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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

“Art in Motion”: UWL dance minor program’s first ever dance concert
Dancers pose for “Art in Motion”. Photo retrieved from

This past weekend, Feb. 16 to 18, The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse dance minors and company premiered a concert of dance, the first of its kind for the dance minor program, at the Toland Theatre in the Lowe Center for the Arts. The concert featured multiple varieties of dance, including jazz, modern, tap, musical theatre and contemporary jazz. 

The Racquet Press interviewed Ashley Dobrogosz, professor of dance and the main choreographer of the concert, who mentioned how the different types of dances all come together in a concert setting. 

Professor of Dance Ashley Dobrogosz. Photo retrieved from

“It’s our first concert, and it’s sort of different from what is in our normal season. If you go to a music concert, the artist or composer is going to play different pieces of music, and it’s kind of the same thing. They’re different pieces of dance,” said Dobrogosz. 

This concert is the first performance of any kind for the students in the dance minor program and the freshly renamed Department of Theatre and Dance. The program became official in the fall of 2022 and had three students participating in the minor.  

Now, in only its second year, the dance minor program has 21 students. The concert gives each of those students a chance to perform pieces they have been working on since the beginning of the fall semester this year.  

When asked about how developing the dance minor program within the theatre department has been, Dobrogosz said, “The whole department’s been really supportive. They’re really excited to have dance in the title, in the season and in our world now.” 

Although 21 students may not seem like a significant number, their presence in the program has allowed for the dance concert to happen in the first place.

Dobrogosz highlighted the biggest challenge for the dancers to rehearse, as well as for the program itself, was the limited space that was safe for the dancers to practice.

“We don’t have a dance studio in this building because we didn’t have dance before,” said Dobrogosz. “There’s this little rehearsal room in the building [Lowe Center for the Arts], but the flooring is hallway-tile. It’s not a dance floor, it’s not safe to dance on.” 

The program uses the dance studio in Mitchell Hall, but is faced with a scheduling challenge. “There’s so many other things that use that space,” Dobrogosz said.  

According to Dobrogosz, in order for dance to become offered as a major, the program would require its own space to rehearse. “There needs to be some type of push to have our own space,” said Dobrogosz 

One of the 21 students in the dance minor program is Kaitlyn Pyburn, a third-year student who has been dancing her whole life but stopped when she got to UWL. The Racquet Press caught up with Pyburn after the opening night of the concert.  

Pyburn had been involved in dance and theatre throughout high school but didn’t know what to major in at UWL. Coming here [UWL], I was like ‘Oh, I’m not going to do anything with that, I’m just going to get a money-making job.’,” she said. “But I was just so unhappy and not feeling like myself, so I started taking a dance class here and there and an acting class, and I thought this was what I really like to do.” 

Pyburn was a student choreographer, along with three other students in a dance choreography class, for one of the pieces in the show “Pursuit Of”. She spoke about how they found things in common with each other and used their common ideas to build their dance.   

A lot of us were ballettrained or modern, and all of us kind of favored the slow, more drawn-out movement versus quick, sharp movements. We found…concepts that we thought were very cool to put on the stage,” said Pyburn.  

Movement and style are aspects of the creative side of dance, but there is also the athletic aspect of dance that people don’t quite recognize. That’s why Dobrogosz titled this concert Art in Motion.  

“[Dance] is one of the few art forms that incorporates sport in such a half-and-half, balanced way. As a dancer you have to be an athlete and take care of yourself, you have to stretch and warm up… The title ‘Art in Motion’ I thought blended both the creative and active aspects of dance,” said Dobrogosz 

Pyburn also reflected on the physicality of dancing. She mentioned the toll that rehearsing takes on her body as well as her mind.  

“I had classes all day and rehearsal all night. The most challenging part was trying to balance everything. I have shin splints right now, so I’m rockin’ and rollin’ with that,” Pyburn said.  

Even with the pain, Pyburn’s love for performing makes the pain and perseverance worth it. 

“I like performing for people and making people happy, and helping people get away from the reality they’re in, no matter how long it is, from an hour long to five minutes long,” she said. “The tiredness is definitely worth it all. The crowd was so reactive today, and hearing everybody cheering and clapping for us made me feel so good.” 

Students rehearse with Dobrogosz in the Mitchell Hall dance space. Photo retrieved from
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About the Contributor
Ann David
Ann David, Multimedia Editor
  • Year at UWL: Junior
  • PGPs: She/Her/Hers
  • Hometown: Eau Claire, WI
  • Major: English: Medical Professions Emphasis
  • Minor: Biology; Music Performance
  • Other Campus Involvement: UWL Wind Ensemble and Orchestra Member
  • Future Plans after Graduation: Attending grad school in Minnesota
  • Favorite activity in La Crosse: Walking through the Rotary Lights at Riverside Park in the winter with friends.
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