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Oct. 05, 2012
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

SRU dance faculty stage BC3 concert

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Modern and world dance choreography, including a fusion of classical Indian with tap, will be presented during the Slippery Rock University Department of Dance Faculty and Guest Artist Concert at 2 and 7 p.m., Oct. 21, at Butler County Community College's Succop Theater.

The student Rock Dance Co. will also perform, giving attendees an opportunity to experience the student dance company's dynamic repertoire.

"It is the first time that Slippery Rock University's dance department has presented a concert at BC3," said Nola Nolen-Holland, SRU assistant professor of dance. "It gives Butler a chance to see our faculty and students in performance, because the Slippery Rock community already knows we have a stellar dance community."

Jaya Mani, instructor of dance, created the genre-defying "East West Fusion." The fusion blends Indian and tap dance moves, which Nolen-Holland said would feature heavy rhythm elements.

"Like tap, Indian classical dance is very rhythmic," she said. "Her classical dancers also create barefoot rhythms, so there are parallels to tap. The similarity is both styles feature rhythm."

Jennifer Keller, SRU professor of dance, created and will perform "Small Dance." The choreography is a collaboration with Andrew Hasenpflug, a musician for the dance department. He will provide live keyboards, vocals and percussion.

Keller said the duo would also perform in the lobby of the theatre as attendees file to their seats. Their performance on the main stage will be "structured improvisation," she said. "Both Andy and I love improv, and we love to improv together."

Ursula Payne, professor of dance, will perform her choreography "I Will Bend, But I Will Not Break."

Nora Ambrosio, professor of dance, created "Anywhere But Here," which will be performed by dance majors Soyna Gable of Johnston, Natalie Osborne of Strongsville, Ohio, and Mary Regney of Beaver, and "I Go Higher," a duet presented by Osborne and Gable.

Mellisa Teodoro, assistant professor of dance, will present "Pilanderas."

The concert will also showcase choreography by Tara Madsen Robbins, a 2008 SRU dance graduate. She formed "Breaking Ground," which will be presented by 10 students.

The SRU Rock Dance Co. will offer "Get Happy," produced by Chris Saunders, a Pittsburgh-based choreographer.

"It's really a fusion of musical theatre and concert dance," Saunders said. "It has a storyline that explores one person's journey toward happiness. It has a real Broadway feel to it. It's a very energetic dance, and it is very comprehensive. It's made for mass-market appeal."

Saunders said he rehearsed the choreography with SRU dance majors and was impressed by their grasp of the piece.

"The company did a fantastic job in the execution of the dance," he said. "I had a wonderful time and was very impressed with the education students are getting. It feels like this is really a show stopper of a number."

Rock Dance Co., under the direction of Keller, performs at local schools, community events and civic meetings. "Get Happy" was made possible by a Grant for Student Scholarly, Creative, Civic or Research Projects, obtained by Emily Kenard, a dance from Centerville, Ohio.

Others performing in the show include dance majors Samantha Baker of Conway, Hannah Guidry of Oak Point, Texas, Abigail Hewitt of Indiana, Pa., Alyssa McIntyre of Glenmoore, Erin McKenna of Colchester, Ct., Ryan McMullen of Philadelphia, Leah Nobers of McMurry and Josh Pugliese of New Kensington. Other performing students include Ashley Parker, a psychology major from Erie, Taylor Pearson, an elementary education major from Seven Valleys, Emily Kurtik, an elementary education major from Lower Burrell and Karlee Hoffman, a secondary education major from West Middlesex.

Tickets, $5 for SRU students and $10 for the general public, are available at the Student Information Desk at the Smith Student Center or 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.