PAC Dance Program hosts concert

By Donell Weary
Pulse Staff Reporter

Photo of Palo Alto College's dance students and instructor.
Lead Dance Instructor Erica Wilson-Perkins (front) and her student dancers pose on the stairs of downtown
San Antonio’s old post office.
Photo by Gloria Treviño

All types of students at Palo Alto College are perfecting their dance talent while becoming more connected with their inner spirit.

Erica Wilson-Perkins, Lead Dance instructor, said, “Both men and women are participating in the flourishing dance program on campus.”

Mind, body, heart and soul are the key essence of dancing to the rhythm of the beat. The silky sounds from the music mix with choreographed dance moves to inspire the dancers to push for greatness.

“Stepping outside of the box” is very important for dancers to establish a spiritual atmosphere that creates an eloquent performance. Memorizing body movements and angles takes hard work and commitment. Time is imperative.

Maintaining a healthy physical condition is one dominant element that comes from engaging in the dance program. Being flexible will also help the students in the condition part of their performance. Reaching the next level of fitness and artistry is always a major goal for those undergraduates enrolled in the dance program. Great physical health and a potential career of being a “serious dance artist” are a couple of characteristics that students can benefit from participating in the program.

Eric Flores, a freshmen Dance major, said, “Dancing outside of class when I was younger, I may not have felt the way I feel now because I have learned a lot more about my body with Ms. Perkins being my teacher.”

This Dance program is preparing students with a wide variety of courses to provide them with an associate’s degree in dance. The partial opening of the new Convocation Center has assisted these students with a state-of-the-art facility that offers a tremendous performance space. The Convocation Center inspires students with artistic colors and unique pieces of furniture to put the performers in a creative mood.

“Some people don’t realize how important art can be in the world,” said Alyssa K. Wander, a junior Dance major.

The privilege to be enlightened by a skillful instructor grants the students an opportunity to mature as an individual in the dance studio and in the classroom.

Prior to teaching courses at Palo Alto College, Wilson-Perkins has taught students at three other colleges in the United States that were four-year institutions: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Columbia College (Chicago, Ill.), and Wayne State University.

Wilson-Perkins creates a family atmosphere for the performers. The relaxed environment enables the students to focus on polishing their performance skills. Wilson-Perkins is a major inspiration to the students in the program. She drives them to new heights they did not expect to accomplish.

“The Dance Program really means a lot to me. Everyone in the group is really supportive,” said Jenna Mata, a sophomore Dance major.

Going into her second academic year at Palo Alto College, Wilson-Perkins specializes in teaching her students Modern dance. Dancing with bare feet and dressed in costumes, performers display more of a freestyle type of dance. The chosen melody connects with the story and the strong emotions through movements are the fundamentals of Modern Dance.

Time and dedication from the students is important to Wilson-Perkins. Making the transition from a four-year university to a community college, she only has students for two years instead of four years; therefore, the students have much to learn in a short period of time at a fast pace.

Some of the classes in the Performing Arts program that will be taught by Wilson-Perkins and Palo Alto’s adjunct faculty in Fall 2009 include Social Dance and Performance, Modern Dance, Ballet, Ballet Folklorico, and Choreography.

Collaborating with Wilson-Perkins, students are producing a public performance especially for the community to enjoy. The Dance Program will host its Spring Dance Concert: 2009 in the Black Box Theatre in the new Convocation Center at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, 2009, and on Friday, May 1, 2009. The types of dances that will be presenting are Modern Dance, Ballet, Folklorico, Social Dance, Jazz & Funk, and Hip-Hop. The performance is free and open to the public.

All dance movements presented by a performer or performers, represent someone or something.

Jessica Viera, a sophomore Dance major, said, “Dance is like a painting but with movements. It has a story behind it and a theme.”

Dancers’ body movements mixed with music express powerful emotions without speaking. Body language and posture say a thousand words.

For additional information, contact Erica Wilson-Perkins in the Convocation Center at or (210) 486-3211.

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