Celebrating 70 Years of Dance at Gustavus Posted on April 7th, 2023 by

The Gustavus Adolphus Theatre & Dance Department is excited to host Encore: Celebrating 70 Years of Dance at Gustavus, on Saturday, April 15th, 2023. The daylong event will include master classes with Brian Evans (‘07) and Cynthia Guttierez Garner, a celebratory dinner in Alumni Hall, and an evening performance of the spring dance concert – which includes an alumni piece choreographed by dance faculty Sarah Hauss and Jill Patterson. The all class dance reunion event is open to Gustavus dance alumni and their families.

As part of the day’s event, over 50 alumni dancers will take to the stage as part of the spring dance concert. Choreographers Hauss and Patterson will create a piece on the enduring themes of “community, reflection, and celebration” to recognize alumni dancers as “an important part of the dance legacy at Gustavus.”

For nearly 65 years, dance was prohibited on campus at Gustavus Adolphus College. But all that changed in 1953, when Dean of Students, Dr. Melva Lind, overturned the ban and encouraged students to participate in dance on campus. Since 1953, the dance program at Gustavus has grown from sock hops and square dancing to thirty years of dance concerts, 60 guest artists, 1,200 original dance costumes, and 75 graduates with dance majors and minors. Dance professor Michele Rusinko explained that developing a robust dance curriculum and degree program was critical to elevating dance on campus: “I wanted students to see dance as something bigger than learning a sequence of steps.”

For a complete listing of the day’s events visit gustavus.edu/theatre-dance/celebratingdance. To purchase tickets for public performances of that single fleeting moment: The Gustavus Dance Company in Concert on April 13, 14, or 16, visit gustavustickets.com.


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