Kennesaw State Department of Dance to Present World Premieres in “Double Exposure”

KENNESAW, Ga. | Aug 15, 2023

Generous donation supports cultivation of new choreographic voices in residency

Summer activities in the South may slow down a bit because of the heat and humidity, but that’s not the case at Kennesaw State University’s Department of Dance. It was a very busy summer, thanks to the Eleo Pomare–Glen Conner Choreographic Residency program. Two choreographers spent a hot July working with dancers and creating two new works. 

Competition for the residency spots was also heated. Department of Dance Chair Marsha Barsky explains, “This year marks the program's third year, and the application pool was quite competitive, with applicants spanning the globe.”

headshot of Lior Lazarof
Lior Lazarof (Israel)
headshot of Nicola Wills
Nicola Wills (Australia/Belgium)

Lior Lazarof (Israel) and Nicola Wills (Belgium/Australia) were selected as the Eleo Pomare–Glen Conner Choreographic Residency recipients for summer 2023. Since arriving July 3, the two ambitious artists have been busy creating original works in collaboration with Dance students. The works will be performed August 25-26 in “Double Exposure,” opening the 2023-2024 season for DanceKSU. 

The Choreographic Residency is a unique program for both the dancers and the choreographers. Lazarof says that it has been great to work with such a large group of students. “I knew from the start that I would be able to make a big production with ten dancers. It has been great to have the studio space, to have lighting, costume design, and production, the theater space, really, the whole package! It’s so nice to have everything we need,” she says. 

 Wills works in a company in Belgium and doesn’t have the time at home “to create such a long piece with such a big group. This opportunity at KSU gave me the time to make creations, to have an allocated amount of time to create while also teaching young people who are hungry and enthusiastic.” 

image of dancer in studio
The new choreographic work will be presented Aug. 25-26. Photo: Christina Massad

image of dancers with a piece of paper taped to the wall they are writing on
Wills said that the KSU dance students are quick to learn and open minded. Photo: Christina Massad.

She points out that the KSU students are quick to learn and open minded. “The students here have been open, especially when the rep is different or unfamiliar, yet they are still generous in their attention and what they want to offer,” explains Wills.

Lazarof explains that students have influenced her work by “the things the students offer into the space, their personalities, how they act and react to each other in the studio, even to how differently they took a task from what I meant…it all makes for a more interesting piece; and often develops into a new idea.”

Barsky has watched the exciting progress of the choreographers and students over the summer, culminating in two world premieres presented in “Double Exposure.” She says, “I am thrilled that we can foster new works by groundbreaking artists through the Pomare/Connor Choreographic Residency program. Nicola and Lior were the perfect fit for our students. Their research, collaborative process, and choreographic approach provided invaluable experiences for students.” 

“Double Exposure” will be presented August 25-26 at 8 p.m. at the KSU Dance Theater on the Marietta campus; tickets are available online or by calling 470-578-6650. This performance is made possible thanks to the Pomare/Connor Memorial Endowment Fund for Dance at KSU. 

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