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CPTV shines spotlight on 'one of the nation's most progressive dance departments'

Junior Chloe Spitalny's original dance piece,
Junior Chloe Spitalny's original dance piece, "Riding in Elevators with Executives," was recently performed at the American College Dance Festival Association's New England Conference.

With a holistic program that combines rigorous academics with highly artistic training, Connecticut College is preparing the next generation of dance storytellers, CPTV reporter Ed Wierzbicki reveals in a new "Spotlight on the Arts" segment. The piece aired on "All Things Connecticut" at 8 p.m. on March 29.

"Here at Connecticut College in New London, at one of the nation's most progressive dance departments, students discover who they are as creative artists. And they do it through a total program," Wierzbicki says in the piece.

Choreography by students like senior Morgan Griffin is living proof that there is a connection between the liberal arts and the art of dance, he adds.

"What I really love about dance is that it is such a physical thing, but it's also very intellectual," Griffin said. "There is either a concept or some kind of emotion behind everything that is created. I'll be sitting in class and hear a teacher say something and immediately apply it to dance."

Professor David Dorfman '81, an internationally celebrated dancer and choreographer, leads the College's storied dance department, which was founded in 1971 by the renowned Martha Myers. Home to the American College Dance Festival from 1948-1977, the College has played an important role in the development of contemporary dance, and students benefit from the emphasis on the liberal arts experience.

"We are here to use dance, in a way, as a practical metaphor for the rest of their lives," Dorfman said. The piece also includes interviews with dancer-choreographers Chloe Spitalny '13, Kathleen McGrail '12 and Audrey MacLean '12 and footage of their original pieces, which were performed at the recent American College Dance Festival Association's New England Conference, hosted by Connecticut College.

"It's easy to appreciate the physical rigors of a dancer's world," Wierzbicki says, "but it's what you don't see - the intellectual training and personal development - that guides these young choreographers and takes their created process to the next level."

April 13, 2012