Dance ensemble aims to expand its reach on campus

Dance ensemble aims to expand its reach on campus


Arianna D'Antonio

Dancers practice for the auditions in the dance studio on Thursday, Sept. 8. This is the dance ensemble’s second semester at Loyola.

Arianna D'Antonio, Worldview Editor

On Sept. 8, 2022, Loyola hosted auditions for Dance Professor Kai Knight’s ensemble, which is aiming for students to grow in their performing skills through the art of dance.
This is the second semester auditions were held for the ensemble. Knight is looking to develop her ensemble program on campus, adding new elements each semester until it is a well-rounded program.
“Last semester, we got it up and running. We established that there was an interest on campus for this program. This semester, I will bring in guest teachers to work with them and push toward developing performance works.”
Gaby Hawk, first-year musical theater major, said she was nervous about auditioning because she doesn’t consider herself to be the best dancer. However, Hawk wants to grow in both skill and confidence, and said that she was looking for a fun environment to grow. “I’m excited to put myself out there,” she said.
Knight is looking for students to learn that dancing is joy, healing, and work all rolled into one.
“Beginning with auditioning, then training, and hopefully performing, I want them to experience life as a dancer,” Knight said. She added that this includes being committed to weekly rehearsals all season and the dancers challenging themselves in personal growth. “I want them to be proud to be a part of the ensemble and develop a dance community through growing and performing together.”
Annie Figueroa, junior psychology major, danced for 12 years, and wanted to return to the activity after a two-year hiatus from dance.
“Dance consumed a lot of my life, as I took many types of different dance classes and competed on a competition team over the years,” Figueroa said. And though it was chaos at times, Figueroa said she missed the routine of consistent dancing.
“I find that dance is the perfect way to motivate me to move my body while still being fun and enjoyable.”
Figueroa is also looking for closure in this ensemble, since the COVID-19 pandemic kept her from having a final dance recital before graduating high school. “The dance year felt cut short, and I was not ready to say goodbye to such an important part of my life. Dance is something that gave me great joy for years, as someone who likes to perform but is not a good public speaker.”
According to Knight, last semester felt like a test – she had a desire for the ensemble but was not sure if it would be received by the students. Knight was then blown away when 30 students attended. “There were lots of new faces, and I am glad that this program is so well received and desired by our students. This semester, instead of feeling like a test, I feel challenged to build this program out to be the best it can be so that it serves our students to the fullest!”
Knight is aiming to have a mini-performance piece to showcase by the end of the semester.