Springfield, Ohio –
Wittenberg students in the university’s Department of Theatre and Dance enjoyed an educational opportunity of a lifetime Monday, Feb. 1, when members of critically acclaimed Thodos Dance Chicago taught a masterclass with Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance Shih-Ming L. Chang.
Not only were Wittenberg students treated to an afternoon of dancing with the founder of the company, Melissa Thodos, but they got a chance to network and plan for a future in dance. Staying true to her company’s mission of “Inspiring expression through dance education, dance creation, and dance performance,” Thodos led nine students through a grueling masterclass that lasted more than an hour. During that time, Thodos taught the students modern styles of dancing, which required extreme coordination, athleticism and core strength.
While learning her unique style of dance, Wittenberg students were able to ask questions and be critiqued, which provided for a rich learning environment.
“It was a great workout and a tremendous experience,” said Maggie Muir, class of 2011 from Canton, Ohio. “It let us put a face with who we were studying as well as get coached while we danced along with her.”
Thodos Dance Chicago has performed in more than 50 venues in 10 states, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, the International Istanbul Dance Festival and the Ankara Music and Dance Festival in Turkey, and the Busan International Dance Festival in Korea. Thodos Dance Chicago has also collaborated with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Remy Bumppo Theater and Fulcrum Point New Music Project.
Wittenberg students got quite a workout during the masterclass.
In addition to the priceless opportunity to train with a well-known company, students learned more about the industry and what it takes to succeed after graduation.
“It’s always beneficial when students’ are able to perform with the artist they are studying,” Chang said. “Not only were they able to dance with and be critiqued by Melissa, they were also able to start setting up a network for their life after Wittenberg.”
Even though Thodos was only on campus for a short time, the students said her knowledge and expertise, particularly in the area of networking, was invaluable.
“Just like any other profession in today’s society, it is crucial to network and prepare for your future after college,” Muir said. “Having Mellsisa on campus was a free and easy chance for us to begin networking and to start seriously thinking about where we want to take our career in dance after college.”
The Thodos Dance Company also performed at Clark State University’s Kuss Performing Arts Center on Feb. 6, performing a never-before-seen Bob Fosse Trilogy. Fosse is a famous jazz choreographer known for his works in A Chorus Line and Chicago.
Written by: Trent Brunic ’10