TCU Gives Day: Grant program provides dancers professional development opportunities


When classes are out for the summer, students in the School for Classical & Contemporary Dance (SCCDance) must continue their practice to stay in form. Nationally recognized summer intensives, workshops and festivals – many of which require an audition process – offer dancers the opportunity to continue learning and maintain progress made throughout the academic year.

Similar to holding an internship, participating in a summer program experience is an important part of a dancer’s education. Costs to participate in these impactful programs include tuition, travel and housing, which means many students need financial support to further their dance training as well as build their network with professionals in the field.

Rose Kotopka

Rose Kotopka, a senior Ballet major from Lincoln, Nebraska, is one of nearly 30 Ballet and/or Modern Dance majors who have participated in programs through the SCCDance’s Undergraduate Professional Development (UPD) Grant program, which is funded through gifts from generous TCU donors.

“Attending Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s intensive and the Pilates Teacher Training intensive [during summer 2019] was incredibly helpful for me as I prepared for my senior year because [these programs] directly relate to my post-graduation career goals of being a professional dancer and Pilates instructor. Through these experiences, I was able to expand my knowledge, practice my craft in new settings and continue to build connections within my field. 

TCU SCCDance students Ally Elliott, Liam Evans, Rose Kotopka and Joe LaLuzerne participated in Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s summer 2019 intensive.

For aspiring dancers, attending a summer program is comparable to participating in an internship in another field. In an intensive setting, a dancer gets a taste of what it’s like to be a company member by attending full days of diverse classes and learning the company’s repertoire, usually ending in a showcase of that work. Additionally, intensives are a great way to explore a new city and make valuable connections with faculty and fellow dancers. The dance world is very small, so building a network of connections is extremely important. [The Hubbard Street Dance Chicago] intensive was challenging and fulfilling, and I will carry this experience forward in my life as a dancer. I feel energized and inspired to take on my final year at TCU. 

I am so thankful for the Undergraduate Professional Development grant program and all of the amazing experiences I was able to have because of it.”

Join the College of Fine Arts on TCU Gives Day, Nov. 13-14, to help future students, like Rose, continue pursuing their passions.