Fredonia Dance Ensemble concert to feature works by alumni

Doug Osborne-Coy
Dancers on stage performing

Dancers perform Briana Kelly’s work titled “Resilience,” during a rehearsal for Fredonia Dance Ensemble 2024.

Works created by two Dance alumni will be among the many highlights of the 2024 Fredonia Dance Ensemble concert.

Fredonia Dance Ensemble 2024 opens on Friday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Robert W. Marvel Theatre and continues with performances at 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 23.

Tickets are available online and in person at the Fredonia Ticket Office or by phone at (716) 673-3501. The ticket office is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Twenty-four student dancers have been cast in the concert and numerous students are involved on the production staff and crew.

“For the first time in FDE history, we are featuring the work of two of our B.F.A. Dance alumni, Anna Fitzpatrick (2020) and Charles Fuller (2023),” said Director Sam Kenney, who is a professor of Dance.

Fitzpatrick is a dance educator in Western New York. After earning her B.F.A. in Dance at Fredonia, she said she fell in love with the art of teaching. This is her third year actively using her degree as a tool to help students succeed in their technique, artistry, and creative spirit in dance studios surrounding Western New York.

Fuller started his dance training at The Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts under Nicole Jones and Alexandra Swonder, where he trained in contemporary, with supplemental jazz dance training. He earned his B.F.A. in Dance and B.S. in Exercise Science from Fredonia in 2023. He trained in contemporary and jazz dance while at Fredonia.

Fredonia Dance Ensemble 2024 will also feature two works of dance fusion – one of which was created by another Fredonia graduate.

“Audiences will also have the opportunity to see Briana Kelly’s ‘Resilience,’ which blends contemporary dance with Irish dance, and a new work by Nitya Seshadri Vedantam, which explores the fusion of contemporary dance with Classical Indian form and Bollywood sensibilities,” Kenney said.

Kelly is a multidisciplinary artist and dance educator in Buffalo who earned her B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from Fredonia and an M.F.A. in Choreography and Performance from SUNY Brockport. Kelly is an Adjunct Lecturer of Dance at Fredonia, where she teaches various technique and theory classes each semester.

Vedantam is a performer, teacher and choreographer of the Indian Classical dance Bharatanatyam. She holds a diploma in Bharatanatyam from Kalakshetra, an M.F.A. in Dance from Hyderabad Central University, and an M.F.A. in Dance from the State University at Buffalo. She is an empaneled artiste of the Broadcasting Ministry of India.

Vedantam’s research explores the mind-body connection through dance and the symbiotic links between Bharatanatyam and Modern dance, gender constructs as foregrounding patriarchy and the potential of dance as a site to confirm, subvert, challenge and re-conceptualize these gender norms.

Rounding out the concert will be a works by faculty member Angela McDonough DiFiore and guest artist Tennille Lambert.

“We are also thrilled to welcome the work of Tennille Lambert to this year's concert,” Kenney said. “Her piece, ‘This Won't Last Long,’ was created in the summer of 2023 in New York City. Fredonia faculty member Angela McDonough DiFiore was part of the work's original cast and she did the work of staging the dance on Fredonia students.”

Lambert’s choreographic work has been presented at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Dance Theatre Workshop, Old Town Temecula Theater, Galapagos Art Space, Movement Research, The Merce Cunningham Studio, The Cool New York Dance Festival, The Tank NYC, and at the West End Theater.

As a whole, Fredonia Dance Ensemble 2024 will offer many memorable moments for audience members.

“Each member of our audience will, inevitably, experience the concert in a unique and singular way,” Kenney said. “I hope that each of them will find something that challenges them, entertains them, makes them think, or makes them feel something. If we can accomplish that, then the concert will have been a success.”

Fredonia Dance Ensemble 2024 is presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance as part of the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series and the 2023-24 Lake Shore Savings Season at Rockefeller Arts Center, through the Fredonia College Foundation.

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