Dance professor, students to be featured in NYC jazz dance concert

Dance students record a segment of Associate Professor Amy VanKirk's 'A Pulsação' in the Albig Studio Theatre in Peters Hall.

Associate Professor of Dance Amy VanKirk and six of her students have been waiting patiently for over a year to debut a performance with Jazz Choreography Enterprises’ “JCE Jazz Dance Project.” Their moment to shine will arrive this Saturday. VanKirk and her students were originally selected to perform live in New York City alongside a host of professional choreographers and dancers in 2020, but the pandemic caused the event to be canceled twice. Event organizers ultimately decided to move the show to an online format offered over two nights, April 24 and 25, 2021, beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT each evening.

VanKirk’s students are a unique addition to the event, as they are the only students being featured among the lineup of professional dancers and choreographers. “It’s a really valuable experience for the students,” says VanKirk. “The piece was selected  to be performed at a New York City venue, so even though it is a virtual event it gives them real, professional experience to add to their portfolios.” VanKirk says that while students were disappointed that they were unable to travel to New York City to perform live as originally planned, the group was thankful to have their work featured in the event.

VanKirk’s piece is a jazz-samba fusion dance titled “A Pulsação,” and was recorded with her students in November in the Albig Studio Theatre in Peters Hall. The original dance was created just before the emergence of the pandemic, and had to be completely restructured for video presentation, as well as to observe social-distancing guidelines. Each section of the performance was shot separately then edited together to form one cohesive piece. Alexa Austin, Maddie Blair, Daria Gilbert, Loren Lucas, Kirsten Torrence and Kimberly Vonderlehr are the six student dancers featured in the performance.

The complete program lasts approximately 45 minutes and will be followed each night with a live, virtual talkback panel of choreographers featured in the event. Both evenings will feature the same performance, followed by guest talkback panels featuring different choreographers from the event. Professor VanKirk will be a member of the Sunday night talkback panel. The entire event is free to view online each evening. Tickets and registration are required in advance. Organizers are requesting voluntary donations from viewers to help support their artistic endeavors. Tickets and registration information can be obtained here.

Apr 23, 2021
Jason S. Hutchens, Ed.D.