SRU Department of Dance hosts inaugural Emerging Choreographers Student Concert


Dancers performing

Nov. 17, 2020

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University's Department of Dance will host its inaugural Emerging Choreographers Student Concert, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 18 via a livestream on the department's YouTube channel.

The Emerging Choreographers Student Concert, formerly known as the Winter 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.

"This concert particularly showcases the strong work of choreographers who have deeply developed, refined and edited their pieces; these really are final projects for these students."

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:

  • Reva Adams, a senior dance major from Vero Beach, Florida.
  • Olivia Barner, a senior dual dance and exercise science major from Hermitage.
  • 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.
  • Kaitlyn Falce, a senior dual major in dance and exercise science from Pittsburgh.
  • Isabel Farr, a junior dance major from Avon Lake, Ohio.
  • Kari Hoglund, a senior dance major from Wilmette, Illinois.
  • Bethany Joyce, a senior dance major from Lancaster.
  • Brenna Kloes, a senior dual dance and early childhood and special education major from Sarver.
  • Lauren McBarron, a senior dance major from Harrison City.
  • Kelvin Rodriguez, a junior dance major from York.
  • Alanna Rygelski, a senior dual dance and communication major from Glenshaw.
  • Riley Smith, a senior dual dance and business undeclared major from Monroeville.
  • Mollie Sweeney, a senior dual dance and early childhood and special education major from Freeport.
  • Kaitlin Yankovich, a junior dance major from Ridgway.

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."

One performance will include Bates' "EyeSeaBliss," a gestural modern dance piece adapted to film in collaboration with Hoglund, who served as the cinematographer and editor, and Chase Uram, a senior music major from Renfrew, who assisted with choreography and music. The dance will be based off an unpublished poem that Bates wrote, reflecting on their feelings of contentment and happiness from their own lived experiences.

"I was thinking a lot about contentment versus happiness and what to keep in life," said Bates. "Happiness comes and goes, but contemptment sustains you through those ups and downs of life. It was all those different feelings and images, especially associated with happiness, that drove a lot of the movements and gestures in the performance."

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Lesa Bressanelli | 724.738.2091 |