As the program evolved from its start seven years ago, students have become more open to making such a large commitment to studies outside their demanding dance schedules. “Some people were scared about taking on that extra work,” Chapman says. “Now it is just part of the routine.”
The performing arts climate also inspires the instructors. Interacting with students in their dance element and watching them perform provides insights they can then turn into relevant teachings. At a performance of Romeo & Juliet, Schulz says she began to understand her students’ ability to transform words into movement. “I started to imagine them as readers through their bodies,” she says. “It opened up new ideas for what I teach them.”
It’s also gratifying, Schulz says, to hear students discussing an assigned reading or debating a topic from class as they come out of rehearsal. “I have worked with some of the best students in my teaching career in this program,” she says.