March 2021

Prof. Fernandez Retirement

Professor Debra Fernandez has announced her retirement which will happen at the end of the semester. Prof. Fernandez has been our leader, our mentor, our collaborator, and importantly our friend -- she is irreplaceable and will be dearly missed. Prof. Fernandez has been a part of the dance faculty for the past 31 years served as our Chair for the past 11 years. The impact she has had on the students she worked with and the department as whole is immeasurable. Please join us in congratulating Prof. Fernandez on her plans for retirement as we wish her the best in this new phase of her life!

Urban Bush Women Community Engagement Workshop

We are thrilled to have Urban Bush Women virtually visit our department this semester to engage in a BOLD workshop with our community. This workshop is mandatory for all students registered in technique classes levels 2-4 and will take place on Sunday 3/28 from 2pm-3:30pm. Zoom links will be distributed via email. We look forward to learning from and with you during this important event!

Dance Community Forums

The first of two community forums for the Spring Semester was held on Monday Feb 16th and led by Kasey Catlett, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the College of the Holy Cross. Students shared their voices and the need for change within the department. We hope you will join us for the next Community Forum on Wednesday March 24th at 7pm. Please register through the following link


We are thrilled to offer the following technique courses on the Fall 2021 Master Schedule (instructors TBA):

  • DA217; HipHop/Street/Urban Dance Styles (2 credits - counts toward technique requirements)
  • DA312; Jazz 2 (2 credits - counts toward technique requirements)
  • DA313; Tap 2 (2 credits - counts toward technique requirements)

We are also excited to share a new course in Dance Pedagogy course entitled Dancing Towards Success (DA374) which will be a hands on experience in teaching dance to public elementary children. This course will culminate with Skidmore students implementing in a dance residency at an elementary school!!

(3 credits - Prof. DiPasquale)

Summer Opportunities and Scholarships

SEE-Beyond Awards. Each department will nominate 1-2 students for a SEE-Beyond Award. Please consider applying for this award through the Dance Department! We look forward to reading your applications.

SEE-Beyond Awards invite students to explore new techniques, technologies, or modes of inquiry or expression; to apply their academic-year learning to real-world challenges; and to clarify the interrelationship between their educational and post-baccalaureate goals. Awards may be used to support:

  • field or laboratory research in an area of the student’s choice, with the permission of the host institution and research sponsor;
  • internships with clearly defined learning goals that complement the student’s academic plan;
  • artistic residencies, workshops, apprenticeships, or productions.Awardees will receive a $4,000 stipend and funds may be used at the student’s discretion to cover participation fees or tuition, travel expenses, and summer room and board. SEE-Beyond Awards may be used to access opportunities anywhere in the world, except in countries with State Department travel warnings or advisories.

The Kathy & Charlie DiSanto Memorial Student Opportunity Fund is offered on a competitive basis to support dance related projects outside of course curriculum requirements. Projects that have a community-based research or service component will be given preference, as will projects that encourage discovery and new connections across disciplines. These opportunities might include but are not limited to creative projects, internships, dance education, and research studies. Skidmore Dance Majors or Minors may apply. Please complete the application at the following link and submit your application via email to Prof. DiPasquale by May 1st, 2021.

Skidmore’s Summer Experience Fund (SEF) provides stipends of up $4,000 to support students completing unpaid summer experiences.

The Pat and Sven Peterson Scholarship Program (For first and second year college students): The scholarship will be awarded on the basis of the applicant’s past dance experience and potential to make a contribution in dance to the applicant’s local dance community or to the field of dance in general. Preference is given to those who are in the Capital District and those who have not recently received a scholarship from the Dance Alliance.

To find a list of summer opportunities in dance please check out the following link:

Departmental Updates and Action Items

Anti-Racism Training

This Spring, the department faculty and staff are engaging in an Anti-Racism educational program led by Kasey Catlett, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the College of the Holy Cross. At the Feb meeting topics surrounding increased transparency within the department and collecting data surrounding culture and climate were discussed. In March, Prof. DiPasquale worked with Mr. Catlett in developing a departmental specific survey which will be distributed to the student body later this week. A survey for faculty/staff was also developed and will be implemented this month. These data will then determine next steps for the departmental action plan and subsequent faculty/staff training sessions.

Studio Usage Policies

New policies for studio usage for Capstone Senior projects was created. Studios will remain open during an alert level 3 if the Sports center remains open. Studios will be closed if the school rises to an alert level 4 or above. We are looking forward to the Fall semester when we hope to be able to have the studios open for regular student use.

