The San Jacinto College South Campus celebrated Twenty Years of Dance, marking the anniversary of the Campus’ dance program.
In 1999, Dr. Suzanne Oliver was approved to turn dance at the South Campus from a physical education credit into a full-fledged fine arts program with the goal of educating dancers and exposing them to as much professional choreography and experiences possible.
“I joined the program on scholarship in 2001 after high school, under the direction of Dr. Oliver,” said Jennifer Salter, dance adjunct faculty and alumna. “I fully credit my love for modern dance and teaching in higher education to my start at San Jac. The program, along with Dr. Oliver, gave me a strong foundation for my educational career as well as a greater passion for concert and academic dance.”
Salter, who has been on the dance faculty at San Jacinto College since 2014, is excited to share her experience along with other alumni at the celebration this fall.
“I feel very grateful to have maintained relationships with so many pillars of this program and I am thrilled to be able to bring them back to San Jac for the reunion,” Salter said. “To us this is celebrating 20 years of fighting for art, finding joy in movement, cultivating young creators, and watching students blossom into educated professionals both in and out of dance.”
The celebration took place over a two-day period Friday, Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 23, including concerts each evening.
“Our current students worked with former professors and alumni to perform either new pieces created by them or older works that were originally choreographed 10 plus years ago here at San Jac,” said Jamie Williams, dance professor. “They were also joined by alumni who are still working professional dancers to revive pieces they performed while students.”
Four alumni, including Tuesday Boswell and Seth McPhail, returned to not only reprise choreography they performed as students, but to join former professors in conducting master classes on Friday and Saturday morning. These classes were free to the community to expose them to different methods of choreography and to learn from the best that San Jacinto College has to offer.
“There were eight master classes, four each day and they were open to everyone,” Williams said.
Saturday evening the celebration culminated with a reception in the San Jacinto College South Campus Gallery, showcasing photos and videos from throughout the program’s 20 years.
“Alumni and friends of the program were able to walk throughout the gallery space and reminisce about past performances,” Williams said. “It was a wonderful event.”
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries, and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has served the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. The College is fiscally sound, holding bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. San Jacinto College is a 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Top 10 institution, a 2017 Aspen Prize Rising Star Award recipient, and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. The College serves approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students annually, and offers eight areas of study that put students on a path to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. San Jacinto College’s impact on the region totals $1.3 billion in added income, which supports 13,044 jobs.