Three Coventry High School students and dedicated dancers recently participated in the New England Dance and Musical Theatre Intensive at Dean College in Franklin, MA.
Emily Fusco, 14; Alicia Hoxsie, 17 and Kylie Pimental, 15, who each have a minimum of 12 years dance experience, took part in the rigorous two-week workshop that is meant to prepare dancers, singers and actors ages 15-18 for the college admission process in the field of performing arts. Throughout the program, the girls gained experience with the entire audition and application process which can be tricky for students and parents unfamiliar with college admission procedures, especially those that are audition-based.
While at Dean, the girls were even featured in a segment on WPRI's The Road Show after co-host Meaghan Mooney visited the college to sit in on their training.
Taught by faculty from New England's top performing arts programs including The Boston Conservatory, Emerson and Rhode Island College in addition to many others, Alicia, Emily and Kylie were offered seven courses including ballet, modern technique, jazz, hip hop, tap, choreography and contact improvisation.
"Dance is communication, so we're teaching a choreography class on how to communicate through movement as it's a non-verbal communication," said Julianne O'Brien-Pedersen, Professor of Dance and Dean of the Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance at the college. "How do you get your point across? How do you get that intention and really make an impact?"
Kylie, who took modern dance and choreography courses during the Intensive, said that despite it being hard work, she really enjoys dancing because it allows her to be free, express herself and have fun.
Apart from learning new skills and techniques, the girls were given the chance to meet and collaborate with fellow dancers during class instruction and "free space" - a block of time when students were given access to studio space to develop solo and group choreography and explore ideas from their courses.
"There's some really great people here, I love it," Alicia toldThe Rhode Show. "I'm 17 so this is something I've been looking for for college and I think it's been a really great push to get us going for the future."
Special workshops were also offered on weekends and several weekdays during the program, including yoga, portfolio development, headshot workshop, academic advising, career planning and even acting techniques for dancers. At the end of the program, each dancer was provided with a personalized list of top New England colleges and universities that would suit their abilities, along with the promise of a $500 scholarship award should they decide to attend Dean College in the future.
"It's been very challenging but it's so much fun to get us thinking and moving and really having to depend on yourself to do the hard work," said Emily.
All-inclusive tuition for the Intensive ran about $2,000 per student and included room, board, meals, classes, workshops, a solo concert finale and 24/7 professional staffing.