Dance department gets ready for upcoming anniversary performance

The final touches are being placed on the dance department’s upcoming 15th anniversary concert.

Dr. Karen Clemente, head of the dance department, said that the concert, which will be held April 29 and 30, will consist of a mixture of dance works, mainly modern and jazz.

“Most are connected to dancing our stories, dancing our faith journeys,” Clemente said, adding that modern dance “lends itself to that.”

“Every dance is a new story in a way,” she said.

The participating students seem to be excited about the concert and are very passionate about the dance department.

Dance minor senior Sarah Fazel said that she hopes this concert will “shock everybody and show them that we’re legitimate dancers.”

“Everyone thinks that Christian dancers won’t be that great, but I hope that everyone will finally see that we’re not second-rate,” Fazel said, insisting that Eastern’s dance program is on par with any secular school.

Senior Nichole Perry agrees.

“Dance is a very valid art form and Christian activity, as an academic subject and form of communication and faith sharing,” she said.

The program promises to be diverse with pieces choreographed by faculty and students. Fazel will be involved in four pieces herself, one of them being a jazz piece entitled “Blackbird,” inspired by Bob Fossey and his style of dance.

Perry has choreographed a senior project piece for the concert, which she described as “a long piece involved with a lot of people,” ranging from young children to middle-aged adults.

“It’s about going through life with faith and how it changes over time,” Perry said.

She said that her dance celebrates “embracing that childlike faith and trusting that God will work everything out for the best.”

As for the faculty pieces, Dr. Joselli Deans will be reconstructing a dance titled “Beatitudes,” which was first performed in the fall of 2001 and for commencement in spring of 2002. She has invited back as many alumni as possible and will be mixing them with current students for the performance.

Clemente will also be performing with her sacred dance group to a poem written by Dr. Nancy Thomas in tribute to the dance department’s 15 years of work. Clemente stressed that she considers the poem to be “in celebration of all the dancers.”

Dr. Saleana Pettaway, who teaches Global Dance Forms: African Dance and jazz technique, will also be performing with her class.

“I’m very excited,” Perry said, “and everyone should come.”

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