From left, the Dance program welcomes Rebecca Brodowski, Jill Molinari and Jennifer Gladney. Brodowski and Gladney are MCCC alumna and Gladney also teaches at Rider University, which will further ease transfer for MCCC Dance students.
The midterm in Prof. Molinari's choreography class included dances choreographed and performed by her students.
West Windsor, N.J. – The Dance program at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) recently added to its roster of talented instructors. Three new teachers are infusing high energy into the MCCC program coordinated by Professor Jody Gazenbeek-Person, who also coordinates the Theatre program.
Known for providing a strong foundation in modern, ballet, and jazz dance that prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, the MCCC Dance program welcomes instructors Rebecca Brodowski ('11) and Jennifer Gladney ('03), both of whom are MCCC alumni, along with Jill Molinaro.
Says Gazenbeek-Person, “All three of these teachers are amazing. After MCCC, both Rebecca and Jennifer went on to earn their bachelor’s degrees in Dance, and Molinari comes to us with a master’s degree in Dance Education from New York University.”
Brodowski completed her bachelor’s degree at Stockton University and is currently forming a dance company. She has worked with Rain Ross Dance, where she performed in Richmond Virginia for the 13th Annual Richmond Choreographer Showcase, as well as for the Between the Seas Festival in New York City. Brodowski performed with HATCH at the Performance Garage in Philadelphia in June 2016, and recently premiered a collaborative piece with Brianne Scott in the Coaction Dance Collective's "co·a·lesce" performance in Philadelphia in February.
Molinaro directs the Jill Molinaro Dance Company, which will be performing on March 25 at Brookdale Community College. During that performance, Molinaro will premiere a new work inspired by the art in the Monmouth Museum.
Both instructors’ companies will be companies-in-residence at MCCC and rehearse in Mercer’s dance studios.
“This is an incredible opportunity for MCCC dancers,” Gazenbeek-Person said. “Both teachers envision giving students who earn it the opportunity to perform with their respective companies. And, they will be able to discuss with students what it takes to become a professional dancer, to choreograph, and to form a company.”
Gladney adds another key element to the trio’s assets. In addition to MCCC, she teaches at Rider University. MCCC’s recent articulation agreement with the Rider Dance program will facilitate a smooth transfer between the institutions and Gladney will be in the right position to prepare Mercer students for the rigors of dancing at Rider.
Gladney has a varied and extensive background. After completing her associate degree in Dance at MCCC in 2003, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Dance from Rider. She is a freelance dancer and choreographer who works with the American Repertory Ballet, Rider Dances and Teamwork Dance. She has performed in works by Twyla Tharp, Kirk Peterson, Philip Jerry and Douglas Martin, and has been on the faculty at Princeton Ballet School since 2005, teaching all ages and levels.
In addition to MCCC Dance students, the college partners with Mercer County Technical Schools’ Career Prep program. High school seniors are able to take dance classes at the college at no charge and can earn up to 12 credits that transfer to colleges and universities across the country.
All three instructors have joined the Mercer faculty bursting with passion. “We encourage each other and help each other. It’s really rewarding,” Molinari said. “School is all about learning and growing. We will share our enthusiasm and our experience in dance. We want the absolute best for our students. They will get a great start at Mercer.“
Molinari notes the positives of beginning dance training in a community college environment. “Not many community colleges have dance programs. Our students will benefit from being part of a small group that is nurturing and supportive. We look forward to guiding and molding their progress,” she said.
Students in the Dance and Theatre programs have the opportunity to perform in several college productions during the year. The Mercer Dance Ensemble presents its annual performance at Kelsey Theatre Saturday, May 6 at 8 p.m.m and Sunday, May 7 at 2 p.m.
The three instructors add to an already stellar performing arts faculty who have trained at prestigious arts institutions including Mason Gross School of the Arts, Julliard, SUNY Purchase, Columbia University, and Yale School of Drama. Faculty and staff regularly mount professional productions in New York City and beyond.
Mercer offers two associate degree options for dancers. Those who seek to focus primarily on artistic development should pursue the A.F.A. in Dance degree. In addition to dance training, the curriculum integrates courses in music, choreography, and dance theory for a critical and aesthetic immersion in the arts. The other option is the A.A. in Dance for students wanting to focus primarily on academic development.
“The students pursuing their A.A. will get an intensive classroom experience in addition to studio dance, and will be prepared for careers in the entertainment industry, as well as for training at a four-year conservatory or liberal arts program,” Gazenbeek-Person explained.
Molinari notes that careers in the dance field are more varied than most people recognize. In addition to performance, dancers can pursue careers in dance therapy, choreography and teaching, work as writers and critics, and get involved in the business side of the field, including arts administration
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