By Randall Taylor
Over the summer, several classrooms in the hallway located on the left wing in the basement of Humanities Hall, were renovated and converted into new studios for the dance program. In addition to the removal of desks and white boards, new wooden floors were installed. Contrary to what one might believe, the studio’s construction made the task of scheduling classes much easier, said Concetta DiMare, academic scheduler.
“When the dance studio was ready for the fall term, four new classrooms on the second floor of humanities were added to my inventory, which made the task of assigning rooms a bit easier,” DiMare said. Although the renovation cost is unknown, the old studios are still intact along with new classrooms added to compensate for the renovations, according to William Kirker, the head of facilities.
“The dance studios that went into Humanities did not eliminate any classrooms. New classrooms were built on the second floor to replace them. And the existing dance studios are still in operation.” The construction of the studios began last May and was finished by the start of the school year, opening on Sept. 15.
The studio has been met with excitement among dance majors, dance enthusiasts and coordinators alike, especially by Dr. Cara Gargano, chairperson of the department of theater, dance and arts management. “We [have been] asking for a new studio for years and once our new president arrived, it finally became a possibility,” Gargano said. “We owe a big debt of gratitude to the wonderful people in facilities who made this a reality.”
Gargano’s excitement about the studio is only boosted by the benefits the studio brings for the potential of all of her dancers; she says the larger space allows for the dancers to practice their technique as well as utilize their abilities to their fullest potential. “They no longer hit the ceiling when they jump and they can work to the fullest extent in a space this size,” Gargano added.
The new studio is more than twice the size of the old one, located in the Theater, Dance & Arts Management building in front of the library. It is complete with a piano, new hardwood floors, as well as new mirrors and full dance floor matting that feels soft and comfortable but is also sturdy and durable. The new studio is a sticking image of a professional dance studio, according to Kirker.
“Dance students at LIU Post have access to unparalleled educational experiences and the instruction from our world class faculty – who have performed and produced for outstanding companies like New World African Dance Theatre and Empire State Ballet – is reinforced by the opportunity to attend performances
in New York City and work with their choreographers,” Kirker said. “It’s only fitting that our facilities should reflect the excellence of our faculty and our students.”
Jennifer O’Neill, a senior dance major, said that the new dance studio has boosted the morale of the team. “I feel very professional in this studio and the positive energy on the team is contagious because we are all happier and more excited than ever before.”
O’Neill said that the new environment has helped her and her teammates improve and refine their craft, “If gives us dancers freedom to move with no restrictions, teaches us to dance larger and it will greatly improve our stamina as well.”
Junior dance major, Emily Bivona, also feels that the studio has helped her grow in more ways than one. “These new studios with benefit my future by not being restricted by space side to side and up and down. I can jump and run as high and far as I please now. My creativity has no limits due to unlimited space.”
Torun Esmaeili, a senior transfer student from Norway who is also a Musical Theater major, praised the changes. “I finally feel free! I can finally take big leaps and really reach my true potential. I just feel like the dance program is so much more appreciated.”
Griffin Lockette, a sophomore Musical Theater major said, “The most exciting part is that we can have at least two classes at one time so it gives more people the opportunity to dance.”
“I was missing out on simple things in our smaller space because they were not possible. I am learning things such as traveling more in choreography, dancing bigger, and overall truly filling the spaces, “O’Neill said. “The one thing above all else is that being in a professional space will create a professional dancer and that’s what we are all here to be.”
She also expresses praise and gratitude for this new addition to the program, “These will all shape me into a better dancer and make me more employable as soon as I graduate in May. As for the program, Post dancers are going to be better than ever because this space gives us the opportunity to do so and we are so grateful!”