“Do you know what it’s like to come to work for nine years and be a problem?” Associate Professor of dance Barbara Grubel asked referring to getting in everybody’s way.
That is one of the biggest reasons behind the latest addition to the Young Auditorium.
The dance program at UW-Whitewater has never had its own designated space. Dance has shared a space with the Theatre Department in the Hicklin Studio Theatre and the Young Auditorium in the Kachel Center.
Dance is offered as a minor and Grubel said the program has doubled to 50 participants since she began teaching at UW-Whitewater nine years ago.
After the completion of the new dance studio addition in August, the dance program will have a space to call its own.
“It allows the dance program to actually run as it’s supposed to,” Grubel said. “As I say, UW-Whitewater has finally reached the 21st century with dance. Finally.”
Grubel said last fall her students were rehearsing in garages and in the basement of the armory in downtown Whitewater. She said it was not only inconvenient for the students to go off campus, but it was also unsafe.
The addition will not only help the dance students, but it will allow the theatre students use of the Hicklin Studio Theatre throughout the school year.
“It’s helping the whole college immensely,” Grubel said. “Everyone will kind of be back where they belong and have their spaces back.”
Currently, Hicklin is set up as a dance studio. Next year, the space will be used as a theatre and productions will actually be hosted there.
In the past, Hicklin was only used for the Summeround productions, but Chene said the third theatre production next year, “Love’s Labour’s Lost” will be performed there.
Now that the dance program will have its own space, Chene said the talk of having a dance major is an actual possibility.
He said they can legitimately have that conversation, without its own space it was not a possibility.
Grubel said she believes the dance program will only grow in the future. She said registration opened and all the entry level dance classes were full within three days.
The project is expected to be completed by Aug. 20 and Chene said “construction is absolutely on schedule.”
The space will be approximately 30 feet by 60 feet and will include changing rooms for men and women, a bathroom and lockers.
Grubel said the chancellor and provost have been enormously helpful.
“They heard our plea, they came to the rescue,” Grubel said. “Everyone has just been enormously supportive of this project.”