UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | November 09, 2022

Dancers put best feet forward for Spring Dance Concert

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Challenging himself physically and mentally has brought Khalob Spotten into the world of dance.

Spotten, a freshman pre-engineering major from St. George, is a scholarship dancer for the Dixie State University Dance Company.

Spotten began ballroom dancing at fifteen and continued the interest into college, enrolling in one of DSU’s ballroom dancing classes. His instructor encouraged him to speak to Li Lei, the director of the company and a dance professor. This led to an audition, which then led to his place on the team. 

He is currently enrolled in several technique classes: modern, jazz and ballroom, though his favorite dance genre is ballet.

“I really enjoy ballet because it takes a lot of strength, technique and coordination to execute ballet dances well and to fit with the style of the dance,” he said.

One of Spotten’s favorite elements of dance is partnering.

“I really appreciate, enjoy and put a lot of thought toward aspects of partnering and the dynamic of partner dancing between a man and a woman,” he said.

Spotten also said he has begun exploring improvisation in dance, and the subsequent freedom improv can provide.

“I enjoy feeling the music and getting rid of any social faux pas or inhibitions you have of what’s socially acceptable and doing what the music inspires you to do,” Spotten said.

However, Spotten is not without his challenges. Spotten said many of his fellow teammates began dancing as young as three and, as a result, are more used to the rough-and-tumble side of dance.

“They have calloused bodies, and it’s second nature to them,” he said. “Sometimes I’m not as resilient to injuries.”

For Spotten, though, challenging himself is one of his main motivators in all areas of life. For instance, Spotten learned how to ride a unicycle, which will be featured in one of his dances.

“I look for things that prove to be mentally and physically challenging and that are going to stretch me,” he said. “Unicycling is a good thing in that respect.”

Spotten said such challenges can be tasking, but by managing his time wisely and devoting his time to his love for dance leaves him up for them.

“I feel it’s important to push yourself and to try things that are unfamiliar, and that’s what life has been for me this past year,” he said. “It improves every area—mentally, academically, socially—when you’re able to push yourself and get out of your comfort zone. “

A fellow dancer, Kandalyn Russel, a freshman communication major from Salem, said Spotten’s  dedication and positive attitude always comes through.

“He is super dedicated,” Russel said. “He’s always here early and always stays late to pratice. He’s constantly working to make himself better.”

Spotten said his dance instructors have helped fuel his love for dance, particularly Lei.

“She is so influential to me, personally,” he said. “For her, it’s not just about dance, but it’s about character and developing well-rounded human beings, not just well-rounded dancers.”

Because of his opportunity to work with professionals and fellow dance lovers, Spotten is able to continually push himself as far as he can go.

“Just do everything to the fullest because that’s what it takes with anything,” he said. “If you want to do something, do it all the way.”