Dancers travel to Point Park University in Pittsburgh

Annabel Everett, Features Editor

John Carroll dancers departed from John Carroll and arrived at Point Park University in Pittsburgh on March 1. Dancers stayed at the university for three days.

“The most valuable thing the dancers were able to take away from the trip was to see the depth and breadth of dance and how many opportunities there are for dancers in college through a variety of majors, minors, and performance opportunities. As the largest dance festival in the United States, they had the opportunity to dance in front of University Professors, Dance Department Chairs, and Company Directors from all over the country, many of which expressed interest in our students and offered scholarships. Most importantly, they were excited and inspired through the art of dance,” said College Preparatory Dance Program Director Laura Ward-Moran.

Everyone in the dance program was invited on this field trip, and those who attended included Bryonna O’Brien, Emily Simmons, Hannah Silwick, Maureen McMennamin, Samantha Burton, Olivia Ayd, Leah Ruffatt, Maddie Mullahey, Elizabeth Calise, Cetta Redmer, Rachel Saacks, Emily O’Steen, Ashleigh Eyler, Alex Eyler, and Caitlyn Fetzer.

Among the students who attended, dance program faculty attended as well, including Mrs. Ward-Moran, Mrs. Spenser Cole, and Mrs. Denise Carr. The chaperones of the field trip were a mix of JC dance parents.

Point Park University is an esteemed dance college, and the main purpose of the field trip to the university was to improve the dancers’ technique by taking classes from professional college professors and exploring the multiple ways a person can dance in college.

The students also learned how to establish relationships with college dance departments. Many students found this part of the experience insightful.

Junior Rachel Saacks said, “The most rewarding part of the field trip was taking classes from college professors to get the feel for dancing in college.”

Junior Bryonna O’Brien said, “My favorite part of the trip was participating in scholarship auditions for summer programs and getting the chance to talk to colleges.”

To accomplish this, students chose dance classes to take throughout the day, and then they went to galas and performances during the nights. The students really enjoyed and benefited from the classes.

Rachel said, “I learned to push myself out of my comfort zone when it comes to what kinds of dance classes I take. There were a plethora of classes to choose from, and it was really fun to expand my horizons.”

This also gave students the chance to learn about other types of dances that they did not know much about previously.

Bryonna said, “The most interesting part of the field trip was being exposed to all different types of dance and learning about the different teachers and their specific styles.”

By the end of the trip, the dancers felt closer to one another. Rachel commented, “I think the best part of the trip was sharing the experience with the other dancers, and I am really happy that it brought us all closer together.”
The dance program is planning to continue this trip in future years.

“We will attend this festival annually. However, the National Festival held in Pittsburgh rotates with the Regional Festival held in Virginia. Therefore, next year, for 2024, we will be attending the Regional High School Dance Festival. We will return to the National in 2025,” said Mrs. Ward-Moran.

Bryonna offered advice for future dancers. “My best piece of advice is to take every opportunity the trip gives you, take the most classes possible, and talk to as many colleges as you can.”