Though both the sports and dance programs at Hope College remain truncated, dancers and athletes have been working hard. With new safety protocols in place, the Dow Center was able to open several weeks ago, allowing for training to ramp up and the Hope community to be involved in Dow activities again.
Recently, Jim and Eileen Heeringa of Holland, Michigan, gave a magnanimous donation for the renovation of Hope’s studios and athletic facilities. This gift, $5 million, is going to be used to create and renovate spaces for both the sports and dance programs. Approximately half of the $5 million will be used to build a new locker room in the Ray and Sue Smith Stadium to be used by the football team and other student athlete programs. The other half is designated to the renovation and reconfiguration of the Hope Dow Center dance studios and practice areas, as well as additions to the DeWitt Center that will include a dance studio theatre, dressing rooms, bathrooms and a green room. A special note is that there are plans for a dedicated tap studio in the Dow Center, helping to serve the growth of tap in the dance department.
The dance department has been especially busy lately with the filming of the H2 Dance Company’s show, titled “In This Time.” H2, one of Hope’s premiere dance companies, created the show as a pre-recorded, fully produced film, which was featured on hope.edu/h2 this past Friday and Saturday. Though there was no live audience, the presence of hope throughout the performances was a testament to the hard work that the dancers and choreographers have ceaselessly continued to put into their pieces. Hope’s other premiere dance company, Strike Time, has also been busy, with the creation of next semester’s January concert. This comes soon after they finished filming for their TV special “Galapagos Girl,” which has yet to be released. Based on researcher Valentina Cruz’s story and input, as well as dancer research and collaboration, the show is centered around Valentina, a naturalist guide who introduces Adela, a young visitor, to the animals on the island. Dancers are also involved in rehearsals and preparation for Dance 47, Hope’s annual spring faculty-choreographed dance concert.
Though there have not been tournaments, games or intercollegiate activities this semester due to COVID-19, student athletes have also been busy. Practice and training have kept athletes busy and inspired them to work harder with hope for a future that could once again involve competition.