KSU Dance Company brings crowd to their feet in New York City, aims to do the same across the globe
By Kasey Carty-Campbell
(Above and below)
KSU Dance Company performing "Incubus" at the National American College Dance Festival in New York City.
Photos by John Curtis
As the music came to a stop, and the Kennesaw State University Dance Company froze in their final position, the lights went out, and the audience jumped to their feet in a standing ovation. Dance major Myles Johnson scanned the standing crowd at the National American College Dance Festival in New York City, and later reflected, “It is what every performer lives for. You couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear.”
As only one of two pieces that received standing ovations at the festival, “Incubus”— choreographed by KSU Assistant Professor of Dance Ivan Pulinkala—was one of 29 pieces selected from 430 pieces adjudicated at regional festivals held across the country. The performance created an outpouring of compliments, including those from the editor in chief of Dance Magazine.
Now the company is going international: “Incubus” has just been accepted into the Shanghai Art Festival, the largest art festival in Asia. Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies Ming Chen, designer of the set for “Incubus,” entered the piece to be considered for the festival, which will take place in October 2009.
“It has been a great honor for us to receive national and international recognition as a growing dance program in Georgia that has only been in existence for three years,” says Pulinkala.
Johnson believes that the experience offered him a good representation of what to expect when he graduates, “The other performers are my peers and I will compete with them for jobs one day. It was good to see their level, to understand their strengths and my own to see where I need to grow.”
As Pulinkala observed, “It was a really incredible experience for the students as they had the opportunity to perform on a New York stage and interact with students and from some of the top university dance programs in the country.”
Johnson agreed. “It is mind-boggling to see how tremendous the world of dance is. The dance program at Kennesaw is preparing me to enter that world.”
Johnson credits much of the success of the program to Pulinkala’s innovative choreography, in which he highlights the strengths of the dancers. “He is not afraid to go against the grain, and he is aware of how to best teach and mentor—not just how to dance, but also teaching us how to be choreographers ourselves,” says Johnson, who plans to be a choreographer and one day open his own dance company.
As Johnson looks to the future of the program, and the opportunities that he will continue to have in the KSU Dance Company, he reflects, “As new as the program is, and the national recognition that we have already received, I can only imagine what the future holds.”