Loyola Dance Welcomes Raul Casasola
Loyola University Chicago’s Dance Program welcomed Raúl Casasola this semester as the newest member of its dance faculty for the 2019-2020 academic year. Casasola joined the program with extensive dance experience from dancing with companies all over the world, including the Joffrey Ballet.
Casasola’s dance career began in Spain when he was selected to be part of a pre-professional company for young dancers in Europe called Europa Danse. Later he became an apprentice with the Victor Ullarte Ballet before joining the Compañía Nacional de Danza 2 in Spain. In 2002 he danced with Ballet de l’Opera National du Rhin in France before moving to the United States. In 2008, he joined the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago where he was a member of the company for 10 years and continues to teach at their school.
While pursuing his dance career, Casasola graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communication from the Universidad a Distancia de Madrid in 2017.
At Loyola, Casasola teaches Ballet V, Advanced Ballet. He is currently working with our advanced dance majors and minors. He is also working with our dancers on “Viva Vivaldi” choreographed by Gerald Arpino which he is staging for the 2019 Annual Dance Concert, Ecstatic Earth. The dancers in his class and rehearsal process are pleased to have Casasola teach their class and welcomed him with their hard work and dedication.
Casasola spoke the importance of ballet technique in a dancer’s training. He said:
“My main objective in a ballet class is to provide the dancers with a solid and clean technical base which the dancers can further develop or incorporate into any other style of dance at a late stage. But if there is something that I consider equally important as the technical aspect in training dancers, it is to remind my students very often to ask themselves why they are dancing. Of course, we must seek improvement in technique, but technique cannot make us forget that we dance because of our love and passion for this art.”
Casasola also reflected on his goals in working with our Advanced Ballet students:
“My goal is to increase the love that students have for dance, particularly the appreciation and love for ballet. In ballet, there is no perfection, but the best part is trying to see how close to perfection we can get and how we can use the power of dance to transform ourselves (and others) into our best possible selves.”
“Working with college dancers is being a joy for me” Casasola commented on his experience working in higher education. “They want to learn, they want to listen, and they are smart. It’s the perfect combination.”
The dancers in the Advanced Ballet class have thoroughly enjoyed working with Casasola. Sophomore Dance Major Stephanie Dehoorne spoke about her experience with Casasola so far:
“Raúl is encouraging and his classes are challenging while also being enjoyable. He gives very coherent feedback that focuses both on technique and artistry. I enjoy taking Casasola’s class. He is a great addition to the faculty dynamic here at Loyola.”
Stephanie also spoke about her experience in Casasola’s rehearsal for “Viva Vivaldi” choreographed by Gerald Arpino which he is staging for the 2019 Annual Dance Concert, Ecstatic Earth:
“Raúl is demanding of the dancers while also encouraging. He always reminds the dancers that we are capable of the complex movement. Rehearsals have a focus on technique while also asking us to consider our performative quality with attention to the musical aspect of the movement. Raúl is specific as to what he expects from the dancers and treats the dancers as professionals.”