Brenau Dance celebrates excellence in its spring semester

Days of Dance Performance
Days of Dance Performance Jan. 29, 2022, Burd for Performing Arts Brenau University

Brenau University’s Department of Dance recently finished a vibrant and excellent spring semester filled with performances and departmental growth, as well as immense student and faculty success. Students performed and presented their work at Brenau and across the Southeast. 

At the beginning of the semester, the department hosted Days of Dance, which is an opportunity for high-school-aged dancers to experience what it is like to be a dancer at Brenau University. The event includes two full days of classes taught by guest teachers and faculty and is hosted by the university professors and students. Brenau Dance also attended Alabama Dance Festival in Birmingham, Alabama, bringing one guest artist work and two student choreographic works. As part of the Sugarloaf Performing Arts Youth Concert Series, Brenau Dance students performed at the Gas South Theater. The department also participated in the University of Georgia’s Black History Month program, Ubuntu, bringing both student work and faculty performance. 

In March, students and faculty had an impactful presence at the American College Dance Association Southeastern region, hosted by Florida State University. The department presented three concert dance works, including two student works and one guest artist work, as well as a dance on film work and a research presentation and panel discussion. The research presented by Madison Freeman, WC ’22, was later awarded the Best Undergraduate Presentation Award at the 2022 Brenau Research Symposium in April.

The department’s Spring Concert, Discord, was a highlight of the semester for both dance faculty and students. With the public in attendance, Discord showcased works by guest artists Jennifer Archibald, Carl Flink, Du’Bois A’Keen and Owen Scarlett. The concert also showcased senior thesis choreography by the graduating class in several genres including ballet, contemporary, modern and hip-hop. The student choreographers were registered for the course Choreography & Production taught by Dance Department Chair Dr. Madia Cooper-Ashirifi. Choreographers were adjudicated by dance professionals, who provided feedback from an objective perspective. 

Beyond performance and choreographic opportunities, Brenau dancers excelled as members of the overall Brenau community, showcasing their successes in academics, personal development and campus involvement. Brenau dancers Katie Watkins, Jenna Patton and Tiffany Oltjenbruns were three of five students considered for the 2022-2023 Baxter-Bryan Scholarship. The university’s highest academic recognition, the Baxter-Bryan Scholarship, was awarded to Watkins, a dance and English double major. Patton and Oltjenbruns were also awarded Provost Awards for their achievements. Other Brenau dancers received academic and involvement recognition at the spring Honors Convocation, including freshman Camille Warlick, sophomore Olivia Anderson and senior Madison Freeman. Cooper-Ashirifi was the recipient of the Ann Austin Johnston Outstanding Faculty Award. 

This summer, the department welcomed middle and high school dancers to the Gainesville campus for the two-week Summer Dance Intensive, as well as its first Emerging Choreographer’s Workshop. Looking ahead, the department is eagerly awaiting the return of its students and faculty to begin the fall semester in August. 

For additional information, please see our website or contact or 770.538.4764.