Kent Dance Ensemble ‘accelerates’ to tomorrow’s first show

Megan Rozsa

The gliding feet of 15 dancers will grace the E. Turner Stump Theatre stage starting tomorrow when the Kent Dance Ensemble performs its first show.

Associate professor of dance Kimberly Karpanty is the artistic director for the show.

“The show is called ‘Excel-eration’ which shows the group moving forward into dance and theater. It also shows the quality of excellence here,” Karpanty said.

She said the dancers are chosen by their ability to perform as a group and each dancer has to be able to contribute to the full ensemble. This will be the group’s 16th main stage concert.

The show features the work of guest artists May O’Donnell, Leanne Schmidt and Leslie Wexler, who are colleagues of Karpanty.

The performance also features the choreography of three other faculty members: Melanie George, Barbara Verlezza and Joan Meggitt.

“We like to bring in artists from the local and national level,” Karpanty said. “This gives the dancers connections for when they get out into the real world.”

Ashely Race, sophomore dance performance major, said the guest artists help her to network.

She said, “With the guest artists we get a sense of the flair and flavor of what we do everyday.”

Alysse Ferranto, senior performance dance major, said KDE makes her last performance memorable.

“We have a large cast this year,” Ferranto said. “It’s filled with really great personalities. Kim brings in talented people and it’s nice to meet different types of people.”

Ferranto said she is proud to be a part of the group’s signature piece, “Suspension,” by O’Donnell.

“We show a wide range of different dance styles throughout the show,” Ferranto said. “It’s a very influential piece.”

Kelly Sammon, senior dance performance major, added that O’Donnell’s piece allows the audience to witness a historical part of how post modern dance came to life.

“She wrote the piece during World War II,” Sammon said. “(It’s called ‘Suspension’) because she was standing on a mountain and saw a plane fly by overhead. When she looked below she saw a boat. She noticed that there was no up or down. She was in suspension.”

Karpanty said the audience will get a sense of the quality of the KDE’s performances.

“There’s music here for everyone,” Karpanty said, “and there’s dance here for everyone. You get to see the quality of the production. These are our top dancers.”

Race added, “If you can’t connect with one piece, it’s OK because you’ll find something to relate to in another.”

IF YOU GO:

  • Kent Dance Ensemble
  • When: April 5-7 at 8 p.m.
  • Where: E. Turner Stump Theatre
  • Cost: $8 (Students), $12 (Adults)

Contact performing arts reporter Megan Rozsa at [email protected]