Adyson Johnson’s first decision when she came to Winona State University was to become a dance minor. The Mankato, Minn., native thought it would be a great way to continue dancing after high school, but she never anticipated just how much the dance program would impact her experiences and her future.

The senior Marketing major with minors in Arts Administration and Dance will be performing and choreographing for this year’s Dancescape, and emphasized how much the WSU dance minor curriculum has informed her ability to perform and choreograph original work for a professional dance concert.

“I have been able to take the lessons and concepts of class and apply them onstage,” she said.

Johnson has been involved in Dancescape for several years and has held multiple leadership positions in the production, including serving as the marketing and public relations head for this year’s production. The positions have taught her about both the technical and business side of dance.

Adyson Johnson
Photo by Forrest Seuser

“All of these leadership positions have given me the capability to stand out from other applicants, which can be tough in the competitive job market,” she said.

Last summer Johnson was awarded a competitive arts administration internship at Joffrey Ballet in New York City. She will work there again this summer and then hopes to find a job in a dance company in the city.

Johnson said that being a dance student offered her the opportunity to experience new things and meet new people. She also appreciated cultivating a relationship with dance program director, Gretchen Cohenour.

Courtney Harms, from Rockton, Ill., will also be closing out her senior year at WSU as a dancer and choreographer in this year’s Dancescape.

“I feel this Dancescape is really the culmination of what my whole dance education at Winona State has been and my whole range as a dancer and choreographer,” she said.

Harms, a Movement Science major with minors in Psychology and Dance, said being part of the WSU dance community and the Dancescape process has given her the support to take creative risks as an artist.

“My whole college career and how I view myself has been shaped and developed by the dance professors on campus,” said Harms. “They have taught me so much about dance and how to cope with whatever life throws at you.”

Courtney Harms
Photo by Forrest Seuser

WSU’s dance program taught these seniors not just about dance technique, performance, choreography and leadership—it also gave them the knowledge and skills to stand out in interviews and the workplace.

“At my graduate school interview, we talked about how dance has affected my view on healthcare and anatomy, which is emphasized a lot in our program,” Harms said.

Harms will attend the Des Moines University-Osteopathic Medical Center in the fall, pursuing her doctorate of physical therapy. She is interested in incorporating dance into her practice as a physical therapist.

Both of these senior dancers are thankful for the lessons, memories and experiences Dancescape and the dance program have given them from start to finish.

After Dancescape concludes, Johnson and Harms will serve as co-directors for the Senior Dance Show in April.

For more information on the dance program contact, Gretchen Cohenour at GCohenour@winona.edu.

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Kassidy Jackson

Kassidy is a Public Relations major, Advertising minor and Dance minor graduating in 2019 from Rosemount, MN.