KENNESAW, Ga. | Aug 9, 2022
Two choreographers create new work for students in Dance Department
The Department of Dance at Kennesaw State University (KSU) will present Double Exposure August 26-27 at 8 p.m. at the KSU Dance Theater on the Marietta campus. Made possible by the Eleo Pomare–Glenn Connor Dance Endowment, the 2022 Choreographic Residency Program features up-and-coming choreographers Tsai Hsi Hung and Chuck Wilt.
The two choreographers, who emphasize innovation and movement invention, were selected by a panel of university professionals for a four-week residency to create two world premieres for the KSU Dance Company. The residency culminates in two fully produced pieces, presented as a double bill in Double Exposure.
“We are thrilled to host Tsai and Chuck this summer. The goal of this residency is to increase students' access to the professional practice of dance while further enhancing and enriching their dance education at KSU, and these choreographers helped us achieve that goal,” says Marsha Barsky, Chair of the Department of Dance. Although very different in terms of style, the choreographers have worked well together during the residency.
Hung, director of the Queens Ballet Center/QBC Company in New York, looks to painting for inspiration. “I am a painter, so my choreography will first be [visualized as] an image,” says Hung, who often paints the new work before she begins the choreography. Once she’s happy with the image, she uses the body as a brush to recreate the work in dance. “I start to feel how the dancers connect with my painting. Sometimes, when you see dancers, you say, ‘she’s red,’ you can feel her personality, just like a painting.”
For Wilt, Artistic Director and Choreographer of UNA Productions, it’s important for dancers to be able to express their individuality, even when interpreting his choreography. “I focus a lot on how to let people express their individuality, whether that’s letting there be freedom in how they approach my movement, or letting them generate some of their own movement,” he explains. For inspiration, he turns to nature, particularly water. “Working with bodies of water and examining the way it moves” inspires him in choreography because “sometimes it’s calm, sometimes it’s turbulent, and sometimes it has a calming effect on the body.”
He adds, “A lot of my movement comes from an image or a feeling vs. a shape, so we’ve spent a lot of time working on where the movement comes from…and when you focus on that and are clear on the root of the movement, the choreography becomes more accessible to various levels and experiences of dancer.”
Hung has watched the dancers grow over the summer. “On the first day, I gave them their individual Chinese name and asked them to make their name 3D, using their body to make the brush. Everyone surprised me when they created this movement for me—they all worked very hard—and they have grown a lot since then.”
Artistic Director and Associate Professor Lisa K. Lock has seen the impact on the students. She says, “Having observed the rehearsals, I can see that both choreographers challenge our students. Their growth has been tremendous and will only increase over time.”
KSU students and alumni will perform the new works in Double Exposure on August 26-27 at 8 p.m. Please visit arts.kennesaw.edu/dance to buy tickets and view the complete season.