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July 29, 2011

ULM hosts 30th annual summer dance workshop

The University of Louisiana at Monroe became an amateur dancer's paradise as nearly 200 students from northeast Louisiana and the surrounding region converged on the campus for its annual summer dance workshop.

A joint production of ULM and Twin City Ballet Co. of Monroe, "Dance: An Intensive Workshop" provides students the opportunity to hone their skills under the tutelage of both local and international instructors, bringing a bit of Broadway to the bayou.

The event culminated with a performance July 28 in Brown Auditorium.

"We have worked together to sponsor a summer dance study of the highest quality," said ULM Dance Instructor Gretchen Jones. "Our student dancers are taught, guided and inspired by the best dance faculty the profession has to offer."

Jones said that dancers study dance techniques in classical ballet, modern, jazz and contemporary jazz, hip-hop, tap, musical theatre and conditioning methods such as pilates, yoga and gyrokinesis.

This combination of disciplines delivers a workshop that is among the most comprehensive and high quality found in the region.

"Our workshop is also unique in that it is offered to ULM students, as well as qualified high school students, as a directed study course," Jones said.

"We have had many ULM dancers and students educated and enlightened by the distinguished faculty that visits our campus once each year."

ULM also offers out-of-town dancers room and board on campus to entice would-be performers from the region and beyond to visit campus and consider pursuing a minor course of study in dance at ULM.

"We consider this a great recruiting tool, not only for our department but for the university as well," said Jones.

"The history and success of this workshop is proof of what a good partnership can do to serve the arts, the university and our community."

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