The WIU Dance Director spends the summer learning more about his craft

The WIU Dance Director spends the summer season studying extra about his craft

November 7 2022

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Macomb, Illinois — For one Western Illinois College school member, time spent between educating courses has gone towards increasing his information base as a director of dance programming at WIU, and supporting WIU college students and college throughout the division.

Affiliate Professor (Chief Dance) Donald Laney got here to WIU in 2020, after educating at and main the West Virginia Dance Firm for 15 years. Apart from time spent in WIU courses and dance studios, Laney can be a contract artist who teaches and choreographs, and works in costume design and development.

Final summer season, Lani designed a contemporary dance piece for the Nationwide Endowment for the Arts (NEA) titled, lively intervention For West Virginia Dance Firm. The unique 11-minute composition for 5 dancers. He additionally hung out educating at festivals and on the WV Governor Faculty of the Arts.

“Creating authentic work on skilled dancers jogs my memory of what I try for when educating these college students – impressing them with the dedication, willpower, and self-discipline it takes to land a profession within the arts,” he stated.

In the summertime of 2021, along with educating on the WV Governor Faculty of the Arts, Laney famous on social media that a lot of his college students, and a few school within the division, had been performing in productions throughout the Midwest. Then he determined to spend a very long time touring to see 12 productions throughout Missouri, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and North Carolina.

He stated the journeys mirrored the actions of his mom, a fourth grade instructor, who had attended her college students’ actions throughout her 30-plus-year profession.

“I feel it is vital to proceed actively being inventive, educating, and touring,” Laney stated. “After I train at festivals and the WV Governor’s Faculty of the Arts, I’ve the chance to fulfill different dance professors and share details about their packages, in addition to educating strategies and methods. In musical choreography, working with totally different administrators permits me to develop my very own information and see totally different approaches to making a present. “.

Along with producing dances in the course of the summer season months, Laney has additionally labored as a visitor artist and grasp class instructor at a number of areas, principally inside West Virginia. In 2018, he additionally acquired the WV Governor’s Award for Management within the Arts.

One other notable achievement is being the final dancer invited to be taught Spanish dance, “which celebrates the lifetime of internationally acclaimed dancer Daniel Nagren. Lani realized the dance from Nagren in 2008, simply earlier than Nagren’s demise. Within the course of, Lani retains a journal of the teachings he realized.”

“The historical past lesson I obtain each day is superb,” he wrote in that journal.

In 2023, Laney was awarded an arts grant to current a venture on the Birke Wonderful Artwork Symposium. The venture will doc the method of how dance advanced, breaking down facets of inventive decisions, course of, approach, historic and social context, and aesthetic of dance/motion.

“The method of making a piece of choreography is a journey of self-discovery by the lens of a shifting object,” Laney stated. “Like different artwork kinds, the choreographer/dancer’s time-consuming work is essentially not seen. To make clear this facet of the inventive course of, this proposal seeks to ask the viewers to discover with the artists, the method of inventive discovery.”

Tammy Killian, chair of WIU’s Division of Theater and Dance, stated she was amazed at Lani’s dedication to WIU college students and the dance division.

“He is working till the venture is accomplished to his liking,” Kilian stated. “He’s a sort and thoughtful chief; he has a robust inventive imaginative and prescient; he is a superb collaborator; and he does not settle for ‘simply okay.’ In all of the merchandise we have achieved collectively, I have been impressed by his potential to get one of the best work out of our college students, in addition to working collaboratively with our group He’s a real skilled in each sense of the phrase.”

For extra details about WIU’s Division of Theater and Dance, go to

Posted by: College Communications ([email protected])
College Communications and Advertising Workplace

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