About the Dance Program
Westminster’s Dance program provides rigorous artistic and academic dance training that cultivates your voice as a choreographer, performer, advocate, and teaching artist. Westminster Dance is situated within a liberal arts setting, encouraging interdisciplinary exploration through a curriculum that values dance as deeply imaginative, fully collaborative, and socially relevant. Students can choose from 2 degree tracks (bachelor of arts and bachelor of fine arts), a minor, or complete courses as a dance program participant.
If you are interested in visiting with the program, email the Office of Admissions (email@example.com) and they will ensure that you observe a class and meet the dance faculty.
Performance and Production Opportunities
Students can take part in productions as performers, production support (lighting design, costumes, etc.), and technical crew (audio, setup/strike for dance concerts, documentation, etc.). Auditions for dance productions occur throughout the year for performance opportunities, including Dance Company, Mosaic, and the Senior Showcase. Additional projects include working with guest artists, campus events, community collaborations, student research, and dance for film screenings. All Westminster students are welcome to audition for dance productions, with priority casting given to dance majors and minors fulfilling curricular requirements.
Email Meghan Wall, Dance program Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org), for more information about upcoming or available opportunities.
The Westminster Dance Society is a student-led organization dedicated to bringing dance in its various forms to campus and involving people in this vital art form as participants, audiences, and supporters of dance. The Dance Society provides events and activities for the Westminster community, engages in community service, and creates opportunities for students to learn and grow in the field of dance.
2021–22 president: Sam Metzler
Local Dance Community
Salt Lake City is home to numerous professional and independent dance companies, including some of the region’s premier companies. There are ample opportunities to attend performances on campus and beyond and access to a variety of dance classes within the local community. Utah Now and NowPlayingUtah are good resources to find current dance events.
The ACDA is an association of students, teachers, artists, and scholars who bring their passion for dance to colleges and each other. Its primary focus is to support and promote the wealth of talent and creativity prominent throughout college and university dance departments. The ACDA sponsors regional conferences and a national dance festival for students and faculty that includes 3 days of performances, workshops, panels, and master classes taught by instructors from around the country.
The NDEO is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to advancing dance education centered in the arts for people of all backgrounds. The NDEO provides dance students, artists, educators, and administrators a network of resources and support, a base for advocacy and research, and access to professional development opportunities that focus on the importance of dance in the human experience.
Westminster holds an institutional membership with the NDEO, allowing students to join at a discounted rate. NDEO membership grants access to professional development, networking forums, honor societies, journals, and research and advocacy tools.
The Dance program values healthy practices, including self-care, mindfulness, body awareness, conditioning, adequate rest, sound nutrition, and opportunities for recovery. Dance students are encouraged to design an individual health and well-being plan, cultivating practices through designated hours of physical and mental health training over their course of study. The Dolores Doré Eccles Health, Wellness, and Athletic Center and the Office for Global Peace and Spirituality are great on-campus resources for students to work into their plan.
All incoming Dance program students (including transfer students) can audition for a talent-based Dance program scholarship. These talent awards are combined with other financial aid packages and scholarships and can apply for up to 4 years to make a quality dance education affordable. The audition is for scholarship consideration only and does not affect entering the program as a bachelor of arts student.
If you have any questions, email Meghan Wall (email@example.com) or drop by Meghan's office in the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts.
Westminster Dance is partnering with The McGillis School for the 2021–22 academic year as part of a pilot program to integrate movement, wellness, and creativity into K–3 physical and outdoor education and experience curriculum.
Westminster Dance students engage with professional dance artists through master classes, residencies, choreographic projects, and performances. Recent guest artists include:
- jo Blake, jo Blake Dance
- Sidra Bell, Sidra Bell Dance New York
- Nick Cendese, Development Director, Repertory Dance Theatre
- Daniel Charon, Artistic Director, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company)
- Lynne Larson, Education Director, Repertory Dance Theatre
- Eileen Rojas, Clinical Social Worker and Therapist
- Linda C. Smith, Executive/Artistic Director, Repertory Dance Theatre
- Michael Wall, Sound for Movement
Megan Fotheringham (she/her) ('22)
While I am hoping for the program to grow, I have enjoyed the small class sizes. It allows us to connect with our classmates and the professors without getting overwhelmed by numbers. I also feel that I can come to any of the professors with problems either in or out of the classroom, and they are willing to listen and be a support system for their students.
The idea of performing professionally is always appealing to me and I would love to pursue a performing career. I also have an interest in learning the ins and outs of how a performing company runs and possibly becoming an artistic director for a company.
