a work in progress. That they didnít expect that you know everything already. Well I slowly but surely weaved my way into the department. You know I started taking a couple classes here and there and my revolution within my spirits are so to speak were just go for it. You knowyou have the passion for it, so just move forward in your passion And I just fully immersed myself and just fell in love with it. Once you get on the stage, just once you really canít escape it. My name is Kaitlin Muse. Iím originally from a little German town right outside of San Antonio, Texas and lived there for 12 years and then came out here for school. Depending on who your teacher is, it can get pretty scary. Thereís so many different types of techniques and types of teachers and theyíre all really demanding but in different ways so they are really gonna push you from semester to semester. My name is Eboni Jones. Iím from Modesto, California. Iím definitely am a modern girl so any of the modern classes have been favorites of mine. West African dance class, thatís like my heart and Latin Jazz is a lot of fun too. My name is Katherine Schafer Ostrout. I am originally from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Iíve lived in Southern California most of my life. All the teachers are encouraging us to be that super dancer that can do ballet, that can do modern, jazz. Thereís all kinds of classes here. Iím planning on taking flamenco next semester. Iím Sam Propersi. Iím originally from San Jose. Came here to Long Beach and discovered the new world of modern and ballet as a good foundation. My name is Dana Findley and I actually was a graduate student here at the dance department of Cal State Long Beach for the past three years. Iíve felt mentored but allowed to have my own voice and for me creating three different pieces that were very different from each other and having amazing facilities, faculty, costume design. Liz is amazing and Andy with the lighting and the technical side, Eric for the music really kinda created such a professional environment and opportunity to do really anything that I wanted to do. Our facilities are phenomenal. We have three studios on the bottom floor that are all marley with two story ceilings so you really you have modern classes in there. You dance in a small studio and you feel cramped, you donít feel like you can expand and really extend your limbs when youíre in the studio thereís no limit and upstairs we have three more studios hardwood floors. One where we have our tap classes and more of our comp classes. We have the student lounge here. We can rest here, thereís couches, thereís always people napping and this is our own space. The teachers donít come in here so we can hang out with our friends. The dance department really focuses on more than jusst taking classes theres a whole other side of wellness for your body and understanding the way the body works and how to train and how to recover from injury. Not only do we have facilities like the Pilates lab but we also have a wellness center that is run by an athletic trainer His goal is you come in to prevent injury so heís open for you to work out and grow stronger. Heíll help you build a program. But then also if you are injured you have somewhere to go for rehab and treatment. The wellness center isÖ I donít know if thereís another place like it in the country. There are different concerts: Three different concerts Thereís the contemporary, the Faculty and MFA concert, thatís the masters students, the candidates and for the faculty and for the MFA you have to audition like you would in the program. When it really gets hairy is right up till the show time because about two weeks before the show starts youíll be in the theater pretty much every single night doing tech rehearsals and doing lighting rehearsals so before the show actually starts you probably have four or five full rehearsals on stage so they make sure you are ready I mean thereís no room for slip ups the crew has practice you have practiced. They never let u go out onstage not prepared. The most recent piece that I did was this last semester in the contemporary concert and it was entitled Ibuki. I thoroughly and entirely enjoyed this piece. And this piece is about breath of life you can apply it to your spirit and Iím a very spiritual person and I immediately connected to the concept. And so the piece for me was beyond fulfilling because I was dancing with dancers who just love the art of dance, Theyíre not so consumed in image and looking great letís just explore this art, and not just physically but with our spirits in see where we soar. Iím Cyrus Parker-Jeannette and I am chair of the Department of Dance at California State University Long Beach. Weíre very proud of our alumni theyíre doing all sorts of things. We have dancers doing Broadway touring productions; in fact one of our recently graduated students is now the dance captain for Wicked the touring production. We have a couple of students performing with Cirque du Soleil Many many teachers and actually students dancing all over the country in companies. Our undergraduate program is by audition only and the students who come here auditioning must be pretty capable already And the audition itself, though we try to create a supportive and inviting environment is inherently competitive. really believe that the versatile and well educated dancer is much more apt to be the employable dancer. First meeting the faculty, you really get this impression that they really really know what theyíre doing because Iíve been to auditions before weíll have somebody teach where you just donít feel the authority and really here you could feel their experience and them passing it on to you and you just feel like youíre in really good hands Itís not only the technique and the level of academia but itís also the compassion with the professors. As a graduate student you really, theyíre not too busy, theyíre not too busy Theyíve always been so inspiring, they make me wanna do everything. And itís this kind of great little community where thereís little time and we all work and we all dance and we all have school but we all find time to rehearse for each others works. Youíre gonna be living here in this studios so you might as well make friends, make it your home This is your community, this is your family. I feel like Long Beach is my family (music)