‘Plenty’ can appreciate new dance production

Erica Crist

2000 Kent State dance performance alumna, Tanya Muncci, and 2005 dance performance alumna, Stephanie Lervoline, rehearse in the Gym Annex Sunday afternoon.

Credit: Steve Schirra

Dance performances usually don’t get a range of reactions from “How dare you put something so personal on stage?” to “Oh my gosh, I have never been able to express how I feel, and that is it.”

But when “Plenty: Surviving Fear and Depression” premiered in full-length form in 2003, Kimberly Karpanty said those were comments made by audience members regarding her original dance production.

“The whole work is a little different for someone who doesn’t go to the theater very often,” Karpanty said. “It’s a piece that advocates for mental health, clinical depression and anxiety as a medical illness.”

“Plenty: Surviving Fear and Depression” will be featured this weekend by the Travesty Dance Group at the Cleveland Public Theatre.

Karpanty, Rebecca Malcolm-Naib and Karen Stokes formed the Travesty Dance Group when they taught at the university together during the 1996-1997 school year.

“We liked working together, and we admired each other’s work, although it is very different in style and context,” Karpanty said. “We decided we wanted to create a small, modern, professional company so that we had an outlet other than our students.”

The national cast joining the Travesty Dance Group will include six Kent State students: Meagan Dalton, Allison DeVane, Kent Lucas, Kelly Sammon and Jennifer Woods.

“My contribution is to show the audience my individual struggle, although we’re all doing the same movements,” said Lucas, junior dance performance major.

Community members will also be taking part in this piece. Family members will stand up and speak about how the disease affects more than just the person with the diagnosis, Karpanty said.

In addition to those personal readings, there will also be video clips and readings of R.C. Gardner poetry by the dancers.

“It’s a new experience for me,” said Dalton, junior dance performance major. “As dancers, we’re trained to use our bodies, and when we’re asked to read text it can be uncomfortable.”

Overall, Karpanty said that the show puts a positive spin on the fact that you can still treat something that isn’t curable.

“If I reach one person who recognizes symptoms enough to get early treatment or to get a diagnosis,” Karpanty said, “or if I inspire one family member or loved one to hang in there, then it’s worth it.”

After the performance on Saturday night, Karpanty and a nurse will be available to speak with audience members.

In addition to the performance itself, Karpanty said there will be an exhibit of photographs right next door. “Nothing to Hide: Mental Illness in the Family” will be in a free window display at the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization’s Kennedy Building.

The Travesty Dance Group has been on campus all week teaching technique classes and choreography workshops to students in the School of Theatre and Dance.

“It’s neat to work with people outside of Kent who are at a professional level,” said DeVane, junior dance performance major.

Woods, senior dance education major, said she thinks it’s good for dancers to experience different styles of movement and teaching.

“Considering some dance students may only have two teachers all year, we can learn a lot from them,” she said.

Contact performing arts reporter Erica Crist at [email protected].




ƒ-S 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. on Sunday

ƒ-S At the Cleveland Public Theater/ Gordon Square

ƒ-S For tickets visit cptonline.org or call the box office at (216) 631-2727 ext. 501

ƒ-S $17 for general admission, $10 for students and senior citizens with ID