Everyone dances, Jennifer Mizenko said.
“From the moment we’re born, we’re alive because we move,” she said. “Dancing is a part of the fabric of life – all movement is expression. Dance only formalizes that expression.”
Since its implementation in 2010, the Ole Miss Student Dance company has provided its students with opportunities to inspire the community through dance.
Mizen, a professor and dance company advisor said the dance company was established six years ago to grant a variety of artistic opportunities to choreographers, managers, designers and dancers.
“The company is designed to create a fostering environment for members to study, teach and improve techniques and skills in all aspects of dance,” Mizenko said.
Mizenko began dancing at the age of 5 and began working at Ole Miss 27 years ago. According to Mizenko, her goal is to continue pursuing a program that will promote the value of dance within the Ole Miss community.
Mizenko said she believes dance teaches life lessons such as discipline, creativity, fitness, teamwork, cooperation and communication.
Auditions for the company are held once a year, and at the end of the semester there will be auditions for Mississippi: The Dance Company, which is the company directed by Mizenko.
Mississippi: The Dance Company is the department’s official dance company where choreography is designed by faculty, guest artists and chosen students who choreograph at a superior level.
Last semester, the company had roughly 30 participants, and Mizenko said she hopes to further establish the power of dance in the Oxford community.
The only dancers that carry over from year to year are officers, which currently include Kate Prendergast, Sydney Gibson, Drew Wheeler and Victoria Burrow.
“We try to bring dance back to the Ole Miss and Oxford communities through modern, contemporary, jazz, tap and hip-hop,” company officer Victoria Burrow said. “It is important to expose people to different styles of dance especially in places like Oxford, where dance is less prevalent.”
Burrow describes dancing as therapeutic and a great stress reliever.
“Personally, dance is my outlet,” Burrow said. “It’s how I express myself and show people what I’m thinking or feeling at the moment. That in and of itself is vital to living a meaningful life. Without my passion for dance, I wouldn’t be me.”
According to senior journalism major Taylor Lewis, dance is a great way to bring a variety of personalities together.
“Dance is important to communities because it’s a good way to express yourself and bring together many diverse cultures by doing one common movement,” Lewis said.