KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 14, 2023
Generous donation from Yunek family supports choreographic residencies, two world premieres
Kennesaw State University Department of Dance has selected two international choreographers for the Eleo Pomare-Glenn Conner Choreographic Residency in summer 2023. The Residency brings two curated choreographers each summer to KSU Dance to create an original work together with Dance alumni and students, made possible by an endowment from Jay and Debra Yunek.
The Pomare-Connor Memorial Endowed Fund for Dance honors the late benefactors who were luminaries of the dance world. Pomare, who passed away in 2008, was known for developing innovative choreography that deals with social inequality and injustice. The funds promote and preserve Pomare’s legacy through the cultivation of new choreographic voices.
This year, new choreographic voices Nicola Wills and Lior Lazarof have been selected as this summer’s distinguished choreographers and will create two world premieres to open the KSU Dance performance season in August. Marsha Barsky, Chair of the Department of Dance, says, “We are thrilled to bring these incredibly talented choreographers to KSU Dance this summer. The competition was fierce; the selection committee reviewed over 86 applications, spanning twenty states and six countries.” One of those countries with a strong showing was Israel, known internationally for its acclaimed contemporary dance.
Israeli dance artist Lior Lazarof studied in the Sadna professional dance program, located in Kibbutz Ga'aton, and she graduated from Ga'atonusalem Academy of Music and Dance in 2016. She then moved to Europe to further her artistic research. Her work has been presented in Poland, Spain, Czech Republic, Canada, Bulgaria, to name a few. Lazarof taught and set her choreographic work for various professional and non-professional dance companies worldwide.
In 2019, she was selected as an Emerging Choreographer in Springboard Danse Montreal, and, in 2022, she was selected for the ATLAS program for choreographers in Impulstanz. She is a member of The Israeli Choreographers’ Association.
About 15 hours away from Israel on the fastest flight, South Australia is home to Nicola Wills, where she started her dance training and developed her passion for performing a variety of dance styles. In 2009, she completed her tertiary schooling and achieved her South Australian Certificate for Education (SACE) in Dance and Choreography and in Visual and Dramatic Arts with Honors.
Moving to Europe in 2012, Nicola danced with Dortmund Ballet, Germany, before joining the Ballet van Vlaanderen, (formally known as Royal Ballet of Flanders) in Belgium in 2013, where she was promoted to Demi-soloist in 2017 and is currently still dancing.
Through the Ballet van Vlaanderen’s in-house Choreolab, Nicola has been able to develop her artistic voice and movement vocabulary by creating stage work with the company’s dancers. She seeks to create choreographic work that embodies intellectual nuance and explores and represents themes on the human condition in a relatable emotional context. Her aim is to create work that explores sensitive narratives that mine relevant social themes and solidify the importance of dance as a modern art form by creating an empathetic and thought-provoking experience for the audience.
Audiences may see both world premieres August 25-26, 2023, at 8 p.m. in the KSU Dance Theater on the Marietta campus. Tickets will go on sale July 1, 2023, at KSUDance.com.