Dance Department performs piece at National Gala

Last semester, the dance department hosted Deep in December, a collection of dance pieces choreographed and performed by Eastern faculty and students.

One of these pieces, “Full Woman,” was co-choreographed by head of the dance department Dr. Karen Clemente and her colleagues Melinda Tatum Kaiser and Lisa Lovelace. The piece was a reproduction of a dance originally performed in 1995.

On March 9, “Full Woman” appeared again, this time at the American College Dance Festival Association Northeast Gala at Penn State.

“Full Woman” was chosen out of 48 dances as one of the top 11 by a panel of three adjudicators, earning a spot in the Gala performance.

“One of the adjudicators said it was a very satisfying piece,” Clemente said.

The purpose of ACDFA is, according to its Web site, “to support and promote the wealth of talent and creativity that is prominent throughout college and university dance departments.”

ACDFA holds numerous regional festivals during March, hosting panels and master classes for all dancers, from beginners to veterans.

They also allow schools to present dances that will be judged by the panel for competition.

“We wanted to go and hold our own out there,” Clemente said.

Eastern sent 17 students and four dance department staff members to ACDFA, including Clemente, Dr. Joselli Deans, Janine Bryant and Saleana Pettaway. Clemente, Deans and Bryant all taught classes at the ACDFA.

First-year Janelly Mora was one of the students selected to go on the trip. “It was great to see so many styles of dancing,” she said.

“Full Woman” was originally choreographed after one of Clemente’s close friends experienced a personal tragedy.

According to Clemente, the main theme of the dance is healing, particularly between the women in the dance.

“The questions we asked were, ‘Am I a healer?’ or, ‘Am I in need of healing?'” she said. “The answer was often both.”

When “Full Woman” was performed at Deep in December, it was reconstructed to fit the personal stories of the women in the performance. It was altered again for the new ACDFA cast, which contained only two of the dancers from the winter show.

“I try to make community in my dances and have a spiritual element,” Clemente said of her inspiration for choreography.

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