Modern, jazz choreography showcased by SRU dance students
Looking to stay warm? Get ready to feel the heat the SRU Dance Department will be supplying in their student dance showcase, “Forward Momentum.” The show will be featuring SRU dance students performing a variety of original Modern and Jazz choreography, many of which choreographed by SRU students.
Senior dance major Emily Kennard, 22, will be performing in several pieces of the showcase along with a solo piece she choreographed herself entitled, “Can I Conquer You?” The piece also features a video projection that Kennard shot and edited.
“I am very interested in film so I began my research for the piece by looking at movies, particularly psychological thrillers,” Kennard said. “Last year, I choreographed a group piece with video projection, and it was much easier to develop a piece by having other bodies to work with.”
As a soloist, Kennard said she initially struggled with how to synchronize the video projection with dancing, since she could not watch herself.
“I found it difficult to conquer my virtual image at first,” Kennard said. “But as I continued working, this idea then became the concept of my piece. Through performing my solo, I wanted to convey the struggle of figuring out the difference between the real world and this ‘virtual’ world.”
Kennard said she hopes the audience will get lost in her world and follow her through the journey she will take with her solo piece, “Can I Conquer You?” set to “Lento Melancolico” by Astor Piazzolla.
Performing is nothing new to Kennard, as she has been a spotlight performer on stage since the age of three.
When it comes to preparing for a show, she said she has a specific routine.
“On the day of the show, I generally like to listen to my own music and prepare myself mentally for the dances I will be performing,” Kennard said. “Along with mentally reviewing my dances, I like to physically run through every dance that I will perform. I take in the fact that many people are watching me as I share with them my love of dancing.”
Kennard will also be performing in a group jazz piece entitled “Who’s Stopping Us?” and a modern pieced titled “The Attempt, Not the Deed.”
As a senior, Kennard said she is getting ready for the next step in her life, her professional dancing
career. For her, showcases such as “Forward Momentum” are a stepping stone for life’s journey and where she’d like to be as a dancer.
“My future career goals are to pursue a professional performance career and continue working with dance technology,” Kennard said. “I will be moving to New York City in August with my roommate who is also a dance major. I also hope to continue pursuing my passion of film and hopefully work in the film industry. As I move into the professional world, I will continue performing my solo piece that is featured in ‘Forward Momentum’ and I have decided that I will keep it in my repertoire.”
SRU dance professor Dr. Jennifer Keller is very excited about what the students are preparing for the show and hopes for a good turnout from the audience.
“The showcase will feature a lot of original works choreographed by students that include many powerful and athletic pieces along with some delicate pieces,” Keller said. “The students have been working very hard since September on their performances and each student brings their own flair to each piece.”
Keller said she has seen a lot of the work students have produced firsthand to develop such a diverse program for the audience to enjoy.
“The curriculum the dance majors follow prepare them to be performers, choreographers, and teachers,” she said. “And many of them are pursing the dance style they want as a career.”
The SRU Dance Department will also be welcoming back to the stage 2004 SRU dance alumna Tara Madsen Robbins, who is now a professional performer, choreographer, and educator in Philadelphia. Her choreographed piece, “Breaking Ground,” will be featured in the showcase.
“Forward Momentum” will be performed Friday from 7:30-9:00 PM in the Succop Theater at Butler County Community College. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for general admission.