WT Dance Celebrates End of Year with Banquet, Honors


West Texas A&M University Dance honored top students at a May 4 banquet. Awardees include, from left, Kaitlyn Roberson, Kynleigh Hilton, Penelope Welch, Abbi Roe, Hannah Hosnedl and Zakyya Taylor. Not pictured is Jayden Lucas.

CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University Dance tied up its year with an awards banquet recognizing its top performers.

The May 4 Buff Dance Banquet and Awards Ceremony celebrated the department’s two major performances, “Falling into Dance” in November and “Portraits of Dance” in April ahead of WT’s May 13 commencement ceremonies.

“This event is a highlight and delightful way for majors to celebrate the accomplishments and reflect on the past year,” said Crystal Bertrand, director of dance. “These awards recognize dancers who have made an impact in program activities as recognized by their fellow peers, and each award fits in with the program’s goals with the love of learning, passion for growth, and high performance.”

Bertrand and fellow faculty members Edward Truitt and Sandra Stegelman Miller selected Kynleigh Hilton, a senior dance major from Lubbock, as the winner of the 3D Award, given to a dancer who exemplifies discipline, determination and desire.

Faculty members also selected Abbi Roe, who’s pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in dance and is from Roswell, New Mexico, as winner of the Treston Johnson Dance Award, given to a dancer who best exemplifies the heart and soul of the dance program. The award is named for a dance student who died in 2018.

Sierra Cross, a senior from Lubbock, was honored for outstanding contributions to the WT Dance Academy.

Five other awards, with winners selected by dance majors, were presented, as well:

  • Spirit Award: Zakyya Taylor, a junior from Lubbock, for encouragement and support of other dancers;
  • Buff Dance Award: Hannah Hosnedl, a senior from Downers Grove, Illinois, for passion, dedication and the year’s most impressive performances;
  • Diamond Award: Penelope Welch, a junior from Frisco, for modeling proper classroom and rehearsal etiquette;
  • Discovery Award: Jayden Lucas, a freshman from Amarillo, for making significant and unexpected contributions to the program; and
  • Emerald Award: Kaitlyn Roberson, a junior from Pampa, for embodying the highest aspects of artistry and skill in class, in rehearsal and on stage.

The dance program’s 2023-24 season will include “Falling into Dance” from Nov. 16 to 19 and “Portraits of Dance” from April 25 to 28.

Fostering an appreciation for the arts and engaging and retaining the best students are key components of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $120 million.