Dance program growing and wants majors

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Illustration by Estefania B. Alonso

Distinguished graduate in dance will cross the stage May 9.

By Melissa Luna

The little-known dance program at this college is the largest dance program in Alamo Colleges, dance Coordinator George Ann Simpson said.

You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at the number of students enrolled to complete an associate degree in dance. The dance program had two graduates in 2013-14, the first year the college offered an associate of arts in dance.

In May, four will cross the stage at commencement, which will bring the dance program graduate total to six.

When the program established its own degree plan in 2012-13, it also transitioned from the kinesiology department to fine arts.

Before that, this college offered a kinesiology/dance associate degree, which meant students who wanted to complete an associate degree in dance had to do so under the kinesiology umbrella. Simpson’s office still sits among the other kinesiology professors’ offices in Candler Physical Education Center.

“We are such a little-known program as it is. Then I think the move from one department to the other didn’t help,” Simpson said.

She was unsure of reasons the program was moved to fine arts other than the college administration thought it was a better fit.

However, there is no room for a dance program in McAllister Fine Arts Center. Because the one room on this campus outfitted for dance instruction is Room 113 in Candler, the dance program remains housed with kinesiology.

Simpson remains hopeful about recruiting students for the program. “We offer so many dance classes, such a variety, and students are loving it,” she said.

The program offers 12 dance courses, such as DANC 1133, Country and Western 1, and DANC 1153, Spanish Ballet 1.

Some courses also offer a Level 2 and 3; sometimes all levels are taught in one section.

DANC 2152, Dance Appreciation 4, is the only Level 4 class in the program and is taught in the same section with the other levels.

Among the four graduates, dance sophomore Michelle Badillo will be crossing the stage as the program’s Distinguished Graduate.

After graduating from Tom C. Clark High School in 2005, she took core curriculum courses at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she attended until 2007. She entered this college in 2008.

“My mother is Japanese, so she expected me to do something productive with my time. She gave me choices and I chose dance,” Badillo said. “You go to school to learn something, not just get a job.”

Badillo has been dancing for more than 20 years and teaches at the Performing Arts School of Classical Ballet, 8055 West Ave., with the teachers who taught her.

“Dance helps with your mental state,” Badillo said. “It’s exciting being able to teach where I started.”

Badillo is vice president of the Dance Club at this college. This semester was their first official semester as a student organization, and members are hoping to gain more exposure for the club and the program.

They will sell Fiesta medals at Funfest Wednesday while promoting the club and raising money for workshops.

The Dance Club is preparing for its annual dance performance at 7:30 p.m. May 8 in McAllister Fine Arts Center. Admission is $5 with funds raised for department scholarships.

“I want more exposure. I want students to come in see and the fun stuff we have to offer,” Simpson said.

For more information, contact Simpson at 210-486-1021 or stop by Room 131 in Candler.


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