In July, the Sacred Heart University Dance Company made their way to Italy to take class and perform in the World Dance Movement Festival (WDM). The 34 students danced alongside peers from all over the world in Castellana Grotte.
“Dancing on the stage in the middle of an Italian city was the most amazing feeling,” said junior and SHU dancer Maura Walters.
The festival has participants from nearly 35 countries and Sacred Heart Dance Company had the opportunity to learn alongside experts from different cultures and communities, as well as learning different techniques.
According to a statement from WDM, the festival’s mission is to build connections between dance and diverse cultures in order to inspire and transform dancers around the world.
The SHU Dance Company is a collection of dancers of all class
years who share the same passion for dance. Their love for dance stems from the years of work they put into training.
“I have been dancing my whole life and at a certain point it became more than a hobby or sport, but my passion,” said junior Shannon Fallon, a dancer at SHU. “It has allowed me to express myself through movement and this is something I love about dance.”
“We all learned how to be confident in an unfamiliar environment. Walking into class on the first day was ridiculously intimidating,” said Walters.
“However, we all learned that to feel fully acclimated we had to work hard and leave it all on the floor.”
The dancers attended five days of classes where they had two professional choreography workshops each day. In both classes, the students were required to learn a piece to perform at the end of the week.
“I learned so much from the other dancers and instructors through this experience. We were given the opportunity to pick up artistry and different moves that we are not normally trained in,” said Fallon.
WDM takes place every summer. Sacred Heart Dance Company has gone in previous years, but this was the first trip since the COVID-19 pandemic.
WDM chose three pieces for the Dance Company to perform. SHU dance alumni and current dancers worked together to choreograph these performances. They got to perform and train with dancers around theworld and prepare them for their performance.
“Performing in the festival was surreal. There were so many talented and insane dancers that we got to perform with,” said Fallon. “Seeing all the work and training that was put into it was so inspiring.”
“Learning from Italian professionals has helped me to embrace the dramatics of dance and to use every part of my body in my movement,” said Walters.
The SHU Dance Company will perform their semester show the weekend of Nov. 17 to 19 at the Edgerton Theater. Students can find the performances and buy tickets by going online at https://edgertoncenter. org/event-type/dance-program/.