Southeast Missouri State University student publication

The show must go on: SEMO dancers battle adversity

Monday, March 1, 2021

River Campus students continue to fight adversity through the deletion of the Bachelor of Fine Arts Dance option and the limitations the pandemic places on performances.

Students are campaigning against Southeast’s decision to remove the BFA Dance major. Students such as sophomore BFA dance major Ravyn Schriewer set up a meeting with Provost Mike Godard hoping for answers as to why the BFA Dance major is being removed.

The Provost explained the minimum number of students graduating from the major hasn’t been met within a set five years, which led to the decision for the BFA Dance major to be deleted from Southeast’s list of programs.

The BA Dance is still being offered at Southeast.

“[The Provost] promised us if you’re a BFA Dance major right now, you can still graduate within the amount of time that you’re scheduled to,” Schriewer said. “We’ll still get the degree, even if it’s being deleted.”

The deletion of the BFA Dance major is just one example of a struggle for performance students.

Southeast BFA musical theater senior Jeremiah Brown battled COVID-19 during the Fall 2020 semester and is now trying to rebuild his stamina.

“Before getting COVID, I was running about three miles a day — healthy as an ox — and since COVID, I’ve been knocked out,” Brown said. “My stamina within dance has decreased.”

Dancers are required to follow COVID-19 guidelines including wearing masks and practicing social distancing at all times.

Southeast BFA musical theater senior Hollynn St. Clair said mask suction to the face can make performing difficult and sometimes dangerous.

Professors have begun allowing dancers short, unmasked, socially-distanced breaks outside.

St. Clair said masks are a problem, and the inability to physically touch others makes performing difficult, as well.

“A lot of the corrections we used to get from our teachers would be by touching us — with consent, of course — to help correct our placement or to show us how something should feel,” St. Clair said. “We can’t get that now.”

St. Clair said professors have begun correcting students' posture in practice by using broom sticks to point out places needing to be fixed.

To remain socially distanced, students dance in 10-by-10 foot boxes taped to the floor. This means performances will not include touching, which potentially can take away from a performance’s emotion, St. Clair said.

Through all the changes, students have been successful in continuing to perform.

To learn more about River Campus performances and events, visit rivercampus.org.

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