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Modern American Dance Company dancers perform at the Bicknell on Saturday, Sept. 7. Several audience members were present to enjoy the performances. Salehin Mahbub photo-editor

Students learn professional choreography from the Modern Arts Dance Company

Various events are hosted in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts every week and last week was no different.  

On Thursday, Sept. 5, students got the chance to attend workshops that would teach them a few modern art dance routines. These routines were taught by the rehearsal director Belicia Beck and Artistic Director Nicole Whitesell of the Modern Art Dance Company (MADCO). MADCO is based in St. Louis and they travel twice a year to come and workshop with students.  

Some of the students that attended the workshop were Danielle Brunetti, senior in psychology, and Kayla Hack, senior of fashion merchandising. 

Being that Brunetti is a dance minor as well as a dance teacher herself at Karine’s Dance in Joplin, being at the workshop was not out of place for her. Brunetti said that her professors recommended to attend the workshop instead of her normal dance class. With this workshop being her first-time training in contemporary dance, Brunetti said it would help her move in a different way. 

“It pushes me to think about movement in different ways,” Brunetti said. “…Being able to feel music and move your body in ways that I’ve never thought of.”  

Brunetti was not the only one who learned new dancing techniques and tricks. Kayla Hack also got the chance to learn a little more about dance and being open to new experiences. Hack said that the opportunity that is what lead her to come. 

“Being able to open myself up to new things, challenge myself, learn basic skills of dancing…and using different music (is what made me what to attend the workshop),” Hack said.  

The students who had a chance to come to these workshops were not the only ones that had a referral to dance. Beck was told about MADCO by one of her own dance teachers at her studio in St. Louis. She got her start in dance with gymnastics and dabbled in contemporary style, tap, ballet, and even hip hop.  

With dance and music being a passion, learning and teaching abilities come easier, according to Beck.  

“Dancing has been a passion of mine since I was young,” Beck said. “… I do what I love and happen to get paid to do it.” 

Dancing itself isn’t all that drives Beck’s work.   

“Dancing with people you genuinely love to be around helps with that connection,” Beck said. “Being around people who love and support you and you love and support them creates a whole new world you’re in”.  

Both Beck and Whitesell can agree that that is what MADCO is known for, love and support. According to Whitesell, MADCO is also known for the importance of teaching and allowing growth for herself and for the others. Whitesell left a note on her workshop students today that said, “When we allow our self a little bit of space to feel that discomfort, and allow ourselves to be uncomfortable more often, it opens your mind to so many different things and you can grow, not only in dance but just even in your mindset or perspective.”

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