The Hope College Department of Dance is one of only a few institutions in the United States where students can study five dance techniques (ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and hip hop), and receive a BA in Dance, pursue a variety of dual majors, or minor in dance, dance production, or dance pedagogy. Hope College also offers additional classes in choreography/composition, history, improvisation, dance therapy, and production. The program boasts an extensive list of graduates who have gone on to serve in many dance-related fields, including performance (concert and commercial), choreography, dance medicine, dance therapy, and dance pedagogy. Accredited through the National Association of Schools in Dance, Hope College seeks to prepare students for career opportunities in dance while maintaining the highest standards for technique, composition, production, and academic quality. The department hosts semester-long guest teachers and choreographers both from the United States and abroad, offers semester-long internships in New York City, Chicago, Paris, and many additional cities, and includes over 200 study-abroad opportunities in more than 60 countries through the college’s Semester Abroad program. All of this is offered on the academically rigorous campus of Hope College, which is listed in Loren Pope’s book Colleges That Change Lives, and Elaina Loveland’s book Creative Colleges. Performance opportunities provided by the department include four annual student-choreographed concerts, a faculty-choreographed concert, two resident pre-professional companies with regional, national, and international performance opportunities, and Sigma Omicron (dance honors fraternity). In addition to the many performance opportunities, the department holds auditions for dance scholarships offered to 16 incoming freshmen each year ($12,000 for four years), and boasts a faculty that has toured and produced works throughout North America, South America, Asia, Australia, and Europe.
Lindsey Ferguson ’10 Hanson is the perfect example of what is means to live out your passions and life calling. Having graduated from Hope College with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance: Performance and Choreography, Ferguson is now living in New York City working as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and actor. She is passionate about the work she does and is deeply dedicated to spreading joy through her work.
Hanson’s professional career began her sophomore year at Hope when she was hired for her first TV role where she appeared in “Come On Over,” a children’s television show produced by the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. This job introduced her to Koyalee Chanda who was the director for her next job on “Sesame Street.” Since then, Hanson has appeared in other TV shows including “America’s Got Talent” and most recently, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” She has also been in Broadway Productions, commercials and films.
Heather Cornell, tap dancer, choreographer, teacher, and the co-founder of Manhattan Tap, which was cited by the New York Times as being “one of New York’s leading tap ensembles,” was born in Ontario, Canada.
She began her training at the age of four in tap, ballet, and jazz with renowned teacher Dot Blakely. She then continued her training at Grant McEwan College in Edmonton and at Yale University in Toronto. Three months before graduating she moved to New York City, at first to study Cunningham contemporary dance, but was soon introduced to her first mentor, Charles “Cookie” Cook, a veteran members of the famed Copasetics fraternity of mostly all-black tap dancers dedicated to the memory of Bill Robinson.
Cornell co-founded, with Tony Scopino, Manhattan Tap, a jazz tap ensemble comprising four dancers (Cornell, Scopino, Shelley Oliver, Jamie Cunneen) and three musicians committed to old and new tap styles, repertory works, and collaborations. Cornell’s dancing is a visual and aural link to some of the great tap masters, her blend of original material from her mentors, to which is added her own style of concert tap and her extensive work in collaboration with jazz musicians and world music artists, resulted in her own style– a relaxed and low-keyed style of rhythm tap that is musically sophisticated and deliciously languid, indolent and dazzling at the same time. On Broadway, Cornell choreographed the Tony-nominated comedy The Play What I Wrote (2003) which ran at the Lyceum Theatre.
Jasmine has danced at Radio City Music Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and the American Dance Festival in North Carolina. She has toured in the United States and performed abroad in Bulgaria, London and Sweden while performing as a company member of the VON HOWARD PROJECT, MADArt Creative, the LMproject and the Jamal Jackson Dance Company. She was featured in the Urban Bush Women documentary Restaging Shelter. The artists she has worked with include Stefanie Batten Bland, Ronald K. Brown, Elizabeth Corbett, Leah Cox, Daniel Gwirtzman, Dawn Springer and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.
Jasmine choreographed A Brand New World, a musical featured off-Broadway on Theatre Row, and her choreography has been presented at Manhattan’s Highline Ballroom, Ailey Citigroup Theater and Jack Crystal Theater; the Adelphi University Performing Arts Center on Long Island; and the American College Dance Festival. Her guest artist teaching residencies have taken place at Long Island University and the Greater Hartford (CT) Academy of the Arts.
Her current research is focused on developing her teaching practice and movement method, Rhythmic Motion.