Student Committee - News and Notes

Hello dancers! We are excited to announce that as of March 13th the student committee is officially reinstated, and we are thrilled to get back into action this semester. We are currently planning upcoming programs and events to connect the dance community over zoom, so stay tuned for more information. Additionally, we have already met with the faculty to negotiate the committee’s policies and procedures, so that our committee remains an active participant in the department. We are looking forward to a joyful and productive rest of the semester! How can you contact us? The student committee is a resource for students to share any questions, concerns or suggestions so that we can best represent the student body, advocate for student needs, and build an inclusive dance community. We are available by email or by a scheduled meeting appointment. Below is our contact information:

Allaistar Regan (2021), Chair

Elodie Linck (2021), Associate Chair

Gadria Conlan (2021)

Sydney Dietz (2022)

Jasmine Karaul (2023)

Libby Danielson (2023)

Are you interested in being part of the student committee next Fall? The student committee is in the process of creating a “Call for Nominations Form” that will encourage students to self-nominate or nominate others to be appointed onto the committee. We are looking for 2 new members to start this coming Fall for a maximum term of 2 years. Those that are currently engaged in matriculated academic coursework within the Dance Department are encouraged to apply. Final decisions about appointments will be made by the Faculty, with recommendations by the committee. We will have more information soon about the process, so stay tuned!

Senior Capstone

The senior capstone students are all making exciting progress on their projects. They had their first showing in the beginning of March and received helpful feedback to propel them forward in the next stage of their process. Jiayue is doing a dance film and has started filming. Since the showing she has been experimenting with using different angles to diversify her filming approach. Elodie is working closely with Professor Pujic on fine tuning a solo by her choreographer Tiffany Rea-Fisher. Kathleen and Allai are collaborating with their choreographer Loni Landon on a duet and are enjoying the creation process. Sofia is working on a dance film with several dancers on choreography inspired by several of her dance styles. She plans to film some sections using a drone in a few weeks, which she is excited about. The capstone class is planning to have a public virtual showing on April 23rd and they are in the process of working on promotion!

Check Out These Upcoming Departmental Events!

Dance Club Updates!!

Irish Dance Club (President: Ida Mihok): We are an all-inclusive performance club focused on exploring Irish dance and music. We teach all levels of dance and perform both hard and soft shoe. We are dedicated to fostering a supportive and inclusive community for self-expression, teamwork, and of course fun! There is no experience required, and all are welcome! We have been holding meetings on zoom to get to know each other and learn the basics and history of traditional Irish dance. We are hosing our first in-person rehearsal on Wednesday the 24th, and we plan to start holding in-person meetings outside as the weather gets warmer!

The Raices Dance Team (Raices Dance Coordinator: Sofia Saenz ’21). The Raices Dance Team just held out Spring 2021 auditions a few weeks ago and we are excited to announce that we have 3 new members on our team! After a rocky start last semester due to COVID19 protocols and overall getting used to the new life on campus, we are excited to get together as a community (over Zoom) and embrace out Latinx culture through dance again. We meet every Sunday as a team and community to dance and plan upcoming events for the Skidmore community. The team has a video dance project in the works, and upcoming community dance workshops so we sure to keep an eye out!

Breakbeats (Presidents: Julia Walch & Geri Cynamon): Hi everyone! We are Breakbeats, Skidmore’s only all-inclusive hip-hop club. We are a fun group of dancers ranging in levels of experience. We usually meet twice a week in the MPR, but currently are meeting on zoom due to the restrictions of club gatherings. Every week we learn a new piece of choreography, taught by multiple different members of our club, to songs in pop and hip-hop genres. Our peer-led choreo is super fun and accessible to all, and we love when our members bring in new self-choreographed pieces. We always welcome new members regardless of experience and background in dance. If you are interested in attending our meetings, check out our SkidSync page ( ) for information on meeting times and Zoom links.

Stompin’ Soles (President: Elle Ping): Stompin’ Soles, the student tap group, has looked different recently, but they are still tappy and well! The group has been hosting “Tap Dance and History” nights where anyone is welcome to tune in virtually and learn about the history of Tap Dance. Recently the event showcased a student documentary, after which attendees learned a few simple steps and put them together into a beginner’s dance! The club was recently able to purchase plywood tap boards and have been socially-distant tapping in person for the first time since last March. Members have been choreographing short pieces for a performance on the Tang Live on Thursday, April 1 at 7pm. Check out the performance on the Tang’s Instagram Live!

Rithmos (Emma Stow ’21 (President), Taylor Johnson ’22 (Vice President), Carleigh Matthews ’21 (Public Relations), Kaitlyn Maurais ’22 (Treasurer and Health & Safety Coordinator)) For the Spring 2021 semester, Rithmos decided it was finally time to hold auditions. Everything was up in the air during Fall 2020. We were not really sure if we even were going to be attending in-person or holding weekly rehearsals, let alone planning for auditions. But once we heard about the opportunities in the Spring (graduation, performance workshops, etc.) we knew that the next step Rithmos had to take, in light of these COVID19 times, was to bring on some new members. We have been meeting almost every Sunday to prepare and discuss the next steps Rithmos will take as we are finishing out the Spring 2021 semester. Despite not being able to meet in person, we have been able to remain active and supportive throughout the fall and spring semesters this year. We have also tossed around the ideas of sweatshirts, a possible performance, but most certainly, more workshops for friends and members of the Skidmore Community to attend! So many new opportunities are finally happening now, and we cannot wait to see what’s in store for these remaining weeks of the semester :)

Skidmore Dance Department

Questions or comments? Please contact Associate Chair of Dance Sarah DiPasquale at below contact info to set up an appointment.