Wittenberg University has introduced a new dance team that seeks to combine competition and community.
The director of the new dance team is Christeen Stridsberg, also instructor of theatre and dance at Wittenberg University. As director, she wants to create opportunities for students with various interests and passions, and hopes to develop a team of committed dancers who are supportive of one another, who provide a significant boost in school spirit at campus events, and who enrich the experience of attending the university.
Stridsberg plans to host workouts for interested students who are currently enrolled and begin the process of recruiting new students to the university.
“I have high hopes and big dreams for this team,” she said. “As important as the technical skills are – building physical strength, flexibility and stamina – I am prioritizing leadership, confidence, and passion at the top of my list as qualities to instill in the dancers.”
Some of the first students who showed interest in participating on the dance team were student-athletes involved in other intercollegiate athletics programs, which Stridsberg said paired well with a realization she had after seeing a photo of a high school football player who also participated in the marching band at halftime.
“I realize that may not be a possibility for all student-athletes, but it inspired me,” she said. “With communication and organization, we should encourage our students to set their goals high and pursue their passions. Many students have reached out to me who do spring sports, cheer, theatre, etc. I have told all of them that I am willing to work around availability so that the students don’t have to pick one or the other.”
Stridsberg earned a master’s degree from New York University’s Tisch School of Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography, where she performed for the Second Avenue Dance Company. She has also performed globally, on the high seas, and with the New York Titans Dance Team at Madison Square Garden.
She is an actor at Short North Stage, an equity theater in Columbus, and teaches at and is the assistant director of the competitive team at BalletMet & K Studio.
“I cannot thank Wittenberg enough for putting their faith into me to build this team and set a precedent to guide the team’s path,” she said. “Whether it’s trophies or experiences – hopefully both! – I am so excited to see what the future has in store for the Wittenberg Dance Team.”