For Senior History concentration Danielle Iwata, dance is more than just an extracurricular, it’s a way of life. She began dancing at age five, developing an enthusiasm for dance that would later translate into an important aspect of her Colgate career. Originally from New Jersey, Iwata attended high school in France, where her guidance counselor recommended Colgate. She became more interested after meeting Vice President and Dean of Admission Gary Ross and enrolled after visiting on Colgate Day.
In addition to being a co-leader of Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE) group and an illustrator for the Office of Admission, Iwata is very involved in a myriad of different dance related activities. These include being a part of FUSE dance company, the Colgate Ballet Company, teaching ballet at the Hamilton Center for the Arts and co-running the Colgate Dance Initiative (CDI).
“After performing in Dancefest my first semester, I realized that there is just so much passion and talent in the student body but we didn’t really have the faculty or the facilities that really reflected that interest,” Iwata said.
With this in mind, Iwata began contacting different upperclassmen and faculty members in an effort to incorporate dance into the academic curriculum. This developed into the birth of the CDI, which is a student run organization of about 25 students with a passion for dance. The CDI played a role in the renovations for the new dance studio and helped bring the first ever full time dance professor to Colgate, Tanya Calamoneri. Calamoneri is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English whose specialties include different styles of dance, dance history and performance studies.
The immediate goals of the CDI are to create professor positions and create a facility fitting for the passion students are exhibiting for the performing arts. Looking forward, the CDI hopes to create a minor, and potentially someday a major, in dance. This would be a cross-disciplinary subject, including courses in biology, history, sociology and music. They have presented to the Board of Trustees, as well as worked alongside President Herbst and the alumni network.
Iwata’s favorite part of Colgate is the community, both as a whole as well as within her different dance groups. In terms of advice for underclassmen, Iwata suggests that students not wait until senior year to make a bucket list of things to do before graduation, as she is currently trying to check off the last few items on her Colgate bucket list.
After graduation Iwata hopes to work in arts administration, a field in which many doors have been opened to her through her work with the CDI.