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Keene State Awarded National College Choreography Initiative Grant

KEENE, N.H. 11/7/03 - Keene State College’s Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond has announced that the College has been awarded a National College Choreography Initiative grant to support a two-and-a-half-week residency by New York choreographer Sean Curran. The NCCI grant is a Leadership Initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support by the Dana Foundation. It is administered by Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance.

While in residence, beginning Monday, Nov. 17, Curran will create “Another Metal Garden” with six KSC dance students and two KSC alumni. The dance will be performed by the six students at Keene State’s annual Evening of Dance performance, April 21-24, 2004. In May, the students with the two alumni will perform it in Montreal, Canada, as part of the New Hampshire/Quebec Dance Alliance’s cultural exchange program. The students participating are Jillian Davey, Danielle Dicento, Ali Rosenthal, Meredith Roy, Melanie Rosner and Leah Waitkun. The two alumni are Yoshio Chandler and Aiyana Maye. “Another Metal Garden” will feature music by Tigger Benford and Peter Jones and choreography by Curran in collaboration with dancers.

In addition Curran will conduct master classes with Keene State College dance students, a master class for students and teachers at Keene’s Moving Company, a master class for Franklin Pierce College dance students, and workshops with Walpole Elementary School children. An open rehearsal free to the public will be held the evening of December 3 in the Mabel Brown Room of the KSC Young Student Center from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. It is free and open to the public; for more information call 603-358-2171.

This marks the second time in the two granting periods Brickyard Pond has received an NCCI grant. The first was for a residency by Sara Pearson/Patrik Widrig and Company in February of 2002, in which the company recreated “The Hereafter Project” featuring community and student dancers.

“This grant is a tribute to the quality of the Keene State College Dance program,” said Brickyard Pond Director William Menezes. “Only 35 were awarded this year throughout the United States. Receiving this award clearly announces that KSC is one of the top college dance programs in the Northeast. This is due to the tireless efforts of Marcia Murdock and William Seigh of our dance faculty and the dedication of our students, and it is a tribute to the memory of Alta Lu Townes, who founded the program over 25 years ago.”

The NCCI grants are administered by Dance/USA, a national service organization for non-profit professional dance, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Through this initiative, colleges and universities nationwide are able to unite professional dance artists with college students to restage classic American dances or create new works. In its second round, a national panel of artists, college faculty and dance presenters recommended 35 awards of $7,500 to universities in 35 cities and 28 states across the country to go for new works and reconstructions in modern, ballet, tap, swing, jazz and Latin dance.

A significant component of the program is the sharing of work with the larger community beyond the performance of the dance piece. Outreach activities include post-performance discussions, classes and open rehearsals. In the 2001-02 academic year, 48 artists and ensembles traveled to every state in the country and worked with over 6,000 students to bring dances and community activities to audiences that totaled over 112,000. Based on that success, the NEA recommitted to the program.

The only other New England school to receive an NCCI grant was Rhode Island College, to support a restaging of “Where I End and We Begin,” also by Curran. Several recent dance films featuring Curran will be shown and discussed by artist/scholar panels, and Curran’s company and student casts will give shared performances for children and general audiences.

The National Endowment for the Arts, an independent federal agency, was established by an Act of Congress in 1965. An investment in America’s living cultural heritage, the Endowment serves the public good by nurturing human creativity, supporting community spirit, and fostering appreciation of the excellence and diversity of the nation’s artistic accomplishments. Since 1965, the Endowment has invested over $242 million in supporting dance nationwide.

Dance/USA, the national service organization for non-profit professional dance, was founded in 1982 to advance the art form of dance through a variety of programs, including publications, advocacy, information services, professional development programs, and re-granting initiatives.

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