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Dancers chatting between sets

Shortly after finishing their yoga session during the first full day of the Summer Dance Initiative, friends Ella Drake ’26 (Pickerington, Ohio), Rose Wardlow ’25 (Georgetown, Ohio) and Brendon Thompson ’26 (Anna, Ohio) peeked into the Tap Master Class being taught by instructor Matt Saffron.

“We’re participants in the camp but we’re also working it, helping set up, clean up and being counselors,” said Drake, an Advertising & Public Relations major.

There were 20 students — ages 14 and up — participating in the inaugural event, which ran from Thursday, July 27, through Sunday, July 30. The camp included master classes in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern Dance, plus workshops and discussions focused on topics related to the emerging world of performing arts medicine. The program is being presented by the Theatre and Dance Department, and led by Marietta College’s Aurora Held-Dodd, who is the Intensive Director and Musical Theatre/Jazz Instructor.

“Being a part of this has definitely helped with my leadership skills,” said Thompson, a Musical Theatre major and Dance minor. “I like to be more involved in things and make sure everything is running smoothly so (participants) get the most out of what is being taught. I’m proud to say that we did this and helped put this inaugural camp together. It’s eye-opening for me and it shows me what real-world situations in professional dance look like.”

Wardlow, also a Musical Theatre major and Dance minor, loves storytelling and was inspired to participate in the intensive by Held-Dodd’s passion for collaborative storytelling through dance.

“It’s nice to be around so much creativity and people who share the same common denominator — creative storytelling — through dance,” Wardlow said. “It’s an intensive, so the students are here to build up their skills.”

The intensive provided overnight and daytime packages to participants, and guests and their families had the option to go on special campus tours with the Office of Admission.

Drake, Thompson and Wardlow were proud to share a little of what Marietta College has to offer to prospective students who may be looking for the right college.

“Being able to work the dance intensive is a reflection of being at a liberal arts college — they want you to try and to do a little of everything,” Drake said. “The College wants you to have so many different experiences. My high school graduating class had about 500 students in it. Coming to MC, it’s possible for me to really connect with so many communities. I have friends in athletics, in theatre, in STEM — basically, all over campus. I can walk down The (Christy) Mall at any time and see 10 people I know. You don’t get to have that type of experience in too many places, but you get that here.”