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Fredonia dancers and faculty choreographer honored at dance conference
Friday, April 08, 2016

Fredonia dancers and faculty choreographer honored at dance conference

Fredonia dancers who performed "Orion I."

For the third time in six years, dancers from Fredonia’s Department of Theatre and Dance were given the honor of performing in the Gala Concert of the East-Central Regional American College Dance Association Conference.

The 2016 conference, held at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo from March 5 to 8, was a whirlwind of classes, workshops, panels and performances attended by over 500 students, faculty, choreographers, and musicians from more than 20 colleges and universities from Michigan, New York State, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Taiwan.

The event culminated in the Gala Concert, which featured the 12 strongest works selected from an initial pool of 48 dances submitted to the conference adjudicators, nationally recognized dance artists Elizabeth Gillaspy, Millicent Johnnie and Christopher K. Morgan.

Fredonia dancers Michelle Kirisits (senior Dance major), Amanda Sanbelmo (senior Education major/Dance minor), Molly Carriero (junior Dance major), Lauren Dewey-Wright (junior Dance/Music major), Jasmine Joyner (junior Dance major), Ilana Lieberman (junior Dance/Acting major), Jasmine Mattar (junior Dance major), Nicole Miller (junior Dance/Communication major), Mercedes Smith (junior Dance major), Rachel Prikazsky (sophomore Dance major) and Rachel Clayback (freshman Dance major) took the stage at Western Michigan University’s Shaw Theatre to dance Associate Professor Sam Kenney’s work “Orion I,” set to music by renowned American contemporary classical composer Philip Glass, costumed by Associate Professor Dixon Reynolds and lit by Professor Todd Proffitt.

Originally created for the Fredonia Dance Ensemble in 2013, and revised for the 2015 Fredonia Dance Ensemble Concert, “Orion I” was hailed by the adjudicators as an “intense, ambitious, and sophisticated” piece that “gave the dancers a work in which they could both shine and be challenged,” and conjured images of “time-lapse photography of space.” The adjudicators also praised the Fredonia dancers’ “fierce” dancing, their impressive spatial awareness, and their ability to work as a true ensemble. As one adjudicator stated: “I felt like I was on the tail of a comet, holding on for dear life!”

Professor Kenney noted, “I am immensely proud of the work that our dancers have done, and to see that work recognized by others is incredibly rewarding. I hope that all of our students will see their success as an inspiration, as proof of what we can accomplish here at Fredonia.”

The conference also marks the third time that Professor Kenney’s choreography has been recognized by inclusion in an American College Dance Association Gala. Her 2008 work, “90% Metaphor,” set to Buffalo native Ani DiFranco’s poem “Self-Evident,” costumed by Fredonia alumnus Christopher Thielking, and lit by Professor Proffitt, earned Fredonia its first gala invitation at the Northeast Conference held at Mercyhurst University in 2010. In 2012, “Embodying,” a work set to music by Canadian industrial/ambient artists Delirium, costumed by Associate Professor Reynolds, and lit by Fredonia alumnus Marcus Berdeguez, was chosen for the gala at the Northeast Conference held at the Pennsylvania State University in State College.

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