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Department To Open 'Window Of Dance' With Inaugural Scholarship Gala

March 25, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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The Sam Houston State University Department of Dance will offer patrons an evening of dinner and dancing, while giving students “A Window to Dance,” for its inaugural scholarship gala on April 4.

Shohei Iwahama performing a dance
Shohei Iwahama, a dance (and scholarship) alumus, has been named one of Houston's "100 Creatives" by the Houston Press. —Photo by Lynn Lane

The event will be held from 7-10 p.m. at The Woodlands Resort Conference Center’s Glass Room, at 2301 N. Millbend Drive in The Woodlands.

The gala will include a “unique, site-specific performance” by current scholarship students that was created especially for guests, as well as silent and live auctions, dinner and drinks.

Students also will speak during the event, sharing how scholarships have impacted their studies and training, according to Dionne Noble, assistant professor of dance.

We have a memorable evening planned filled with great food, superb entertainment, and fantastic auction items for bidding,” Noble said. “But most importantly, by attending donors will experience first hand the difference they will be making in a student's life.”

The inaugural gala will raise funds for the department’s undergraduate and graduate students, who are supported through scholarships and the department’s “Friends of Dance” fund.

“The Department of Dance has approximately 100 undergraduate dance majors and 15 graduate students,” Noble said. “Money raised from this inaugural dance scholarship gala will allow us to provide new scholarship opportunities and reach more students with financial support.

“Due to the intensity of their training, fine arts students have very busy schedules making it difficult for them to work while in school,” she said. “These scholarships often help alleviate the strain that being a fine art major entails both for the students and their families.”

Dance students were previously supported through the theatre and dance gala, but after the department split into two, the dance department decided to develop its own event to support its own students and thank its patrons, according to Jennifer Pontius, department chair.

Seth McPhail and Alexis Anderson performing a dance routine
Alumni Seth McPhail and Alexis Anderson (above) and Jesus Acosta (below) continue to dance professionally in companies since graduating from SHSU. —Photos by Lynn Lane
dancer Jesus Acosta performing a modern routine

“The Department of Dance has a wonderful support system of donors who have allowed us to give a great deal to students already and we are very thankful for them,” Pontius said. “Through this gala we hope to expand our Friends of Dance roster and in turn increase our ability to support even more worthy and talented students.”

These students have gone on to achieve successful careers in the dance field.

Alumni such as Shohei Iwahama and Amy Llanes, both of whom received many scholarship awards while at SHSU, have gone on to be named as one of Houston's “100 Creatives” by the Houston Press.

Other scholarship students finding success in the field of dance include Jared Doster, who is touring with the prestigious Pilobolus Dance Company in Europe; Seth McPhail and Sarah Peterson, who landed coveted cruise ship contracts; and Alexis Anderson (Urban Souls Dance Company), Danielle Gonzaba (NobleMotion Dance) and Jesus Acosta (Hopestone Dance and NobleMotion Dance).

Items up for bid during the auctions will include a five-burner gas grill from Huntsville’s Home Depot, an 18” freshwater cultured pearl necklace from Samuels Jewelers; a Vera bag and large cosmetic bag in vintage paisley from Vera Bradley in Sugarland; a four-pack of tickets to Sea World in San Antonio; and a private shopping experience for up to eight women at Anthropologie in The Woodlands. A full list of items are available at the department’s gala story, at shsu.edu/~dnc_www/events/2014ScholarshipGala.

Individual tickets and corporate table purchases are available. To purchase tickets, visit shsu/dance.edu by April 1.

For more information, call the dance department at 936.294.1875.



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