Mar 12, 2010

NEWSFLASH: Columbus is a DANCE city!!

I've been thinking about this a lot lately - Columbus knows it's a football town, a university town, and even a town that appreciates the arts. But I don't think the average Columbusite realizes- we're a dance town, too?

This past winter I attended several touring shows presented by the Wexner Center and was surprised at how many people in the audience were clearly dancers (you can just tell), not to mention just how big the total audiences were.

I don't know why it took me so long to realize this, but other people have been thinking about it too- the front cover feature in the latest CityScene Columbus spells out how mature the Columbus dance scene has become:

Full Of Grace
Alicia Kelso

From tap to tango and ballet to ballroom, Columbus is a city full of happy feet.

Whether you buy tickets to a worldpremiere production by BalletMet or you enroll your kids in an Irish step class, the art of dance is very much a part of our community’s culture.

“There is such a strong arts hub in general here; there are strong educational roots at local colleges and universities, which attracts artists to the area,” says Jennifer Sciantarelli, communications manager at BalletMet.

The Ohio State University’s Department of Dance has been ranked as the top graduate program in the country by industry publication Dance Teacher. This reputation has benefited Columbus as a whole because many of these students stick around after they graduate.

“Dancers are beginning to be recognized as important contributors to the arts scene and they are staying,” says Karen Bell, dean of the College of the Arts and professor with the Department of Dance at OSU.
See the rest of the article text only or even better and with upcoming shows on Page 16, read the article inside the latest issue (click the front cover to go straight to the article).

The article focuses on a few of the bigger players in town:

There are TONS of upcoming dance shows listed on Columbus Dance Calendar so take a look and be amazed.

Now the fact that we have lots of opportunities to attend dance concerts is GREAT, but there's a lot more to be done:
  1. Columbus doesn't yet have a reputation for dance, outside of the dance world. I'm not sure how we get there, but maybe we need an Ohio Dance for Central Ohio. More PR people pitching articles to the media, more press, more outreach programs...
  2. Dance needs to become part of the arts awareness taught in schools.
  3. Lastly, and for somewhat selfish reasons, I want Columbusites to get out there as adults and participate in dance - take a class, go out dancing!

Mar 6, 2010

The Jitterbucks @ Smackdown

On Saturday February 27th, The Ohio State University competed in its first swing dance competition. And it was awesome.

The Dayton Swing Smackdown is kind of a big deal around these parts. Teams battling from across the tri-state area, colleges fielding teams of their own, etc.

OSU Swing Dance Club had decided awhile ago to attempt to field a competition team this year, but we hadn’t had the time to put one together until mid-January. We met a bit, brainstormed some ideas, and several people came up with the song and theming ideas. This was my choreographing debut, filling in about 70% of the final show’s choreography. The rest was put into place with the help of other team members and our awesome Swing Dance Club advisor Neil.

We were making small tweaks and choreography changes all the way up until the week of the Smackdown. The entire show, from mixing the music to performing and competing, happened in just a little over a month. The show itself is a timeless tale of too many gals and not enough guys to go around, with a pretty awesome twist at the end.

And thanks to the hard work of the team, our advisor Neil, and several people from SwingColumbus who helped us, our end product looked pretty spiffy.

Like, Collegiate Battle Champion spiffy. College Cup spiffy.

That’s right. The OSU JitterBucks (name decided only about a week before competition) shocked the college division and took first place among university clubs, despite it being our first time out to Smackdown.

The feeling was incredible; when they announced our names I could hardly believe it! We were all grateful to just be there and hold our own in competition; I don’t think any of us truly believed we had it in us to win on our very first go around. All the colleges there looked fantastic, and OSU looks forward to defending their new title as Collegiate Battle Champion in 2011. Afterall, we’re undefeated in competition (1-0 record), and that’s something we’re going to have to work even harder next year to protect!

Take care,

Mar 2, 2010

Dayton Swing Smackdown Results!!

Columbus brought the smack down to Dayton over the weekend! As 2 time reigning champs, everyone was after us! Unfortunately, Indianapolis finally caught us, but we still got 2nd place and the new OSU Jitterbucks landed as 1st place in the college division to win the Collegiate Cup!

Here are all the results:

Team Competition (Battle of the Swing Cities):

1st Place: Hoosier Hotshots (various Indiana cities)
2nd Place: Team SwingColumbus

Collegiate Cup Team Competition

1st Place: OSU Jitterbucks (Columbus, OH)

Other teams competing (in random order):
Razmataz (Lexington, KY)
Miami University (Oxford, OH)
Rhythm Cats (Hep Cat Swing Club - University of Kentucky, Lexington)

Jack and Jill:
1st Place: Jon Tigert (Indianapolis, IN) and Dani Dowler (Case Western)
2nd Place: Aleks Daskalov (Columbus, OH) and Caitlin Baird (Indianapolis, IN)
3rd Place: Cal Lin (Columbus, OH) and Mandy Spencer (Indianapolis, IN)

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