SRU Department of Dance hosts first annual Fresh Moves Student Concert, Nov. 12


Dancers performing

Nov. 11, 2020

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University's Department of Dance will host its first annual Fresh Moves Student Concert at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 12 via a livestream on the department's YouTube channel.

The Fresh Moves Student Concert, formerly known as the Fall Concert, is being conducted virtually this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The name change, according to Lindsay Viatori, an assistant professor of dance and the concert's artistic director, was made to "more appropriately represent what the concert is and what it features."

"The concert, just like before, is a really wonderful program highlighting the creative research of our students," said Viatori. "It is a platform for students who have completed prerequisite courses to hone their choreographic skills, to explore new concepts outside of the classroom setting, and to look at the ways they want to work in the field of dance.

"The concert is especially meant to showcase the strong work of choreographers who are still solidifying ideas, or are in a phase of development where we hope they continue to refine their work."

Performances for the show were selected based on auditions. Initially, junior and senior student choreographers submitted letters of intent and, if accepted to move forward in the process, audition other students to participate in their pieces. Group works are limited to six students or fewer, including the choreographer, to ensure social distancing could be maintained in rehearsal areas.

The auditioning process included a group of 29 choreographers and 75 dancers, auditioning for student directors Talynn Holman, a senior dance major from Philadelphia, and Skylar Smith, a junior dance major from Walworth. A total of 15 groups met the requirements to perform in the show.

Student choreographers include:

  • Laura Ardner, a senior dance major from York.
  • Naomi Bates, a senior dual dance and theatre major from Slippery Rock.
  • Anna DeRubeis, a junior dual dance and early childhood education major from Altoona.
  • Sarah Dietsch, a senior dance major from Russell.
  • Anaya Gass, a senior dance major from Vernon, New Jersey.
  • Autumn Hazelet, a senior dance major from Indiana.
  • Kari Hoglund, a senior dance major from Wilmette, Illinois.
  • Bethany Joyce, a senior dance major from Lancaster.
  • Jessica Kintigh, a senior dual dance and history major from Greensburg.
  • Lauren McBarron, a senior dance major from Harrison City.
  • Alanna Rygelski, a senior dual dance and communication major from Glenshaw.
  • Olivia Shirley, a senior dual dance and psychology major from New Kensington.
  • Skylar Smith, a junior dance major from Walworth, New York.
  • Mollie Sweeney, a senior dual dance and early childhood and special education major from Freeport.
  • Bailey Turner, a senior dual dance and psychology major from McClellandtown.

While this year's event will occur virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students will showcase their work through prerecorded segments during the concert.

"The dancers really rose to the occasion as some haven't worked with the combination of dance and technology before," said Viatori. "We are lucky to have someone like Jennifer Keller (SRU professor of dance) who specializes in dance technology, and through coursework, students have been given the means to not only reimagine their work through film, but to also reimagine what the field of dance can be."

Viatori said that many of the students' used the pandemic, and their experiences with it, as inspiration for their pieces.

One such performance will include Smith's "Altered Existence," a solo contemporary modern fusion inspired by "weird" movements and a balance between negative and positive space to communicate themes of experiencing and breaking free from mental illness and associated barriers.

"This piece stems from another solo I had created back when I was a sophomore, but I really wanted to add to it as it meant so much on a personal level," said Smith. "Though, I wanted to zone in more on getting over those mental barriers and add how this year, with the pandemic, really added to the journey."

Admission for the livestream is $4 and available via e-tickets.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lesa Bressanelli | 724.738.2091 |