Sweat dripping down his face after a long rehearsal, Nickolas Currenton – dance major at Cypress College, slips off his ballet slippers as he shares the importance that is repetition in performing arts classes. “You can’t get everything you need from one class. You have to keep at it. You have to do it again and again. There is no such thing as taking a class once and gaining everything you need from a class that only meets a couple hours a week. In order to be successful, you have to keep at it. You have to do it over and over again.”
With performing arts being, what Currenton describes as an under-valued field of study, he recognizes the need to make these classes repeatable in order to gain the proper training needed to be successful in these fields.
Currenton is petitioning to make community college-level performing art courses repeatable; this includes theater and all art forms, but his main emphasis is on dance. At Cypress College, once a class is taken and passed, the class can no longer be taken again. Currenton says this poses an issue for artists because these classes are detrimental in order to “obtain the proper training to be successful in auditions and in job searches.” Currenton says that the expectation to acquire these skills from taking a class once, is unrealistic and simply not feasible. Artists are faced with the pressure to move forward with their education and careers, but struggle doing so due to the fact that these classes are not repeatable, says Currenton. This is a problem because “in order to adequately teach our future dance students once we become professors, we need to not only learn the skills ourselves, but also need to have these skills constantly reinforced in order to successfully practice and pass along the knowledge.”
The techniques and skills that are obtained through these classes are not easily achievable nor can they be self-taught from a textbook, like that can be done in other subjects such as English or Math, says Currenton. “The success of a dancer, or any artist, for that matter, relies heavily on the skills that are taught in these classes. The required skill set simply cannot be obtained by taking a class once. A dancer must consistently take dance courses in order to learn the proper techniques and skills to move forward in their careers – whether that be educational or professional.” Currenton explains that outside of community college, these classes are quite expensive and can add up to hundreds of dollars, making it inaccessible to those who cannot afford such a steep price. This leaves a lot of dancers at a disadvantage when it comes to progressing in their field. With this petition, Currenton hopes to make the successful art career more accessible and attainable by making performing arts classes repeatable.
If interested in supporting the petitioning, Currenton encourages students and faculty to reach out and email him at email@example.com.