School of Theatre and Dance presents faculty show

Cameron Gorman

This past weekend, Kent State’s School of Theatre and Dance presented its 2015 faculty show in the E. Turner Stump Theatre.

The show, “Dance ‘15: Moving Parts,” premiered several faculty choreographed pieces, including Falter, choreographed by the show’s artistic director Joan Meggitt, who doubles as an assistant professor of dance.

“Waiting for Yellow,” a piece depicting the pursuit and search for happiness, also debuted and was choreographed by faculty member Tanya Mucci.

Peripheral Moments,” which included audio poetry, was choreographed by associate professor Jeffrey Mark Rockland and “Crash/Ride,” a jazz piece inspired by drumming and drum rhythm, was choreographed by associate professor Kimberly Karpanty.

“You choreograph the best about something that you know, and when you want to choreograph about your own experience and your dancers maybe have not had that experience,” Karpanty said. “It is part of our job to help them find something in their own lives that they can relate that to.”

Each dance provided a different experience to the audience and appealed to a different sentiment and identity.

“Empty Roads,” depicting loss of home and country and choreographed by associate professor Barbara Allegra Verlezza, was haunting in its choice of the sound of wind in preference over the complete use of music.

“The germ of what (the choreography) comes from is autobiographical,” Verzella said. “When it’s not, it’s disingenuous. Even the most abstract, minimal, non-narrative pieces — that’s a choice. It should come from the choreographer.”

The show also included “Dancin’ Fosse,” a tribute to the iconic American choreographer Bob Fosse and his work. The number was a collaboration between musical theater and dance students, and was choreographed by Maryann Black, assistant professor of dance.

“It’s very interesting seeing the interplay between the world of theater and the world of dance, because as a musical theater major, (we’re) train(ed) in dance to use that as part of our storytelling,” said Connor Reese, a senior theatre studies major and performer. “It’s interesting seeing how you can take the skills you learn in one medium and blend it and apply it to another.”

Behind the scenes, students like Sophia Phillips, a freshman theatre studies major and student lighting designer, devoted time to making the vision of the production a reality.

“My design is lighting design, but as a designer, I have worked closely with costume,” Phillips said. “Even in my own piece, (in which costumes were) designed by Ryan Rankin — he talked about what he was going to use, down to the chemical, and how it would affect me, and he did it, it went all wrong. But, you know, you roll with it. You work with it. It’s art. Don’t worry about it.”

The students involved with the production, dancers and designers alike, worked long and strenuous hours on the show, often while balancing the schedules of full-time students. Few, however, seemed to mind the burden.

“Being a student dancer really takes up a lot of our time here at the university, but in a very good way,” said junior dance major Madison DeLong, who also danced in the show. “We all pretty much live here. We’re always here, but a lot of friendships come out of that.”

Cameron Gorman is a general assignment reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].