Every year Pacific University’s Dance Ensemble highlights Pacific’s many talented dancers.

Both women and men from the university get together from different backgrounds on stage to showcase their artistic ability.But this year there is a new twist.

Pacific will be welcoming James Healey to direct the dance company in fall and produce the Autumn Choreographers Dance Concert in November.

“The dance program is part of what makes the artistic environment at Pacific vibrant and diverse,” Healey said. “I decided to do this because I love the program and wanted to find more ways to be involved.”

Auditions for Dance Ensemble were held the first week of fall semester where each dancer made a yearlong commitment.

“Even with being nervous I find auditions fun and a great experience,” sophomore Rachel Carlson said. “You get to see what everyone has to bring to the table and it’s so wonderful to watch people express themselves. It’s an opportunity to learn from yourself and others.

”For sophomore Brenna Calmer, she enjoys the supportive environment and is looking forward to working with Healey this fall.

“He allows and encourages students to be a part of the creative process,” Calmer said. “We collaborate and experiment with ideas as a group, which makes for an interesting and ever-evolving product.”

This year will be Healey’s first semester leading the Pacific Dance Ensemble.

“I am excited to engage and collaborate with the students in a creative and artistic way,” Healey said. “Although I have been teaching Contemporary Technique classes for a couple years, this will be an in-depth time when I get to dive into dance and choreography in a way that can hopefully expand the dancers perspective about how dance can be presented.”

Healey, before returning to Oregon, danced professionally for the New York Dance Company, Shen Wei Dance Arts, for ten years. And now he will use his professional ability to direct the autumn show.

Prior to this upcoming fall Healey was also able to choreograph a piece on the Ensemble in spring 2012 and has also taught contemporary dances classes since fall 2013.

“I want to guide the students who are also creating work for the concert to find the full potential of their creative visions,” Healey said. “In the end, I want the performers to be excited and challenged by the work in which they are dancing.”

Senior Jassa Gunn will be choreographing a piece in the upcoming show for her senior capstone project.

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