SRU Dance Department to stage Faculty and Guest Artist concert

Students rehersing for the show

Oct. 15, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - While most students are busy cramming as midterm exams approach, dance majors and their faculty are busy bending and stretching in preparation for an upcoming performance.

Slippery Rock University's Dance Department will host its annual Faculty and Guest Artist concert at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Oct. 21 at Butler County Community College's Succop Theatre.

"Our Faculty and Guest Artist concert is an opportunity to showcase the creative work faculty have been doing, the work they have been choreographing with students, or to be engaged in performances themselves," said Ursula Payne, SRU professor of dance and chair of the Dance Department. "We also commission guest artists throughout the year to work with our students. It's an excellent opportunity for us to showcase our students' performance ability and to have them work with national and internationally known dance professionals."

The concert will feature the work of 45 student dancers, eight guest artists, nine faculty members as well as the Rock Dance Company and the Afro-Colombian Dance Ensemble.

Guest artists include:
• Christine Cobb, a board member for Ballet Western Reserve in Youngstown, and guest choreographer for "Rockin at the Hop."
• Alicia Garrity, a 2011 SRU graduate and dancer for Diavolo Dance Theatre who is the rehearsal director for "Bench."
• Jacques Heim, artistic director for Diavolo Dance and guest choreographer for "Bench."
• Bill Jones, guest choreographer for "D-Man in the Waters: Part 1."
• Jenna Riegel, a dancer for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and guest choreographer for "D-Man in the Waters: Part 1."
• Jennifer Meckley, a 2010 SRU graduate and professor of dance at Ball State University, who is serving as a guest choreographer.
• Chitra Subramanian, a dancer for DC Dance Troupe and guest choreographer for "Tu Naach Tu Naach."

Nora Ambrosio, SRU professor of dance, said the department prides itself on featuring a diverse mix of dance by bringing in outside artists. "Often times when we bring outside artists and companies in, we want to bring in people and projects that can bring diversity to the department and introduce students to people or cultures that they have never experienced before. The differing styles help to expand their experiences and education."

Faculty taking part in the performance include:
• Ambrosio, who will provide rehearsal direction for "D-Man in the Waters."
• Sara Caplan, instructor of dance, who will be acting as a choreographer and performer.
• Jesse Factor, an instructor of dance, who will be acting as a choreographer and performer.
• Andy Hasenpflug, an instructor of dance, who will be performing.
• Heather Hertel, an associate professor of art, who will be performing. 
• Jennifer Keller, a professor of dance, who will be acting as a choreographer.
• Ursula Payne, a professor of dance, who will be performing.
• Jaya Mani, an instructor of dance, who will be acting as a choreographer.
• Melissa Teodoro, an associate professor of dance, who will be acting as a choreographer.
• Lindsay Viatori, an associate professor of dance, who will be be acting as a choreographer and performer.

The concert will include 13 performances, including Rock Dance Company performing "Rockin at the Hop," a swing dance choreographed by Cobb, as audience members enter the auditorium.

The concert will open with "Soar," a multi-disciplinary collaboration directed by Payne, Hertel and Viatori that also includes the work of art student designers Destiny Blackwell, a junior art major from Middlebury Center; Araycia Byers, a junior art major from New Castle; and Maggie Columbus, a senior art major from Oakdale. "It's an exciting project that collaborates the efforts of the art department and dance department in order to show the relationships of movement and pattern in butterflies, travel and space," Hertel said.

The closing number, "D-Man in the Waters," is a critically acclaimed work that celebrates the memory and spirit of dancer Demian Acquavella who died in 1990 from AIDS. Ambrosio, who provides rehearsal direction for the piece, said there are many layers to the social commentary and political statements the piece contains, especially for dancers. "You have to be knowledgeable of the world, because that is what your dances are going to be about."

SRU students taking part in the event as dancers, artists or researchers are:

● Reva Adams, a sophomore dance major from Vero Beach, Florida.
● Vanessa Adams, a sophomore dual major in exercise science and dance from Lower Burrell.
● Kendall Alexander, a junior dual major in dance and psychology from Valley Stream, New York.
● Laura Ardner, a sophomore dance major from York.
● Na'Keisha Barber, a senior dance major from Ulysses.
● Olivia Barner, a sophomore dual major in exercise science and dance from Hermitage.
● Ashley Barron, a junior dual major in health science - public health and dance from Fryburg.
● Miriam Bates, a sophomore dual major in dance and history from Mercer.
● Naomi Bates, a sophomore dual major in dance and theatre from Mercer.
● Destiny Blackwell, a junior art major from Middlebury Center.
● Djenne Boutrin, a senior dual major in dance and social work from Ephrata.
● Cody Brant, a sophomore physics major from Greenville.
● Araycia Byers, a junior art major from New Castle.
● Jean Carrio-Mendez, a senior dance major from Arlington, Texas.
● Maggie Columbus, a senior art major from Oakdale.
● Kylie Criswell, a senior dance major from East Petersburg.
● Sarah Korrin DeBiasi, a senior dance major from Wilkes Barre.
● Sarah Dietsch, a sophomore dance major from Russell.
● Samuel Elizondo, a senior dance major from Watertown, New York.
● Kaitlyn Falce, a sophomore dual major in dance and exercise science from Pittsburgh.
● Rosemary Franklin, a junior dual major in dance and recreational therapy from Milan, Michigan.
● Anaya Gass, a sophomore dance major from Vernon, New Jersey.
● Natalie Goforth, a senior dual major in early childhood education and dance from Avon, Ohio.
● Kathryn Hines, a junior dance major from Cranberry Township.
● Kari Hoglund, a sophomore dance major from Wilmette, Illinois.
● Talynn Holman, a sophomore dual major in dance and management from Philadelphia.
● Victoria Homschek, a senior dual major in dance and theatre from Aliquippa.
● Molly Huey, a senior dual major in dance and communication from Warren.
● Lashonda Johnson, a junior dance major from Williamsport.
● Bethany Joyce, a sophomore dance major from Lancaster.
● Kaitlin Kulasa, a senior dance major from Belle Vernon.
● Victoria Lowrey, a senior dual major in dance and interdisciplinary programs from Harrisville.
● Emilie McElhenie, a senior dual major in dance and recreational therapy from New Cumberland.
● Madeline McKissick, a junior dual major in dance and english writing from Johnstown.
● Olivia Nellis, a senior dance major from Glenshaw.
● Shannon O'Reilly, a senior dance major from Hanover.
● Alyssa Orrico, a senior dual major in dance and exercise science from Buffalo, New York.
● Melitta Parzyszek, a senior dance major from Dillsburg.
● Noelle Potts, a junior dual major in early childhood/special education and dance from Colver.
● Caroline Ready, a senior dance major from Allison Park.
● Alanna Rygelski, a sophomore dual major in dance and communication from Glenshaw.
● Alyssa Schiffer, a junior dance major from Slippery Rock.
● Ashleigh Schuler, a senior dance major from Williamsport.
● Chelsey Shaner, a senior dual major in dance and exercise science from Knox.
● Julia Studer, a senior dance major from Huron, Ohio.
● Nechelle Trawick, a junior dual major in dance and health science - public health from Philadelphia.
● Tiffany Shrom, a junior dance major from Quarryville.
● Cameron Waters, a junior dual major in dance and management from New Castle.

Admission for each show is $15. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling the Smith Student Center information desk at 724.738.4926.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lesa Bressanelli | 724.738.2091 | lnb1009@sru.edu