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Faculty Profile: Steven Iannacone
Assistant Professor of Dance,
Artistic Director of dANCEpROjECt

Steven Iannacone believes Hope dance students have an opportunity to focus more on their discipline than they may have at larger schools, through their personal interactions with their professors. “Students can have intense mentoring and faculty support, while enjoying a personal rapport with faculty,” he says. “There is an evident care and concern for students by the faculty that makes Hope a safe environment for young men and women to search, explore, question, or affirm career and life choices.”

During his time at Hope, Professor Iannacone has developed an appreciation for the college’s faculty members, as well as dance students. “Hope has an outstanding faculty that includes scholars, thinkers, artists, scientists, and recognized experts in all fields of interest,” he says.

“Dance students are enthusiastic, dedicated, and multi-faceted. They seek Hope out as a place to pursue dance and are willing to be challenged by the department’s offerings,” he says. “This makes for a lively and supportive dance environment, especially since the only requirement for the dance program is the passion for the art. Beginners with little or no experience and seasoned performers come together and work in a communal atmosphere that builds trust, fellowship, and respect.”

Students can pursue their art in a variety of ways. For example, numerous performance opportunities include an annual department-wide concert, and the chance to participate in two professional and student companies affiliated with the department. Dance students also find opportunities to share their faith while performing, ranging from the student-organized Sacred Dance ensemble that participates in Chapel services to presenting their own work during student-choreographed dance concerts.

Such faith exploration reflects the department’s broader emphasis on helping students to understand dance’s role in their lives and themselves as artists. “The department advocates ‘divergent thinking’ and has implemented many classroom and extra-curricular structures to help students experience open-ended and expansive ways of exploration, research, and problem solving,” he says.

Professor Iannacone has been applying this individualistic and personal approach of student learning in his own classes. “My discipline of dance is no longer bound to any certain technique but is driven by a philosophy that believes in the unique genius of each student,” he says. “I try to instill a concept-driven dance curiosity in them and have them search for the truth of movement, for the humanity and the humanistic gesture in their work. I believe this opens possibilities to anyone who is committed to pursuing dance as a life-affirming experience.”

This profile was written by Christopher M. Lewis, a 2009 Hope College graduate from Troy, Mich., for the 2009-2010 Hope College Catalog.

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