Staying in step with Dance at Bucknell

Juliana Rodrigues, Contributing Writer

For dancers here at the University, those looking to expand their horizons or those looking to discover a new hobby and experiment with their dancing skills, we are lucky to have a variety of dance types offered on various different levels of experience and through multiple dance groups. With dance offered as a minor, classes include jazz, Chinese water sleeve, ballet and modern at different levels; there are also options almost every semester to improve or build on experience in fundamental dance technique. Yet the possibilities for getting involved with some form of dance does not just stop at technique classes – showcase and mainstage auditions are held each semester. Showcases feature various different choreographed pieces from students who have taken a dance composition class. Additionally, in both the fall and spring semester, a mainstage dance concert featuring the Bucknell Dance Company is held. It is a large event for the Dance and Theatre Department here, allowing the performers to really “showcase” their expansive talent. While a mainstage role would pose a higher commitment to those with a greater interest in dance, students can audition for both this show and the Showcase as well. The latter presents an opportunity for those looking to try something new and test the waters in a showcase role.
“Joining the dance department as an Arts Merit Scholar was the best decision I made coming into college. I have had the opportunity to take technique classes, perform in different showings and also create relationships with amazing people who share my passion and love for dance. Dance has always been a large part of my life, and I am so happy that I have been able to continue here at Bucknell University. I can’t wait to continue to learn and grow as a dancer and make more memories with my amazing friends,” Katie Kulseh ’24, a dance minor, said.
This year’s Dance “Main Stage” Event will be taking place Friday, December 3 and Saturday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m. Students can purchase tickets at the box office or online for $7.
Beyond the University’s Theatre and Dance Department offerings, the Bisonettes Dance Team and the Bison Girls Dance Team – two student-run groups on campus – provide other opportunities for students to get involved in dance. The Bisonettes hold auditions in the fall for prospective members. One of their core focuses as a group is to promote cultural diversity and appreciation through the medium of dance. Consequently they practice and showcase many different types of dance, including Hip-Hop, Jazz, Western African, Caribbean and Modern. In the past, The Bisonettes have performed at a number of campus events such as the Orientation pep-rally and Homecoming weekend, as well as the Dance Showcase and Black Arts Fest. Christa Starghill ’24, who co-manages The Bisonettes’ Instagram, joined the dance team this fall and shared on her experience on the team so far, “Being a Bisonette is so important to me because it’s not just a team – it’s a sisterhood,” Starghill said. “I love the support I receive from every one of the dancers and the captains.”
As the University’s other major dance group, the Bison Girls have been at the University for over two decades. Well-known for performing at both men’s and women’s basketball games, the Bison Girls also perform at events such as the Dance Showcase and during Parents’ weekend, along with their annual “Off the Court” fundraiser performance which took place last weekend. Cara O’Neill ‘22 reflected on her time as a member of the group and how much the team has impacted her experience at the University. “Bison Girls has given me so much over the past four years,” O’Neill explained. “It has given me a tight knit community on campus since day one with a group of girls who have become my best friends. We also all share a strong background in dance and continue to push one another to be better dancers and continue to grow.”
For a chance to see Cara and The Bison Girls perform, be sure to attend the upcoming basketball games this season.
While some students know little about the dance program here at the University, many of our peers commit large amounts of their time to classes, rehearsals and performances. To stay up-to-date on upcoming dance and theatre events access the online events calendar through the University’s ticket page. For updates on The Bison Girls Dance Team and The Bisonettes follow them both on Instagram @bisongirls and @bisonettesdanceteam.

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