The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, August 23, 1999, Page 18, Image 18

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

___J_ ,
Page 18___Monday, August 23,1999
Story By Jason Hardy ♦ Photo By Lane Hickenbottom
“I thought my back was
going to break, and I
thought my knees were
going to give out.”
Kevin Gibbs
UNL senior
This summer, UNL dancers Kevin Gibbs and Megan Dant attended the American Dance Festival, a six-week session of intense dance classes and cutting-edge
UNL students experience the joys and pains of dance
For most students, summer classes are a real
For four University of Nebraska-Lincoln
dance students, this summer’s classes were
headaches, back aches, knee aches, muscle
aches and most of all, they were unforget
This summer, junior Megan Dant and seniors Monya
DeBoer, Corbin Popp and Kevin Gibbs attended the
American Dance Festival.
From June 14 to July 23, they joined almost 350 stu
dents from all over the country in Durham, N.C., for this
summer’s festival.
The festival, in its 66th year, is a six-week intensive
combination of dance classes and performances that
takes place on Duke University’s campus.
Students are offered college credit for attending the
$1,560 festival and given the opportunity to work with
world-renowned choreographers and take classes from a
variety of top-notch instructors.
It’s the experience of a lifetime for prospective pro
fessional dancers, but it’s not without its bumps and
Dant said it wasn’t very long before she found out just
how physically strenuous her next six weeks were going
to be.
“I hadn’t danced in a month, and immediately I was
dancing like crazy, so I was exhausted,” Dant said. “It was
kind of shocking at first. It was sort of like a reality
From the get-go, the students were shuffled through
four preview classes a day to decide which classes they
wanted to sign up for at the end of the first week. Once the
classes started, it was sink or swim.
“The classes were huge, so if you stood in the back
and didn’t say anything, nobody would notice you,” Dant
said. “I realized pretty quick that I had to put myself out
there if I wanted to get any feedback.”
While Dant was going through a daily routine of four
classes from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Gibbs was having his
own experience.
Each summer, the festival invites several cutting-edge
international choreographers to choreograph a piece fea
turing ADF students. Auditions are held at the beginning
of the festival to determine who will make the cut, and
rehearsals are held every day until the final performance.
Positions in the show are heavily desired, but, as with
everything, there is a price.
“The auditions were insane. I mean, a-good 300 peo
ple were auditioning, and when the choreographer is
picking six dancers, it’s pretty nerve-wracking,” Gibbs
said. • .
Gibbs was picked by Russian choreographer Tatiana
Baganova for her piece titled “Crow.” While the festival’s
classes range in various types of dance, Baganova’s piece
was a modem dance exploration of emotions surround
ing Russian history and the use of dreams to escape the
bleakness of certain events.
In other words, it was a physically grueling three-hour
rehearsal five days a week.
“I thought my back was going to break, and I thought
my knees were going to give out" Gibbs said. “She
expected us to give everything, every time. It was always
110 percent.”
While the physical demands of the festival were
excruciating on a daily basis, the work paid off - in terms
of technical betterment and self-confidence.
By getting a taste of what type of work is involved
with professional dance companies, Dant said, it made
her more focused on her goals.
“This is what I want to do with my life, and I wasn’t
quite so positive before this summer, so it really helped,”
she said.
For Gibbs, the experience gave him a better sense of
his abilities, both physically and mentally.
“I think I’ve come to know that I can do more than I
thought I could,” Gibbs said. “I’ve come to realize more
of my potential and what I need to work harder at.”
Though the festival ended less than a month ago, both
Gibbs and Dant said they’re ready to get back into a
steady dance schedule.
Of course, Gibbs wouldn’t mind a few changes.
“I’m eager to get back into classes, although maybe
not quite as intense this time.”