This February, 16 dance majors from the Keene State College Theatre and Dance Department joined 500 students from 30 colleges attending this year’s American College Dance Association New England Conference at Boston University. The KSC dancers received significant recognition and each returned to campus inspired and invigorated. Gabriella Pacheco (’14) and Alexander Davis (’14) each presented their choreography in concerts that were adjudicated by three nationally recognized choreographers. Pacheco, Davis, and their dancers received valuable critical assessment and much praise from the three adjudicators.
Davis’ dance “Slight Displacement,” performed by Gabby Pacheco, Kendall Platenyk (’14), Meghan Quinn (’13), and Samantha Sampaio (’13), was selected from 45 adjudicated pieces to be produced in the conference’s closing Gala Concert—a significant recognition of the talent of the performers and the choreographer. This dance also received Honorable Mention as an alternate selection for the 2014 National Dance Festival to be held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
“The most memorable moment from my time at this year’s ACDFA New England Conference was having the opportunity to present a fully produced dance work to a group of fellow dance students and professionals,” Davis said. “Being able to generate discussion and receive feedback regarding my choreography and the work of others provided moments of helpful constructive commentary. I look forward to continuing making work and applying the feedback I received.”
KSC hosted this annual dance conference in 1988 and again in 2011. The American College Dance Association (ACDA, formerly ACDFA) was formed in 1971 to support and promote excellence in college dance. These conferences give college dancers an opportunity to have their works adjudicated and critiqued by established professionals; share scholarship; provide professional classes, workshops, and performing experiences as well as other opportunities for interaction among all participants; provide students the opportunity to perform outside their own academic setting and be exposed to the diversity of the national college dance world; and build a network of communication within the college dance community and between the college and the professional dance world. The conference also provides regional and national visibility for college-trained choreographers and performers.
“ACDFA is an opportunity for me to have as many new dance experiences as possible,” Platnyk explained. “It is a wonderful thing to be grouped together with dancers from all around New England and take such dance classes as Musical Theater and Haitian that are usually not an option in my everyday life. I especially enjoyed having another chance to perform with a new audience and hearing useful feedback that can help me as a performer.”
The next time you think you can’t do something, think of the story of Jennifer McIntosh. Jennifer, a junior who is disabled, came to KSC from the Crotched Mountain School in Greenfield, NH. She is a person who uses a wheelchair, and uses an ECO augmentative and alternative communication device (an eye-scanning typepad that she affectionately refers to as “Pinky”) to communicate.
Jennifer had helped establish an adaptive dance program while she was at Crotched Mountain, and when she heard about the KSC Theater and Dance Department’s class, Dance as a Way of Knowing, she wanted to sign up. Continue reading Jennifer MacIntosh Knows No Limits→
Four KSC Theatre and Dance Design students recently presented their work at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and received great feedback from a panel of professional experts, who praised their designs. Alexandra Vendt, lighting designer for Agnes of God; Gary Beisaw, props designer for The Rocky Horror Show; and Michael Portrie, sound designer for The Rocky Horror Show, were nominated as finalist.
Gary Beisaw won the S.P.A.M. Award for excellence in stage properties for his design for The Rocky Horror Show.
Alexandra Vendt won the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Award for excellence in design-technology for her lighting design for Agnes of God.
Riley Ahern is one of 36 semifinalists (out of 240 students) at the KCACTF.
William Seigh, professor of dance, received the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Teacher Award during the New Student Convocation ceremonies that a kicked off the fall semester on August 25. The Distinguished Teacher Award recognizes excellence in teaching, encouragement of independent thinking, rapport with students, and effective student advising, and Prof. Seigh is the 41st recipient of this distinctive honor.
Prof. Seigh’s impact on his students, the Theatre & Dance Department, and the campus, has been profound, as the many heartfelt letters from alumni, students, and faculty supporting his nomination for the award attest. He has a rare gift of motivating his students to find the excellence within themselves. Becky Midler ’10 remembered that, as a freshman, a knee injury caused her to give up her dream of becoming a dancer—until she met William Seigh. “He told me I can do anything; if my heart was in it, I could move past the injury. Following our conversation, he enrolled me in my first dance class in more than six months. … He worked with me and kept pushing me to reach my goals.”
Joshua Midget ’07 said that “rehearsals with William were rehearsals for life,” and Valerie Snowdon ’05 explained that “William does not simply teach dance; he creates critically thinking, confident, and motivated young citizens.” “With thorough knowledge of his field and enthusiastic diligence,” noted Shawn Ahern ’10, “William pushes his students far beyond their boundaries and guides them as they explore the unknown.”
What’s the secret to such profound teaching and influence? The inspiring acceptance speech that Prof. Seigh gave during convocation offers insight into his approach and is well worth reading.
Loyal Newsline readers will already have read about how Google hired the world-famous dance troupe, Pilobolus, featuring KSC alum Shawn Ahern ’10, to create a music video to showcase the technology in its new browser, Chrome. Well, the video was such a success that it was featured last night (Aug 10) on America’s Got Talent. If you missed the show, you can watch it online and see how Shawn and the gang created some of those amazing effects.
It was just a year ago that newly minted alum Shawn Ahern ’10 tucked his diploma and his contract with the world-renowned dance troupe Pilobolus into his suitcase and leapt into the world of professional dance.
Talk about opportunity knocking! A year later, internet giant Google searches for the perfect medium to showcase the cutting-edge technology in its new web browser, Chrome, and guess what they come up with? You got it—a video of Pilobolus’ latest edgy visual brilliance, featuring KSC’s own Shawn Ahern.
You can watch the video on YouTube (including a fun look behind the scenes, where you’ll see more of Shawn), but, since Google is using it to highlight its latest browser technology, you’ll need to watch it on Google Chrome for the maximum experience (download Google Chrome, and then, from Chrome, visit this link: www.allisnotlo.st/index_en.html). That includes inviting you to type in a message, which the Pilobolus gang will spell out at the end of the video. Something like this: Those are the bottoms of the dancers’ feet you’re seeing. Be prepared to be amazed—and send Shawn a comment.