The program offers lots of performance opportunities with works produced by faculty, students, and guest choreographers, and getting to produce shows in collaboration with such different artists has prepared me to perform and create once I graduate from the program.
We have such a beautiful campus at Westminster. I love to sit outside in Richer Commons, or get a coffee from Bassis and work on homework.
At the end of 2020, I created a solo on myself titled, From the Ashes. Besides the obvious global trauma with COVID-19, I had an incredibly difficult year on a personal level. Before we shut down, I was working myself far too hard, and I suffered a bad back injury in February of 2020. This injury took such an emotional and physical toll on me, and it lasted all the way through the end of the year. I felt like I was living in someone else's body, and I felt as if I had lost my identity. Eventually, as I started to feel better, I decided to channel this energy and pain I felt throughout the whole year into dance and use this creativity to move on from it and rebirth into a new phase of life.
Sam Metzler (he/him) ('24)
I really enjoy the small size which allows for a wonderful interdisciplinary environment that really supports collaborative action, thought, and creation. Our instructors are amazing at supporting students in their classes; they also excel at helping students to find their individual paths in navigating the structure of a technique.
I'm majoring in dance and I have an emphasis in education, and after I finish getting my BA, I intend to get my MATarts. While i dont have a minor in mind at this point in time, I'm definitely exploring my options and keeping an open mind.
I want to get my MATarts, and then I'd really like to start teaching either high school or college, and someday far down the road, I think I'd like to start my own studio.
[My education at Westminster is] giving me a wonderful well of knowledge on which to operate from.
I really do enjoy just hanging around with my friends, enjoying the nature around me, and just relaxing when I have the time.
Isabelle Armstrong (she/her) ('21)
Minor in Business
As an undergraduate student, I was a member of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society at Westminster College.
I am teaching, dancing, and choreographing at Ballet Center Utah, Inc. located in Murray, Utah. Currently, I am also applying to graduate schools this fall. I am looking to pursue my MFA in choreography and dance.
Over the past few years, I have been able to work alongside and under the direction of Russian ballet masters from the Kirov such as Oleg Vinogradov and Aleksandr Sasha Lunev. It was a great privilege and honor to study and further my ballet education with these great teachers.
Nathaniel Woolley (he/she/they) ('20)
I graduated from Westminster College with a BFA in Dance in 2020. I originally planned to graduate with a BA or BFA in Theatre Performance and a minor in Dance, but during my freshman orientation, I met with Nina Vought, the interim program chair, and she convinced me I was capable of a double major. I double majored in the theatre and dance programs for 2 years, before dropping the theatre major prior to my junior year. I decided not to pursue a theatre minor because the classes I would have had to complete seemed redundant due to my prior training.
I grew up performing theatre, opera, dance, and music, with the majority of my classical training centered on theatre, though I especially enjoyed movement theatre styles, such as traditional Greek masque work and the Japanese forms of Noh and Butoh. The theatre classes at Westminster that were most energizing to my education were Lighting Design, Costume Construction, and Movement I. I worked as the costume designer, costume constructor, and wardrobe manager for all Westminster dance productions from 2017–20. I’m still developing and refining the conceptual and practical skills I learned in that position, which I took upon myself as a freshman because the program lacked the infrastructure and I sensed an opportunity to learn an element of production I had always loved as a performer.
I was a member of Westminster Chamber Singers in 2018 and traveled with them to NYC to perform at Carnegie Hall at the end of the school year. While at Westminster, I acted in the plays Bellwether, Spring Awakening, and The Christians. I was a member of Westminster Dance Society and served as its president in the 2019–20 academic year. I won their Dancing With the Stars student/faculty competition in 2018. In 2017, my freshman year, I won ASW’s Mx. Westminster.
In 2019, I received a grant from The Institute for Mountain Research, along with faculty member Allison Shir, to conduct somatic process-as-research fieldwork in Big Cottonwood Canyon. It involved studying over 50 texts, weekly devised movement explorations and meditations in the mountains, and summative writing. A movement workshop focused on the somatic links between environment, body, and spirituality called Sacred Mountains: Where Body and Space Converge was born out of the process and taught by myself at Westminster College (2019), the University of Utah’s Honors College (2020, 2021, 2022), and ACDA Southwest Conference 2020.
