Dance festival to showcase students’ choreography work

Meredith Compton

Thirteen dance students will see their sweat and hard work come to a culmination this weekend.

The Student Dance Festival begins tomorrow in Wright-Curtis Theatre in the Music and Speech Building. The festival runs at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $12 for adults; $10 for seniors, faculty and staff; and $8 for students.

The festival will feature pieces choreographed by junior dance majors. All juniors within the major are required to choreograph one piece for this concert in order to graduate.

Normally there are only eight students that choreograph pieces, but the junior class is larger this year. This larger class is because of an increased volume in the number of dance students, said Barbara Verlezza, faculty director of the festival and assistant professor of dance.

This is the largest Student Dance Festival in Kent State’s history. The production is titled “Souls en Route,” which refers to each student’s search to find their uniqueness as choreographers.

“We’re looking for identities,” said Megan McCrary, senior dance major and student director of the festival. “We’re searching for who we are as choreographers.”

Each piece is three to five minutes long and features dancers from Kent State’s dance classes. The shorter pieces allow for a greater variety, McCrary said.

“Our ideas, because we’re students, are newer, rawer,” she said.

These “raw” ideas can be seen in numerous pieces in the festival. Two pieces feature the use of props, two are performed to jazz music, one is based on a kaleidoscope and one symbolizes shadows.

Some of the pieces feature different types of music as well. The piece symbolizing shadows uses just percussion and vocals, while another piece uses simply a heartbeat.

Along with the modern music, the dancing will be modern as well.

“The dancing is more contemporary, not classical,” McCrary said.

The main idea behind the festival is to help the students learn skills they will need in their careers, Verlezza said.

“The performance is their opportunity to learn all aspects (of a dance concert),” she said.

Contact performing arts reporter Meredith Compton at [email protected].