Brief history of dance at Troy University

Kianna Collins

Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance is a fairly new program, 2016 marking the fourth year since its inception.

Troy University existed without a dance BFA for four years, even though it had a Theatre and Dance Department. It was previously titled the Department of Theatre and Speech until April 2008.

The BFA began in June of 2012 after approval by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and was offered almost immediately in the following fall semester.

“When we began, we offered dance minors a strong performance minor,” said Deborah Hicks, coordinator of dance at Troy University. “We recruited six of the best dancers in the state in 2008 and called this ensemble the Troy Dance Repertory Ensemble, and that is what we started with.”

Hicks continued to say that these six dancers, in addition to collaboration with several music students, carried the dance performances.

Six more people joined to the ensemble in 2009. This same year, they had two concerts. The next year, Troy University sent them to China to perform two concerts at sister universities in the country.

The BFA began as a need for the state of Alabama to offer a conservatory curriculum for dance. Other programs in Alabama don’t offer this.

Now, the program has evolved to include two concerts every year, as well as participation in the Alabama Dance Festival.

There is also an additional ensemble called “ArtWorks.”

“It’s a small group chosen for their artistic and academic excellence,” said Dominique Angel, assistant professor of dance.

This group travels occasionally and provides more performing opportunities for students involved.

Every fall concert includes student-choreographed pieces. Choreographing provides opportunities to students to see the inner workings of producing a performance.

“Students cast their own choices,” Angel said. “They get experience with working one on one with costume designers … They have to be considerate of budget, too.”

She also said that student choreographers even have to direct their own lighting for their piece.

The spring concert held every year is choreographed by guest artists and faculty. They hold auditions in January for this performance.

Students who aren’t a part of the BFA program can also participate in these concerts.

“Everyone is able to audition during open auditions,” Hicks said. “We hold those every August and sometimes in the spring.

“We have a good number of students who dance and participate in plays and musicals who are not theater or dance majors.”

Troy University’s BFA has a short yet successful history, and every year the department grows.

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