Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Students discuss their work in class at the MESA center at American River College on April 25, 2024. (Photo: Cristian Gonzalez/CalMatters)
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    Dance department shows dance steps in concert

    The Laney College Department of Dance presented their annual Spring Concert, And Still We Dance… “History, Culture & Legacy” on May 8 and 9 in the Odell Johnson Performing Arts Center. Students performed Modern, Jazz, Tap, African, Samba and Swing dance wearing spectacular costumes depicting the appropriate era and genre. The music, whether live or prerecorded was pulsating; driving the dancers across the stage, sometimes softly and graceful, other times, percussive and sharp, but always with intention. The concert is an annual fundraiser which helps to support the programs of the department of dance.

    Jacqueline Burgess, Artistic Director and the dance production instructor has been in education for over thirty-fives years as a performer, choreographer, scholar and administrator. She has been at Laney College since 2007. Of the dance concert, she states, “What you witnessed was a culmination of many hours of hard work, collaborations, tears of joy and pain. I am extremely proud of our students. They were fantastic”. Of the Department of Dance, she states, “We are committed to encouraging, supporting stimulating and initiating lifelong dance experiences”. Burgess choreographed the opening dance, “Ruthie” and ”Sweet in the Morning”, both were inspired by her late mother, Ruth.

    First semester dance student, Ashay Taylor, who performed in Dr. Diouf’s West African class, has been dancing since high school and says that dancing helps her to work out built up emotion. “When I dance it is like being in another world”, Taylor says. Many students take dance to relieve tension they experience during college life and beyond. Some students take dance to stay in shape, tone up and just have fun. Other more serious students are dance majors working towards acquiring their A.A. Dance Degree. Shalita Williams a third semester student enjoys the health benefits of dance. “Dance helps me to stay healthy… it has become addicting,” she says.

    Burgess does not do this work alone. It’s all about teamwork, faculty supporting not only their students, but their fellow colleagues. The only full time dance instructor is Andrea Vonny Lee, known lovingly by her students as “Miss Lee”. Lee teaches Dance Composition, Dance History, Modern, Jazz and Tap Dance. She is responsible for bringing the Dance Study Abroad Program to Laney College. This summer she and Ms. Burgess are taking students to Ghana. West Africa. There is also a trip to Haiti this summer.

    Whether you’re a dance major or just love to dance; the Dance Program at Laney College offers classes for everyone and every body. Laney College offers an Associate Arts Degree in the study of dance.

    You can still help the Dance Study Abroad Program by making a tax deductible to the Peralta Foundation. Those interested in giving a donation, please make your checks to “Peralta Foundation, Ghana Study Abroad. For further information please contact, Andrea V. Lee at: (510) 833–8950 or [email protected].

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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