Dance student taps into KSU after learning from Rockettes
KENNESAW, Ga. (Jul 10, 2020) — Enrolled in her first classes as a Kennesaw State student, Alexandra Walsh is taking a different step from how she spent the previous four summers – receiving dance training from the world-famous Radio City Rockettes.
Walsh participated four times in the Rockettes Summer Intensive, a week-long program in New York City where dancers learn and train in the Rockettes’ style of precision dance. Walsh, 19, who started taking dance lessons at age 3 and aspires for a career in dance, described it as an incredible opportunity to learn from the best in the business.
“It was a dream to attend the Summer Intensive as many times as I was fortunate to be able to go,” Walsh said. “You go to New York, and the actual Rockettes teach you their choreography and their precise style, and then you perform their numbers. It’s a great experience to see first-hand what that life is like and what the job is like.”
Walsh was selected for the Summer Intensive in 2016 following an audition the Rockettes held in Atlanta, and she continued in the program for the next three summers. Along with the daily dance lessons and seminars, Walsh was able to explore New York and visit spots such as Central Park, Broadway, Times Square, Lincoln Center and the New York Public Library.
The dance training was the focus, though, and Walsh learned different jazz and tap routines each summer while dancing six hours a day. However, one constant each year was performing the iconic “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” number that has been a staple of the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular since its inception in 1933.
“Every woman who has ever been a Rockette has danced in ‘Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,’ so it’s a really cool piece of their legacy that they pass on to the students,” Walsh said.
The Rockettes are not conducting the Summer Intensive this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Walsh instead is using the summer to take her first classes after transferring to Kennesaw State. A sophomore from Lawrenceville, Walsh chose to attend KSU because of the university’s accomplished Department of Dance, the largest collegiate dance program in Georgia.
“I think it’s the best program of study for what I’m looking for in college,” Walsh said. “The dance department offers a well-rounded curriculum that pairs the dance technique classes with dance theory courses like dance history and kinesiology. Also, the dance faculty at KSU have a wide variety of dance backgrounds, which gives the students the opportunity to learn from experts in so many different dance styles to really prepare them well.”
Along with the opportunities that await through the Department of Dance, Walsh has been accepted into KSU Journey Honors College. Honors students are able to customize their learning through a flexible, interdisciplinary curriculum, and Walsh said she particularly is “excited to explore the different Honors Learning Experience options.” Students choose HLEs – which include courses, seminars, internships, domestic or international travel, specialized study, teaching assistantships and research assistantships – that align with their interests, major and career goals.
Walsh looks forward to performing in her first dance production at Kennesaw State as soon as that is possible. In the meantime, her studies will keep her busy as she pursues a degree in dance with a minor in business.
“I’m excited to see how my dreams may change and develop throughout my time at KSU, and to explore the opportunities that will come while I’m there,” Walsh said. “I think that KSU will prepare me for whatever I decide to do in the dance industry, which is I why I really like the ability to pair the dance major with a business minor. I think it keeps so many doors open.”
– Paul Floeckher
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.