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Repertory Dance Company teaches students to run a business

February 5, 2014

An April 6 dance performance at Chicago’s Ruth Page Center for the Arts is the end goal for students enrolled in the Repertory Dance Company, a Labs Across the Curriculum course led by Adjunct Assistant Professor of Dance Gina T’ai.

The course, which is in its third offering, teaches students how to form and a run a functional dance company, including how to promote it, build a budget, fundraise, work with clients, and write grants.

This semester, the course’s 10 students will learn from various external and internal guests such as the director of The Seldoms, a Chicago-based dance company, to gain insight on when to outsource, as well as Beloit’s director of communications and marketing, Jason Hughes, to learn about marketing.

One new aspect of this semester’s Repertory Dance Company is the collaboration with dancers from Grinnell College, which materialized out of T’ai’s friendship with a Grinnell dance faculty member, Celeste Miller.

This is also the first time the Repertory Dance Company course will result in a larger performance outside of Beloit. The first two times the course was taught the dances were performed in the Beloit School District and the Turner School District, respectively.

T’ai, whose concept for the Repertory Dance Company grew out of her own experience participating in a touring dance company in her early days, doesn’t think of herself as the teacher of the Repertory Dance Company though.

"I consider myself a facilitator because we're all going into this together,” said T'ai, pictured below. “I set up structure and assignments, but they are really driving."

Before the Chicago performance, see Beloit’s dancers in action at the annual Chelonia Dance Concert directed this year by T’ai. The performances take place this Thursday-Sunday (Feb. 6-Feb. 9) in the Neese Theatre. Click here for more information.

Gina T'ai