Next semester, JMU will have its annual spring break from March 7-11. Students will be traveling all over; from party places like Panama City and Cancun to Alternative Spring Break trips to Ecuador, New Orleans or Los Angeles. The ladies of JMU’s Virginia Repertory Dance Company are doing something more a little more unique by traveling to the French Caribbean.
The VRDC is an audition-only, pre-professional dance company comprised of junior and senior dance majors at JMU. This company provides resources and opportunities to members that are pursing a dance-related career after graduation. Currently, the company is working with guest artists and faculty choreographers to build a repertoire for their concert called Dancescapes in December. When they travel to Martinique during spring break, they will be performing that same repertoire, in addition to teaching and taking classes. This trip will serve as a cultural exchange between the VRDC and the students in Martinique. Senior member, Lexie Thrash, says, “I am so excited to have the opportunity to travel internationally with this group of dancers and experience another culture through the universal language of dance.”
A trip of this magnitude is an experience like no other, but it is very costly. JMU and the College of Visual & Performing Arts have been generously backing this project from the beginning, but they are still in need of more funding. The company is looking to sell calendars that showcase dancers from over the years and teach some master classes to local youth for a full day to raise money. In addition, the dance program intends on using a portion of the profit from their upcoming show, DanceShare, in October as monetary support.
Thrash says that connections made through this company are invaluable. “Opportunities like this one, to travel to Martinique, make my experience as a dancer and as a student so unbelievably unique. I am blessed to be a member of the Virginia Repertory Company and cannot wait to see what this adventure brings.”