I am currently in the process of performing Interdisciplinary Arts Collective’s performance calendar series each month and I continue to collaborate on performing and directing some of the collective’s larger projects. I am a freelance film editor, having recently completed several commissioned collaborations on dance films and non-profit advertising videos. I am currently editing a commercial I filmed for a corporate art therapy workshop provider. I am currently presenting in several film festivals and installations.
I teach and choreograph dance at The LAB Dance Studio in Layton, Utah. I am often commissioned to teach and choreograph for Soup Movement Gaggle. I am a professional figure model working at the University of Utah, SLCC, and several small studios in SLC. I am working on a fashion/art installation project with my partner.
I wrote and starred in a chamber operetta, which I performed at Sugarspace Arts Warehouse Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival 2021 and Westminster College: “Inspired by the works of Roberto Bolaño and Richard Strauss, Unidentified Subject is an experimental foray into the archive—living and past, personal and communal. Through movement, sound, and light, the opera explores what it means to witness, what it means to wait, and what it means to navigate exile, power, violence, and fate. The pasticcio opera features a combination of original choreography and music with compositions by Richard Strauss, C. Tangana, and other artists. The libretto was composed by Interdisciplinary Arts Collective using text excerpts from Bolaño, Sophocles, Hugo von Hoffmannsthal, and Carmen Maria Machado. UNSUB originally premiered in May of 2021 as a collaboration between IAC members Indigo Cook and Nathaniel Woolley. The revised opera, with additional IAC artists joining as a Greek chorus, premiered at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival 2021.”
My dance film solo projects and collaborations include Erosion, The Edge of Emptiness, Ineffable Echo, MfOaTtHhEeRr, The Horror of Atomic Existence, and Circle. I have presented films at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival, Noori, Westminster’s Glint, Salty Showcase, and 12 Minutes Max.
I performed a 6-hour solo as part of Interdisciplinary Arts Collective’s Vexations, a 36-hour durational piano and dance performance of Eric Satie’s Vexations, in August 2021.
I have had the benefit of continuing my dance education under the tutelage of Westminster faculty member Michelle Armstrong, at the Ballet Center Utah, Inc.
Katelynn Killian (she/her) ('20)
I graduated with my BFA in Dance in 2020.
While I did not formally major or minor in any other area except dance, I took an applied experience emphasis in technical theatre (specifically, stage lighting and management) as well as arts administration.
During my time at Westminster, I was heavily involved in my role as research assistant to the chair of the Dance program. I had a role in helping to facilitate many of the day-to-day admin tasks of the dance department and it gave me great practical knowledge and skills. I was able to help write the curriculum that is currently being used as well as assist in being on the hiring committee for the current dance department chair. My sophomore year, I was an RA for residence life and developed some great people skills doing that. Throughout my 4 years, I was always involved with Dance Society and Theatre society, specifically the collaborative Dancing with the Stars charity fundraiser event (even won one year!).
Currently, I am working as the artistic director for The Lab Dance Studio in Layton. I oversee their company competition team and also manage the ballet program for all students. I take a lot of freelance teaching, performance, choreography, and tech jobs as they become more available with the re-introduction of live theatre. My full-time job is being a medical assistant at a private practice clinic downtown. My current study pursuits are researching grad schools to pursue either dance or technical theatre for my master's.
I feel like my particular field of live performance has been greatly affected by the pandemic and graduating during 2020 when COVID quarantine was mandated had a huge impact on my career and what opportunities were open to me in February and then come March, they certainly were not. The highlight of the last year and a half has been working with my students, especially now as an artistic director realizing a studio cirriculum that feels true to my practices, but also current and rigorous within the world of competitive dance. The students have fed my movement and pedagogical practice toward something I feel very accomplished about. Recently, I wrapped up performing work at the Salt Lake Fringe Festival with Interdisciplinary Arts Collective and am currently working on a project with Myriad Dance Company, as well as staying heavily involved with the Westminster Dance program.
"In Sugar House, there isn’t a strong performing arts identity other than Westminster College. In our immediate community, we are going to be a place for people to go to and know that they can come here for music, theatre, and dance."
Florence J. Gillmor Hall, an expansion to the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts, transforms the experience of performing arts students with enhanced classroom, rehearsal, and performance spaces. To better serve dance students, the expansion includes:
- a combination performance/rehearsal space, giving the dance program a permanent home on the Westminster campus;
- enlarged scene and costume shops, increasing capacity for production services and teaching;
- a green room and dressing rooms for dancers and other performing artists; and
- shared creative spaces that establish a performing arts hub on campus, inviting collaboration among music, theatre arts, and dance students and faculty.