Dance alumna returns to Elon to teach master class

Kristen Sandler, who earned her bachelor's degree in dance performance and choreography in 2013, visited campus, taught a master class and shared strategies for success. 

Alumna Kristen Sandler returned to Elon on Oct. 10 to teach a master class and have a Q&A session with dance students pursuing a bachelor’s in fine arts.

Kristen Sandler, BFA Dance '13
Sandler graduated from Elon in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in dance performance and choreography. Since she has left, she has performed with Holland America Cruise Lines, “Elf! The Musical” National Tour, and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” Tour. Additionally, her choreography has been presented at Dixon Place, Symphony Space, HereArts and 92Y. Her upcoming full-length dance piece, “Gilded,” will be presented in February 2018 as the premier new work of the San Antonio Theater.

The master class Sandler taught for the students was focused on commercial dance. She began the hour and a half session by performing a warm-up that focused on strength and technique. She also introduced the dancers to the concept of sequencing movement isolations, which is a new trend that is becoming popularized in the dance world.

After a solid warm up, Sandler conducted the rest of the class as if it were a commercial audition. By teaching the students some of the exact combinations that she has done before in commercial auditions, the students got a taste of what kinds of movement they might be faced with when transitioning into the real world of dance. To finish the master class, Sandler taught the students some of her own repertory, which has been finding great success recently in New York. Her quirky movement, paired with her up-beat personality, really energized the dancers and provided them with a great opportunity to learn from someone who was once in their shoes about what auditioning in New York is really like.

Kristen Sandler teaching the master class. 
By seeing what an Elon alumna has been able to accomplish after her time at the university, the students were able to envision what their life after school may look like. During the Q&A session, she stressed the importance of just going out into the world and taking risks, but also the importance of staying true to who you are as an artist. Often when dancers begin auditioning, they can be intimidated by the fact that there are so many talented individuals around them who may all seem to be a better candidates for the part. However, Sandler offered the reminder that if you stay true to your individual aesthetic, you will find a part that is perfect for you.

Junior dance major Abby Corrigan said she “was incredibly encourage by what Kristen had to say about auditioning. I had always heard that it would be a hard process, but Kristen was so positive and reminded me of the importance of maintaining your own unique qualities as a dancer.” Sophomore dance major Lindsey Bishel said “it was very beneficial to learn the different audition techniques as well as the current commercial dance trends.”

All in all, having Sandler back on campus was a treat for both the students and faculty. Her success here at Elon created the perfect transition into her success in New York, and the Elon dance community is incredibly excited to see all that she will do next.