Cancelled classes leave students dancing in circles

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Last spring’s dance concert marked the culmination of instructor Diana Cushway’s extensive career at Skyline. It was to be her last semester teaching here, and come the fall she was to be replaced. Yet, now that the new semester has begun, there is no replacement, and Cushway is still teaching classes, though be it only a few.

The lack of a new instructor has left the dance program at a slight stand still. Many of the daytime classes, including ballet and dance production, have been canceled, leaving the options for dance students very limited. Currently, the only classes offered are aerobics and creative dance, being taught by Cushway in the mornings, as well as a few evening classes which are taught by off-campus instructors; Flamenco taught by Ercie Santos, Tango taught by Ken Delmar, Brazilian taught by Heike Goring, and a new Chinese dance class taught by Kai Wen.

The students that were planning to take any of the other dance classes are feeling neglected and unwanted.

“I feel lost,” said dance major Rolando Conde, “because this is the place that I choose to come to, and get up every morning to, just to find out my class was canceled. It was devastating, it’s just not good.”

The fact of the matter is that the theatre is rather useless this semester. There are no performing arts programs to utilize it.

“We don’t even have the dance 400 program, which was a program developed for student choreographers to teach other students,” explains Conde. ” It’s absurd to have a stage, and have it be there as a ghost and yet you have all these dancers and students who don’t know what to do or where to go…that was an outlet for our persona.”

Even though the student outlook on the current situation is rather bleak, Cushway is hopeful for the semester. She is refreshed and ready to dive in and focus her energy. Last spring, she was very busy with all her classes and tied up trying to gather guest artists from bay area programs for the spring dance concert.

“I was spread so thin, but now I have the same amount of energy but only a few classes,” Cushway said. “I’m able to drink my students in.”

She says she has some fun and creative ideas for the coming semester, including some spontaneous performances.

She asks that the student body, “observe these with an open mind,” and hopes that they might, “challenge people’s perception of dance.”