Western Dance Project

  • Performance of "Rekenen"

    Rekenen, choreographed by Liv Schaffer.

  • "Threshold" choreographed by Christian Denice for Western Dance Project

    "Threshold" choreographed by Christian Denice for Western Dance Project

  • Performance of Brain Enos's "Diphthong"

    Diphthong, choroegraphed by Brian Enos

  • Western Dance Project performing at the Kalamazoo Public Library.
  • Performance of "It's the Storm in Me"

    It's the Storm in Me, choreographed by Joshua Manculich.


The Western Dance Project is the touring ensemble of the Western Michigan University Department of Dance. This group of 10 to 12 students provides concert performances, lecture-demonstrations and master classes in schools, community centers and at festivals statewide, regionally and nationally. Each year students learn repertoire from guest choreographers from across the United States. Department of Dance alumni are also engaged to create dances for the ensemble.

2019-2020 WDP Featured Guest Artist - Jackie Nowicki

Jackie Nowicki dancing in NYC

Jackie Nowicki

Jackie Nowicki originates from Chicago, Illinois. She received her BFA in dance from Western Michigan University, where she graduated summa cum laude and was named Presidential Scholar in April 2008, and she was chosen as the Department of Dance's Distinguished Alumni for the 2016 school year. She danced for Pilobolus Dance Theater in their PCS company performing for them all over the world, and is certified to teach for their educational outreach program. Her professional credits also include dancing for Mike Esperanza's Bare Dance Company, Calen Kurka's :pushing progress, and Marlena Wolfe's The Wolfe Project.

Jackie worked as a part-time faculty member at Western Michigan University's Department of Dance, and for the past ten years had taught all over the New York dance scene including being on faculty at Peridance Capezio Center, and guesting at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center. Her athletic, daring, and unique approach to movement has also landed her numerous master classes and conventions throughout the united states and even internationally in Rome, Italy. She is currently on faculty at Visceral Dance Center and guesting at Lou Conte Dance Studio in Chicago and is also on faculty for celebrity dance conventions, turn it up dance challenge, and stage door workshops, specializing in contemporary and improv classes.

Jackie is also the artistic director of her own contemporary dance company based out of New York and Chicago, Now Dance Project. Her choreography has been commissioned by numerous colleges, dance companies, studios, and universities including The Ailey School, Elon University, The Hartt School, Salve Regina University, Western Michigan University, Urbanity, The Peridance Certificate Program, and many more. Jackie’s work has received numerous acclamations and awards and was even selected to perform at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, for the American College Dance Association's 2016 national festival. She also judges for numerous dance competitions in the U.S. and Canada and is a nationally certified personal trainer.

performances 2019-2020

Oakland Dance Festival, Sat. Nov. 23

Past Performances

Under the direction of dance professor Whitney Moncrief, ensemble members have represented WMU at the Oakland Dance Festival, the east-central and national conferences of the American College Dance Festival Association, Michigan Dance Council Dance Day, RADFest and more.

The Western Dance Project was invited to perform in the Dance Chicago 2009 Grand Finale concert in Evanston, Ill. Dec. 12, 2009. This concert featured dances that represented the "best of festival" from Dance Chicago's two-week festival earlier in the year. The Western Dance Project performed the dance "Yes, and…," created by Chicago choreographer Autumn Eckman. "Yes, and…" was one of 13 dances selected from nearly 300 in the two-week festival. The creation of the dance was commissioned by the Western Dance Project as part of its touring repertoire.

For more information about the Western Dance Project, contact Artistic Director Whitney Moncrief at whitney.moncrief@wmich.edu or (269) 387-5826.