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Feb. 01, 2013
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

SRU presents 'Forward Momentum'

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University Dance Theatre's "Forward Momentum" concert will include original choreography in a variety of genres and styles by dance majors and an alumna guest artist. The concert is described as "narration in human form, a center stage display of dancers' individuality, diversity and artistic excellence."

The concert will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at The Succup Theater at Butler County Community College. Nine SRU dance majors were chosen for choreography, while 40 students will present the concert.

"'Forward Momentum' celebrates the opportunity to exhibit artistic excellence in choreography and performance," said Ursula Payne, SRU professor of dance and concert artistic director. "Our program is committed to challenging our students to cultivate, experiment and expand their critical awareness within the creative process."

Tara Madsen, a 2004 SRU graduate and dance faculty member at DeSales University, will present "Breaking Ground." Ten SRU dance majors were selected by audition to learn the dance and have spent more than 30 hours with Madsen since April 2012 to perfect its execution.

"'Breaking Ground' uses a rigorous rhythmic structure that requires continuous counting, attention to timing and subtle variations in movement sequences," Payne said. "Pulsating music sets the tone of the work and drives the precision of the ensemble work that builds to explosive physicality. This is a great piece for our students because they get to work with an outstanding alumna and expand their performance abilities."

Sonja Gable, a dance major from Johnstown, said "Breaking Ground" is one of the most thrilling pieces she has learned during her studies at SRU.

"The intensity level of the piece gives me an adrenaline rush and makes it enjoyable and fulfilling to perform for an audience," she said.

Madsen has danced professionally with Tania Isaac Dance and has presented original choreography across the U.S. and in Spain, Guatemala, Italy, Greece and Scotland.

In March, the SRU cast of "Breaking Ground" will travel to Oakland University to participate in the adjudication of the dance at the East-Central Regional American College Dance Festival.

Nine student works will be presented at "Forward Momentum," ranging from solos to small and large ensembles. Josh Pugliese, a dance major from New Kensington, will present the influence of contemporary, social dance forms on codified jazz forms. Nichole Young, a dance major from Parma, Ohio, will present a group dance that also will be performed in New York City in March. Emily Kennard, a dance major from Centerville, Ohio, will present a solo in which she dances with a video projection of herself.

"It was initially quite difficult to map out and conquer dancing with my virtual image, but this idea then became the concept of my piece," Kennard said. "Now that I have worked with video and discovered the many more dimensions it can give a dance, I can't imagine working without it."

Other students who will present choreography are Amber Adams, a mathematics major from Aston; Shelley Collock a dance major from East Haddam, Conn.; Hannah Guidry, a dance major from Oak Point, Texas; Karlee Hoffman, a dance major from West Middlesex, Mary Regney, a dance major from Beaver, and Amanda Tarr, a dance major from Lower Burrell.

Students participated in a rigorous creative process to develop their works starting in September, said Jennifer Keller, SRU professor of dance and production coordinator for the concert.

"Creating, discovering and testing movement choices are a dancer's method of research," Keller said. "The dances presented on the concert represent the individuality and diversity of the choreographers."

Tickets, $5 for SRU students and $10 for the general public, are available at the Information Desk in the Smith Student Center and at the Succup Theater Box Office one hour before each performance.

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.