Dance Academy Expands Performing Arts Department

Dance Academy Expands Performing Arts Department

Sophomore Madison Meyer observes her music sheet during class in the nwe Academy of Performing Arts and Dance Center. The academy opened for classes on Sept. 6 on campus.

Brianna Glase, Managing Editor

At age seven, Associate Director of Enrollment Kim Brueggemann danced around in her tiny tap shoes, beaming as she learned the most basic of dance moves.  At age nine, her passion for performing arts progressed as she auditioned for her first community theater production.  Today, she is the Academy Director of JC’s own Academy of Performing Arts and Dance.

Brueggemann’s ambition originated at a young age and continued to grow until adulthood, when she performed, choreographed, and directed a multitude of dinner theater performances and shows for the Phoenix Festival Theater Productions at Harford Community College.  Roughly a year ago, President Richard O’Hara approached her about founding a brand new addition to the school’s performing arts department.

“[O’Hara] asked me if I could have one thing happen here that was feasible for the school, what would it be? One of my dreams as a dance instructor with a passion for the performing arts was to have an on-campus dance studio,” Brueggemann said.

The Academy of Performing Arts and Dance officially opened in the former convent building on Sept. 6.Currently, the classes offered at the academy are ballet, taught by McKenzie Shanahan, jazz, taught by alumna Alyson Jacques, hip-hop, taught by Tigga Smaller, tap, taught by Brueggemann, and musical theater, taught by Julie Parrish and guidance counselor Larry Hensley.

Hensley, with 11 years of theater experience and over 100 shows under his belt, is thrilled to be teaching the musical theater class.  “Once we decided to do musical theater, we realized that it is a very hot commodity in the county because other dance programs in the county don’t offer musical theater,” Hensley said.

Sophomore Amanda Reid is one of over 32 dancers in the full musical theater class.  “I love acting in the shows here, and I thought it would improve my acting and that kind of stuff,” Reid said.

This winter’s show, “White Christmas,” also inspired a few students to join Brueggemann’s tap class. “I’ve never tapped before, but I think the lessons are going to help because there’s tap in ‘White Christmas,’” junior Jen Kreis said.

Brueggemann is pleased with the academy as a whole.  “I just hope that it continues to get more enrollment based on the happiness of the people that have already had classes. I would like people to leave here feeling like they had adequate, professional training in all of these areas, and that they want to nurture their interest in the arts,” Brueggemann said.

Currently, 62 students are taking classes at the academy, and they will all showcase their new skills at a recital on May 5.

Brianna Glase is a managing editor for the JCpatriot and JCpatriot.com