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An inside view of the UA school of dance: alumni and current students talk

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Ana Beltran | The Daily Wildcat

The Stevie Eller Dance Theatre on the University of Arizona mall.

A typical school week for University of Arizona students at the College of Fine Arts School of Dance looks vastly different than it does for other UA undergrads.

For the average UA student, a week of classes typically consists of going to lectures, taking quizzes and studying for tests. But for dance majors, classrooms are replaced with time spent in studios, lecture halls are swapped with rehearsal times and a 2-page-essay becomes a three-minute choreographed dance. 

Brandt Czerniski, a UA alumni from the School of Dance, mentions that while in school he had classes, rehearsals and performances from Monday through Sunday.

“Our schedule was so intense. Between both classes and rehearsals and then just trying to juggle regular student life. Some days we would start around 8 a.m. and wouldn’t get home until 9 p.m.,” Czerniski said. 

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On top of general education courses, which are mandatory for every student, dance majors take part in performances. These performances do not correlate with specific coursework. Instead they are extracurricular activities.

“Rehearsals take a large chunk of our day,” Czerniski said. “Even on the weekends when you think you would have time off, you end up going to dance at the buildings all day.”

Czerniski advises dance students to be flexible. He attributes his success to his ability to balance school including rehearsal and performances and his social life.

“You have to be able to roll with the punches and go with the flow. You have to be adaptable since it can be so unpredictable at times,” Czerniski said.   

Brendan Kellam, a current senior in the dance program, has danced since he was three years old. 

“I can’t remember a day that hasn’t been consumed by dance,” Kellam said. “The most rewarding part about being a dance major are the connections you build. It’s really a great program to get dancers ready for a professional lifestyle in the fine arts.” 

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A day in the life of a dancer entails morning and night commitments. According to Kellam, getting enough rest is necessary to be ready for the next day. Additionally, he mentions that paying attention to what he eats is essential.

“Putting the right fuel in your body allows for it to go for long periods of time without breaks,” Kellam said. 

Alexander Turner, a junior dance major, who has been dancing since he was 11 months old, mentions he knew dance was something he wanted to pursue at a college level. In his path to choosing UA, Turner noted the program's dedication to their students’ success. 

“I wanted to be in a program that I trusted with helping me towards my career and the University of Arizona does just that,” Turner said. “Having the opportunity to perform in every show we’ve had since I’ve gotten to the school has been the most rewarding part.” 

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Turner lives the reality of a Monday through Sunday schedule that Czerniski touched on. His day to day is packed, yet even amongst this, Turner is thankful to have these opportunities and experiences. 

“The program definitely requires you to push yourself beyond what you think are your physical and mental limits. This forces you to grow although it’s a real challenge at the moment.” Turner said. 

Throughout the semester and into Spring 2022, the School of Dance will host several events and showcases open to the general public. These events help students to practice both their technical and performance skills, as well as show the public what they learn throughout the year.


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (12/4)
744 14 1.9%
Total (8/2)
64,794 1,040 1.6%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated December 5, 2021