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Graduate Dance Students to Provide Master Classes at Collin College

Three Students Will Teach Modern and Jazz Classes to 60 Students

On Tuesday, March 23, three graduate students in the Meadows School Division of Dance will provide master classes for undergraduate dancers at Collin College. Tawanda Chabikwa, Gregory King, and Leslie Hale, all of whom are 2010 M.F.A. candidates at the Meadows School, will teach advanced modern and jazz classes to approximately 60 students.

“This is really just us extending this opportunity to the community, to give a taste of the work we have done at SMU, and hopefully get some people to come to the Graduate Thesis Concert in April,” said Tawanda. “Our work and styles vary greatly and we believe strongly we have something to offer in this way. Gregory’s strength and interest is in contemporary ballet; he comes from a strong classical movement background. Leslie Hale came from a classical modern background, primarily Martha Graham technique and pedagogy. And I am focused on African contemporary dance theatre, a fusion of African traditional, modern, physical theatre and multimedia performance. We are all artists who have worked, and still work, professionally in our respective fields and would love to engage the local community too.”

The collaboration is part of an ongoing relationship between the two dance departments. Over the past three years, Collin College faculty member Danna Reubin, who earned an M.F.A. in dance from SMU in 2005, has been actively working to foster this relationship by organizing discounted and free tickets for Collin College students to attend SMU dance concerts, encouraging them to audition for the SMU Division of Dance, and keeping close ties with SMU dance faculty.

“This is the first master dance class we’ve done with SMU, and we are thrilled to give our young dancers a chance to participate in this innovative and educational workshop,” said Reubin. “We particularly appreciate the support of Tiffanee Arnold, chair of the Collin College Division of Dance, and Dr. Shelley Berg, professor of dance and director of graduate dance studies at SMU, in helping bring this about.”

The M.F.A. Thesis Concert, featuring original choreography and restagings of choreographic masterworks, will be held April 30-May 2 in the Bob Hope Theatre in the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus. Times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students. For more information, please call the Meadows Box Office at 214.768.2787 or buy tickets online

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