Anderson, Indiana

Graduate of first dance class talks life after AU

Tue, 2013-05-28 08:37 -- univcomm
Kendra Northgard
May 28, 2013

Life after college can be a scary thought, especially if you are one of the first to graduate from a newly instituted program or major. Last May, Anderson University had its first graduating class of dance performance and dance business majors. Among these was Ohio native Kendra Northgard.

Since graduation, Northgard has moved back to Ohio to pursue her love of dance. She currently performs with Exhale Dance Tribe in Cincinnati, where she focuses on ballet for several local shows. She works at various studios, teaching modern, ballet, tap, jazz, and acrobatic dance. Northgard also teaches pilates and spinning classes at local gyms.

Since the age of three, Northgard has been in love with dancing. She trained at The Dance Company in Fairfield, Ohio. She studied dance all the way through high school and eventually chose Anderson University to further her skill in dance and music performance.

While at AU, Northgard was captain of the AU Dance Team and a member of the AU Cheer Squad. She not only sharpened her vocal and dance skills, but she learned life lessons that changed her for the better.

“When I first came to AU, I thought I was all that and a bag of chips,” said Northgard. She quickly learned from her professors and dance mentors that, to be a leader, you had to act like leader and not a boss. “I learned how to be humble; I had to show the girls that I was there to be their friend and not their boss. I had to encourage them.”

Along the way, Northgard gained valuable skills, education, and experience from several of the professors at AU. “Professor [Oybek] Tashpulatov transformed my dancing 110 percent for the better, while pushing me to become stronger in a variety of dances,” said Northgard.

She also thanks professor Doug King, who supported her in times of discouragement, and professor Debra Silveus, who introduced her to modern dance. “I never even had any training in modern, and now I’m teaching modern dance to others,” said Northgard.

Northgard is humbled to be a part of the first graduating class of dance majors. “Being a part of the first AU dance class is exciting,” said Northgard. “You have the chance to pave the way for current and prospective students looking at AU for dance. There was a time when dancing wasn’t even allowed on the campus, so now it’s great to be a part of molding the dance world at AU,” said Northgard.

In the future, Northgard plans to travel to New Zealand to teach dance and conferences with Exhale Dance Tribe. She will also be returning to King’s Island amusement park this summer to dance and sing in their main theatre. After the summer, Northgard will then start her new position on the Holland American Cruise Line, where she was recently hired as a singer. There, she will sing and dance in various stage plays aboard the ship.

Northgard encourages current and prospective dance majors to take advantage of their years at AU. “The training you have now is valuable, and every class is important,” said Northgard. “Get advice from your teachers, don’t miss a class, and support one another.”

— Kelli Webster is a senior from Indianapolis, Ind., majoring in communication arts. Webster is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.