Dance classes welcome public

The Mercyhurst Center for Dance Education (MCDE) prides itself on offering dance education to those beyond dance majors. The MCDE is offering open classes, to those of the Erie community and Mercyhurst students who enjoy dancing but do not major in dance.

Salina Bowe photo: Students participate and enjoy the open dance classes run by Mercyhurst’s dance department.Salina Bowe photo: Students participate and enjoy the open dance classes run by Mercyhurst’s dance department.

The MCDE offers beginning adult ballet, intermediate ballet, hip hop, intermediate/advanced ballet and yoga. This is the first year the MCDE is offering beginning adult ballet.

Director of MCDE and Faculty of the Dance Department Noelle Partusch said, “This is something I’ve wanted for a long time.”

The beginning adult ballet class is open to anyone who is interested in ballet, and has no prior training. The intermediate class is available for those who have some training but not advanced training.

Partusch said the class runs according to student training, with routines modified accordingly. The intermediate class is also available for dance majors to makeup class. The intermediate advanced class is for those who have had advanced dance training. This is the only class taught by faculty and is also the company class for those involved in Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre.

Class Schedule:

Tuesday 6-7:30 p.m. intermediate ballet
Tuesday 6-7:30 p.m. beginning adult ballet
Thursday 6-7:30 p.m. Intermediate Ballet
Thursday 6-7:30 p.m. hip hop
Saturday 10:30 a.m.-noon intermediate/advanced ballet
Saturday 9:15-10:15 a.m. yoga (four-week sessions, Sept. 29-Oct. 20)

All classes are held in Zurn Hall dance studio.

To participate in these classes, you must purchase a class card. These class cards expire at the end of each term, and can be purchased in the Mercyhurst Dance Department in Zurn Hall or by contacting Partusch at 814-824-3352.

Mercyhurst students and employees pay $100, which is good for 20 classes, while the general public pays $100 for 10 classes. A single class costs $15. For anyone interested in beginning adult ballet the first class is free.

All of the profits from these classes go to the Jeni-Lynn Watson Scholarship Fund. This scholarship fund goes to the senior dance majors to help offset audition costs. Last year every senior received money from the fund, because they were her closest friends, and the class she would have graduated with. This year, each senior will have to apply in order to receive money from the scholarship fund.

These classes offer continuing education to beyond just dance students. Students teach each class, with the exception of the intermediate/advanced ballet classes. All of the teachers have taken pedagogy classes, which means they have been instructed how to teach a dance class. While there are many pedagogy students, Partusch says she looks for students who are interested in teaching, and also have the ability to do so.

Senior Rachael Gnatowski who has taught the beginning adult ballet class said, “The students who take the class are always self-motivated and enthusiastic. They are there because they want to try something new, which is very refreshing.”

Partusch has high hopes.

“My wish would be to have another studio available to non-majors, so more of these classes could be offered, but this is great start,” she said.