Jan. 24, 2012
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
‘Movement Speaks’ dance concert ‘Gets There’
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Ten Slippery Rock University dance majors are the only college dancers in the country selected to present “Getting There,” an original choreography by Billy Siegenfeld, founding director of the Jump Rhythm Project in Chicago. Students will present the dance during the University’s “Movement Speaks” winter dance concert Feb. 9-11 in Miller Auditorium.
Also on the program are 11 student works in modern, jazz and tap and a student performance of “before dawn” by Kristin Hapke, former SRU dance instructor.
Siegenfeld coached the SRU dancers, who were selected by audition, for 10 hours. Students also spent more than 70 hours rehearsing with two of the company’s principal dancers, Heidi Malnar and Jordan Kahl. Students worked on their jump rhythm technique, a form of movement Siegenfield developed that transforms the dancing body into an expressive percussion instrument.
“This work is demanding and difficult to master the nuances, but the SRU dancers worked extremely hard, and they really get it,” said Thom Cobb, SRU professor of dance who rehearsed the dance with students since last spring. “SRU is the only University in the country to have this work in repertory and the only student company to be allowed to perform both sections of the dance. We are truly honored and privileged to present ‘Getting There.’”
Nicole Monville, a dance major from Smoketown, said she has started to incorporate Siegenfeld’s technique into her other dance courses at SRU.
“Along with the technique gained, we have developed what we call our ‘jump rhythm jazz project family,’” she said. “Rehearsals are a place not only about preparing for a show but also about being a support system. This experience has been priceless.”
Hapke taught dance at SRU last year and is returning to provide final coaching and to set the lights for “before dawn.”
Known for rigorous work that investigates instinct and impulse, Hapke said she utilizes improvisation to challenge the mind and body through twisted pathways and unstable terrain. She said improvisation leads her to a “a state of readiness and immediate response in performance.”
Andy Hasenpflug, dance department musician, will provide live vocals and instrumentation during the “Before Dawn” performance.
All 11 of the student choreographers participated in a rigorous creative process to develop their works starting last September.
“Creating, discovering and testing movement choices are a dancer’s method of research,” said Jennifer Keller, assistant professor of dance. “ The dances presented in the concert represent the individuality and diversity of the choreographers and range in structure from solos to duets to large ensembles.
“Movement Speaks celebrates the opportunity to exhibit artistic excellence in choreography and performance,” said Ursula Payne, professor of dance.
The student choreographers for “Movement Speaks” are dance majors Zach Bergfelt of Baden; Brennen Cooper of Clarendon; Samantha Corvino of East Greenbush, N.Y.; Kaitlyn Dye of Frostburg, Md.; Emily Kennard of Centerville, Ohio; Amanda Peterson of Edinburg; Lexi Siriniakis of Westminster, Md; Amanda Tarr of Lower Burrell; Corinne Teklitz of Twinsburg, Ohio; Krysta White of New Castle and Elizabeth Zinni of Fredonia, NY.
Bergfelt and Dye will present modern solos, and Corvino will present a tap solo. White has two pieces on the program, one a tongue-in-cheek jazz spoof of the Bee Gees, and the other an innovative look at dancers and live camera work from three angles. Kennard also presents a dance combining live dancers and a projected image with a video she filmed and edited. Cooper and Shewbridge will present a duet, and Zinni and Tarr will present modern group works. Sirinakis and Peterson will add jazz ensembles to the diverse program.
Zinni will perform in “Getting There” along with dance majors Chelle Blankenship of Kane; Melanie Calhoun of Stafford Va.; Sonja Gable of Johnstown; Hannah Guidry of Oak Point, Texas; Nicole Monville of Smoketown; Leah Nobers of McMurray; Natalie Osborne of Strongsville, Ohio; Ariel Stanton-Pinkert of Annapolis, Md.; and Alyssa McIntyre of Glenmore.
The concert begins each night at 7:30 p.m. in Miller Auditorium. Tickets are $10 general and $5 students and can be purchased at the University Union Information Desk or by calling 724.738.4926. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.