Posted 11:11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024

The Department of Theatre & Dance presents “Art in motion: A concert of dance,” an inaugural dance concert featuring UWL's new dance minor program. 

The concert, Feb. 16-18 in Toland Theatre, showcases the unique ability of dance: a blend of artistry and athleticism. Audiences will enjoy multiple dances depicting various themes and stories. 

“There isn’t a unifying story or theme; it varies between pieces,” says Ashley Dobrogosz, professor of dance and choreographer of “Art in motion.” “You’ll see themes of joy and triumph, and more serious themes of struggle and grief.” 

Dance was added as a minor program to the Department of Theatre & Dance in 2022. It allows students to experience a variety of dance styles, study dance history, acquire knowledge of injury prevention and gain performance opportunities. 

“We have changed our name to the Department of Theatre & Dance, and it’s exciting!” Dobrogosz says. “There are challenges being a new program, but dance has been warmly welcomed into the department. I’m excited to see the growth and continuation of our dance world at UWL.” 

Students in the minor program take entry-level courses in ballet, jazz, tap, modern and musical theatre before moving on to more advanced technique courses. 

“I wanted to incorporate everything we do here at UWL and make a well-rounded show,” Dobrogosz says. “I aimed to include as many styles and techniques of dance as possible, especially since this is our first dance concert. You’ll see jazz, modern, musical theatre, tap and contemporary jazz offered in the show.” 

Several dance pieces in the concert are choreographed by students. Alyssa Meissner, a theatre student with a minor in dance, was excited to contribute her artistic vision to choreography.  

“I really enjoyed getting to choreograph with my peers. I choreographed ‘Pursuit of,’ and creating the concept for that with my classmates was interesting,” Meissner says. “We built off of each other really well. It’s nice to see how everyone’s artistic vision grew together into what it became.” 

Meissner grew up as a dancer and declared a dance minor soon after it was established.  

“I think being a dance minor has been very helpful for me as a performer,” Meissner says. “It’s helped me gain more confidence in my abilities as a performer and dancer. Focusing on building technique is satisfying, because I am always looking to continually improve. It’s cool to see everyone grow and see that the dance classes we’re taking are paying off.” 

Dobrogosz hopes to continue the momentum of the dance minor program and grow its involvement with the rest of campus.  

”I’m hopeful we can continue to present dance regularly in our department production season,” Dobrogosz says. “I’m also hoping that opportunities and time will allow me to collaborate with other departments and folks around campus.” 

“Art in motion: A concert of dance” will show Feb. 16-17 at 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee on Feb. 18 at 2:00 p.m. in the Toland Theatre, Lowe Center for the Arts (333 N. 16th Street, La Crosse). 

Tickets can be purchased online or in person.