It’s 9 p.m. on a school night. In a loft studio, a group of athletic young women dance, waving their arms like inflexible dolls and rolling their eyes. The song is about happiness, but they’re playing the parts of dissatisfied lovers who may have once been happy but just can’t stand the guy anymore.

Yoav Kaddar, the director of West Virginia University’s dance program, choreographed the piece, and continuously directs the students’ work both inside and outside of class to develop their art.

Kaddar is a Juilliard School graduate who has worked with some of the nation’s leading dance companies, including the Paul Taylor Dance Company, The Jose Limon Dance Company and Pilobolus Dance Theatre.

As the fairly new director of the WVU dance program, he has lots of plans.

He wants the students, now all dance minors, to have more opportunities through guest instructors, summer programs and increased performances. He also wants to spread that to the community with outreach for young dancers, connecting them with a University where they may one day study as well as bringing dance to a wider audience here on campus and in the community.

Dancing with Stars

So far he’s created a summer dance academy, brought in guest instructors from “So You Think You Can Dance,” spurred the creation of a Student Dance Association and encouraged the students to pursue summer internships.

One of the WVU dance program’s most notable recent achievements under Kaddar is working toward the establishment of a dance major to be offered in 2013. This would be one more key program in the University’s performing arts offerings, raising WVU’s profile among peer institutions. It also means West Virginians won’t have to leave the state to pursue a bachelor’s degree in dance.

But the current crop of dancers continues to work as if there’s already a major.

Four nights a week, they put aside their homework, stretch and enter the warmly lit studio in an upper room of Elizabeth Moore Hall. They spend nearly two hours a night getting ready for their spring performances.

Valerie Guido, an enigmatic dancer from Clarksburg, W.Va., is one of the students who spends nearly as much of her time on her dance minor as she does her exercise physiology major. She said if they’d had the major when she began, she would have taken it.

Guido says she’s happiest when performing. You can see that’s true as you follow Guido through her last rehearsals and performance as a dance student at WVU through a new video created by WVU’s University Relations/News.



CONTACT: University Relations/News

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