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Nov. 30, 2012
CONTACT: K. E. Schwab

Student-faculty research spawns concert

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Jennifer Keller, Slippery Rock University professor of dance, is directing a faculty-student research grant project titled "Investigating Creative Uses of Technology Through Choreography" and will use the project as the basis for a four-performance dance concert series Dec. 1-2.

The concerts will be offered at 7 and 9 p.m., Dec. 1, and at 2 and 4 p.m., Dec. 2, in the Morrow Field House Dance Studio. The suggested donation is $2.

The program will feature the work of professional choreographer Pearlann Porter, creator of "The Pillow Project."

Three of Porter's professional dancers will be part of the SRU performance.

"The one-hour show has video accompaniment throughout the entire performance. Our students have not only learned the choreography, but also designed four sections of the video." Keller said.

"The Pillow Project's 'Twenty Eight-Four,' is an original full-length work inspired by the anthems of Orwell's seminal novel '1984,' juxtaposed by the philosophical work of the late Carl Sagan. This original installation is an anthology of interwoven abstractions of our precarious place in modern society, from a distracted state of media over-saturation to a disconnected existence in isolation. The increasing need to connect and understand in a time of detachment and empty information," Porter said.

The work debuted at The Space Upstairs in 2008.

Since 2004, Porter's work with The Pillow Project has been an ongoing experiment in creating freejazz: A spontaneous musicality played with the motion of a highly articulate, organic physicality. Inspired by concepts in method acting, combined with the philosophical and emotional origins of early American jazz music, her ideas in jazz and performance are reactions to the commercialism, technical and presentation constraints of contemporary Western dance; a way to challenge the common perceptions of what is 'dance', who is a 'dancer' and where dance is found in the zeitgeist.

In the past decade, she has created original work for Dance Alloy Theater, The August Wilson Dance Ensemble, LABCO Dance, Xpressions Contemporary Dance Company, Dance Conservatory of Pittsburgh, The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Slippery Rock University.

From 2000-2012, she was a member of the Point Park University dance faculty. She earned her bachelor of fine arts degree in dance from PPU and in 2006 founded The Space Upstairs, a warehouse performance-gallery loft located above Construction Junction in Pittsburgh's East End

She serves as a full-time resident artist at The Space Upstairs, as well as the host and creator of the Second Saturdays hosted at the site. Dance Magazine named her as one of the "25 To Watch in 2010."

Participating SRU dance majors are:

Nicole Altiere, Levittown; Rebecca Burcher, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Jessica Clevenger, Saint Thomas; Alyssa Cubellis, Wexford; Heather Cumer and Rachel Wesling, Pittsburgh; Cindi James, Mercer; Lauren McKee, Big Run; Ryan McMullen, Philadelphia; Nicole Monville, Smoketown; Ashlee Parker, Erie; Michelle Russ, Frostburg, Md.; Chalice Streitman, Butler; and Nichole Young, Parma, Ohio.

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.