Liberty Hall Museum Visitors Experience History Through Dance

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Liberty Hall Museum Visitors Experience History Through Dance

Historic Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University served as a fitting backdrop for an innovative program - the first annual Liberty Hall Dance Festival, which explored history through dance. Fifteen dance companies and choreographers from the tri-state area presented works in locations across the beautiful museum grounds on Saturday, September 16. Each performance was inspired by moments in history, such as the language of Victorian fans, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the ideal perfect 1950s housewife.

"To say performing at Liberty Hall Dance Festival was a pleasure does not capture the wonders that the performers and visitors experienced during this amazing day of art and history," said dancer Jai Mason, who performed Louisa Barta's choreography. "There was a sense of community and of art awareness and education, all done with the mutual core love of dance. I cannot wait to see where the dance festival goes from here."

Audience members were delighted to tour the museum property and find dance performances popping up in unexpected places. A total of 47 dancers moved through Liberty Hall's Rose Garden, the blue front porch, the hedges in the garden maze, the vintage carriage house and the sprawling lush green grass. From ballet to modern, performance art to contemporary, each piece of work was distinct and evocative.

"There is no one right way to study or experience history," said William Schroh Jr., director of museum operations at Liberty Hall. "Dance allows our visitors to reflect on the significance and impact of historical eras and events from an emotional, artistic perspective."

In addition to choreographer Louisa Barta, artists and dance companies that participated in the Liberty Hall Dance Festival include Buggé Ballet, Art of Motion Dance Theatre, Armada Dance Company, beat piece, BREAKTIME, Bridget Cronin, Brooklyn Contemporary Ballet Collective, Carolyn Dorfman Dance, Darrigan DeMattos, Humanistics Dance Company, Jackie McCreavy, Kennedy Dancers, Nikki Manx Dance Project and Q&A Productions.

Liberty Hall Museum was built in 1772 for the first-elected Governor of New Jersey and signer of the United States Constitution, William Livingston, and his family.

"There were many important social events, including formal dances, held at Liberty Hall over its 245 years," said Schroh. "The dance festival follows in this important tradition."

Photo Credit: Kean University

About Kean University

Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The University's five undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers four doctoral degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master's degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union and Toms River, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit

About Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University

Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University chronicles more than 240 years of American history. The museum also houses extensive collections of furniture, ceramics, textiles, toys, and tools owned by seven generations of the Livingston and Kean families. The Firehouse Museum, built in 2004, houses three antique fire engines, including a rare 1911 American LaFrance Metropolitan Steam Engine. The museum is open April - December, Tuesday - Saturday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., with tours leaving every hour.

For reservations and further information, call 908-527-0400 or visit Liberty Hall Museum is located at 1003 Morris Avenue in Union, New Jersey.

About Buggé Ballet

Buggé Ballet is a critically acclaimed ballet company based in New Jersey and led by founding artistic director Nicole Buggé. Called "Fresh...charming...a wonderful articulation of Americana" by Edward Villella, the company has been featured on PBS in WHYY's Friday Arts series as a winner in Rider University's inaugural Emerging Choreographers Competition. Buggé Ballet performed internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and presented multiple commissioned works at Lincoln Center and with One World Symphony in New York City. Buggé Ballet toured in Virginia and Maryland with its annual Nutcracker production, has been part of the curated NuDance festival, and Breaking Glass: The Emerging Female Choreographers Project. The company has performed in Asbury Park and Point Pleasant in New Jersey, in addition to at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Bryant Park, The Ailey Citigroup Theater, NYC Fashion Week, and Dixon Place in New York City.

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