Kent State Student Dance Festival

Megan Rozsa

When: Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday 2 p.m.

Where: Wright Curtis Theatre, Music and Speech Center

How much: $8 (students), $12 (non-students)

Each year, the School of Theatre and Dance runs an all-student produced show for Kent State, featuring choreography by dance students.

Melanie George, assistant professor of dance, oversees the Student Dance Festival as the main faculty director.

“Everything is controlled by students from the choreography to the costumes and music,” George said. “It’s like one big collection of personalities saying ‘here we are.'”

The show will feature 13 different performances ranging from African-influenced pieces to ballet-influenced modern dance.

“This is a great way for students to put their learning into action,” George said. “They’re all assigned a creative adviser to help them out and to bounce ideas off of.”

Leah Brady, junior dance performance major, is the student director of the program. George chose her to take charge of the student choreographers.

“It’s a challenge to make a dance,” Brady said with a laugh. “Creating it isn’t my strong point. We all definitely feel the stress.”

Jacqueline Herwig, junior dance performance major, agreed that the performance is stressful, but she said it’s also fun.

“We get a chance to choreograph,” Herwig said. “In my case, I choreograph and perform. It’s much different than just going out to perform.”

Herwig said that choreographing has given her a chance to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes of dancing.

“I’ve learned what to do and what not to do,” she said. “I’ve learned organizing skills, how to work with people, how to be in charge and what time to set aside. But it’s all worth it in the end.”

Brady said there are three to five dancers in each group. Each one changes its routine to fit better to the music or to experiment with new movements.

Brady said each dance group is required to have a 3 to 5 minute piece.

“It (directing) gives us a feel for this whole thing,” Brady said. “It gives us an opportunity to see what’s on the other side of the fence.”

Brady said each group is satisfied with what they’ve created but they are still constantly changing and finding different things to do.

The Student Dance Festival was originally used as an inaugural event for the opening of the Wright Curtis Theatre. George said the program started around 1983 or 1984.

George said the show has sold out quickly in past years.

“You have 13 opportunities to have an adventurous relationship with dance,” George said. “These students are the future of dance.”

Contact performing arts reporter Megan Rozsa at [email protected].