West Virginia University students and faculty are hard at work rehearsing an eclectic and electric evening of choreography with the annual ‘Dance Now!’ concert.
The event gives students in WVU’s dance program the opportunity to see their own works receive a full staging, to collaborate with guest choreographers, and to experience the work of guest ensembles. The concerts will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4-6, in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre in the Creative Arts Center.
According to Yoav Kaddar, director of the dance program in WVU’s School of Theatre & Dance, this year’s concert will feature 28 students from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s school program performing George Balanchine’s “Serenade.”
Meredith Dincolo of Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago has choreographed an original piece for the concert. According to Kaddar, “Bringing in a guest choreographer gives our dancers the opportunity to work with professionals and make connections.”
According to Kathleen Sweat, a dance major from Cross Lanes, W.Va., working with a guest artist is “a really special experience. You learn to pay close attention to what they ask for and how to be adaptable. That’s very important in the dance field in order to get hired, and to be easy to work with all around.”
The process of learning the dance was intense. “There were days when some of us were in the studio for eight hours,” Sweat said. “It’s awesome because it gives you a taste of what it’s like to be in a professional environment and what a ‘work day’ would be like.”
The concert will also feature three works by WVU faculty and six pieces choreographed by students, chosen from the 13 presented in the fall “Celebration of Dance” concert.
One of those pieces is by Kelsey McKinney, a dance and Spanish major from Cleveland. “It really is such an honor for me to be chosen as a featured choreographer,” she said. “There’s nothing like watching your choreography grow and turn into something so much bigger and better than anything you could have imagined.”
McKinney’s piece features eight dancers, whom she describes as “extremely talented and motivated individuals, amazing dancers and people, inside and out.”
Her piece is modern dance that emphasizes simple patterns and shapes. Her brother, a composer and musician out of Ann Arbor, Mich., composed music especially for the piece.
In addition to their fellow dancers, Kaddar noted that the students also get the opportunity to work with a team of designers to create a fully realized stage performance, enhancing the professional experience for them.
The concert will also feature younger performers from Morgantown’s Pizzazz Dance Academy.
For tickets and information, please contact the WVU Box Office at 304-293-SHOW.
CONTACT: David Welsh, WVU College of Creative Arts
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