Best-Kinscherff revives the University Dance Company

The University Dance Company was revived after a 13-year hiatus through the efforts of Kristin Best-Kinscherff, instructor of dance.

Blake Ammann and Erin Taul of the University Dance Company.

Best-Kinscherff, who has been an instructor at SIUE for almost two years, saw a need for SIUE”s University Dance Company to be reestablished soon after she joined the faculty.

“I kept getting opportunities for the dancers at different festivals in St. Louis… for different performances… for special performances,” explained Best-Kinscherff. “It just seemed like I kept getting more and more opportunities for the dancers, and it was so hard to pull a group together to do it.”

The idea occurred to Best-Kinscherff to form the dance company, which consists of six undergraduate students, as an outlet for students to gain experience and for SIUE to gain exposure.

“I shopped the idea around with Peter [Cocuzza] and other faculty in the dance department and they thought it was great and we did it,” said Best-Kinscherff.

The company rehearses twice a week for two hours at a time and they have already had several performances for the semester.

The group performed at ‘Thursday at the Intersection’ outside the Fox Theatre in St. Louis; the ‘60×60 Dance Festival’ in St. Louis; ‘St. Louis Dancing in the Streets;’ and most recently at ‘Dance in Concert 2010.’

“This is important for dance majors because this gives them a taste of the professional world,” said Best-Kinscherff. “This is their chance to see how a special company runs, although this is on a much smaller scale. It also gives them more performance opportunities for anyone who is thinking about going in to dance performance.”

The University Dance Company is also a recruiting tool for SIUE as a variety of people ranging from potential students to interested event organizers occupy the audience when the company performs.

“It’s a great recruitment tool for SIUE because they go and do performances in St. Louis and you have high school students seeing them, and you have other dance departments seeing them and they want to come here because they see the dancers we’re producing,” Best-Kinscherff said.

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