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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Haglund dances with Wildcats

    Ed Flores

    Courtesy of Ed Flores

    Tanya Haglund, a dance senior, dances outside of the Optical Sciences Center on Sept. 6, 2014. Haglund will be performing in “Color Wheel,” debuting in February.

    Tanya Haglund, a dance senior, attributes her joyful spirit to the art she studies.
    “Dance can be such a powerful way to communicate and express ideas or emotions, and there is a certain joy that can only be found in learning and performing dance,” Haglund said. 

    Unlike many of her dancing peers, Haglund did not come out of the womb wanting to dance. 

    “At the age of five, I declared dance as boring and played soccer instead,” Haglund said. However, after watching a dance show in the fifth grade, Haglund was inspired to give dance another try, this time immersing herself in the challenges and wonders of the art. Starting at 12, Haglund had to work harder to catch up to the other dancers in her classes who had six or more years of experience. She picked up on the dance vocabulary and the technique and as a high school senior, she auditioned for the UA’s prestigious dance program. 

    For her audition, Haglund attended the Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase, a weekend convention offering master dance classes taught by some of the university’s most accredited professors as well as the chance to audition for the school. Haglund competed with hundreds of other high school seniors from across the country, learning and performing phrases from ballet, modern and jazz in front of a panel of professors.

    Haglund was drawn to the UA’s dance program because it focuses on creating well-rounded dancers well-versed in ballet, modern and jazz, and it centers on more than just the job aspect.

    “We dance, first of all, because we are driven and buoyed by the joy it brings us,” said Jory Hancock, director of the School of Dance and dean of the UA College of Fine Arts. “It can become a job, but in the beginning it is some internal need to move, to learn, to express, to create and to feel alive.”

    An average day for Haglund begins with a few technique classes.

    “I have found starting the morning with dance is a great way to set up my mind and body for the rest of the day” Haglund said.

    After centering herself in her art, she either gets lunch with some friends or heads to the gym on campus to exercise. Haglund then attends academic classes before heading back to the studio to rehearse for upcoming shows. Every day is busy for Haglund and other dance majors who usually take over 21 units per semester.

    “Aside from the performances that an audience sees, the studio can be a laboratory where we as artists are encouraged to question, play and learn from each other,” Haglund said. “Those skills and ways of thinking spill over into our daily lives as people, our lives far beyond our art form.” 

    Currently, Haglund is rehearsing for “Color Wheel,” which will be debuting in February. The performance will showcase the extensive dance expertise of the majors in the program by combining classical ballet choreography from George Balanchine’s “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux” with new and original choreography by UA dance faculty. Haglund will be dancing to “If You Don’t Leave Me, I’ll Find Someone Who Will” choreographed by Douglas Nielsen. 

    “The rehearsal process for that piece is both engaging and enjoyable,” Haglund said. “Doug’s rehearsal process is fun and unpredictable since we could be brushing up on sign language for one section and then later transition into a full group partnering section using wooden boxes.”

    Nielsen, a contemporary dance professor at the School of Dance, refers to Haglund as “an integral part” of his piece. 

    “Haglund is an exemplary student and a charismatic performer,” Nielsen said. “She is generous in spirit, and has contributed greatly to the positive energy throughout the rehearsal process.” 

    After graduation, Haglund said she hopes to dance with a professional company or do project-based work.


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