Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

University announces new partnership with Springboard Dance

Photo by Michelangelo Pellis
Outside the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

As students begin to pack up and leave campus for the summer, a new dance company is being introduced to the University in a recently announced partnership to help connect Point Park dancers with leading professionals in the industry.  


In an April 16 announcement by Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and Jeremy Waldrup, CEO of Pittsburgh’s Downtown Partnership, it was revealed that Springboard Danse will be bringing their three-week dance project to Point Park University. This program is an intensive workshop that acts as a “springboard” for dancers looking for a way into the industry.


“Their primary thing is a three-week event that they run at the beginning of Summer,” Lou Corsaro, Managing Director of university Marketing and Public Relations, said. “You have emerging choreographers coming in, some of the best choreographers in the world, and they work with these professional dancers. It gives them lines into making connections to get hired by dance troupes around the world.”


Springboard Danse was founded in 2001 by Alexandra Wells and Margie Gillis as a staple of professional dance and choreography in Montreal, Canada. For the past 22 years, they have helped up-and-coming dancers make professional connections in the dance world through distributing scholarship funds and their annual three-week-long dance festival, which acts as a workshop. Through these initiatives and more, Springboard has featured artists from over 40 countries and has connected more than 500 dancers to paid jobs.


“By building relationships with international artists, our students will be exposed to a broader movement vocabulary,” Garfield Lemonius, dean and artistic director of the Pittsburgh Playhouse, said. “We are looking at inviting creatives from Springboard Danse to return to Point Park during the academic year to engage more deeply in the creative process with our students.  We are talking about internationally renowned and established artists as well as emerging creatives who will establish the next dance movement trend.”  


Although successful in their initiatives, Springboard Danse was facing financial ruin in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have been largely unsuccessful in gaining funding in Montreal, with 93% of its revenue being from tuition paid by the same dancers they seek to help. They have not been able to receive support from any public or private funding bodies to date. Now, they are looking to change that.


“During the pandemic, [Springboard Danse] was forced to suspend operations,” Corsaro said. “They were looking to come to America, finding that they may have more options for gaining funding here as opposed to Canada.”


As Springboard continues to work toward its revitalization, the City of Pittsburgh is also looking to revive Downtown as an artistic and cultural center. Point Park is central to that plan, with its acclaimed COPA program and its proximity to the Cultural District. 


“Our goal is to continue to make Downtown Pittsburgh a destination for locals and travelers alike,” Lemonius said. “This partnership demonstrates a commitment to the arts, to students, and to further increasing the visibility of our renowned Conservatory of Performing Arts. A city that cherishes the arts and education like Pittsburgh deserves to be celebrated on the international level.” 


For more updates, follow Springboard Danse on Instagram @springboarddanse. Their new website will be unveiled soon as they continue to revitalize their company and secure funding to better support their artists. 

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