Mercer Dance Ensemble to Explore 'Experiences' Through Dance At Kelsey Theatre

The performance includes ballet, hip-hop, modern dance, and more, showcasing the talents of current students, alumni, and faculty.

By: May. 06, 2024
Mercer Dance Ensemble to Explore 'Experiences' Through Dance At Kelsey Theatre
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Members of the The Mercer Dance Ensemble will be tapping into their diverse backgrounds and talents in the original production "Experiences" at Mercer County Community College's (MCCC) Kelsey Theatre Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 12.

"Every one of us choreographers comes from energetically different backgrounds," said Jody Gazenbeek-Person, MCCC's Theatre, Dance and Entertainment Technology Coordinator. "This year's concert is more eclectic and there's something for everyone. On stage the audience will experience pieces that mix ballet with Japanese Butoh, Hip-Hop numbers, modern dance, post-modern dance and dance theater pieces. The audience is in for quite the exciting ride."

Presented by the MCCC Dance Program, the concert features current students, dance alumni and dance faculty. Eight pieces will be presented, each providing unique insight into the background and talents of the choreographers and dancers, including:

  • "OMG!," choreographed by Theresa Flim, who said: "My inspiration for this piece was to choreograph an authentic, fun, vibrant, and confident-inspired Hip-Hop Dance. I wanted to show my students' dance skills, which included being soft and sensual while also being precise and sharp in their movements. This piece pushes my dancers to engage the audience and to walk in their authority. Enjoy being transported into a high-energy, impactful routine with talented dancers."

  • "Butoh Dying Swan," Jody Person, choreographer. Person said: "I have always romanticized Pavlova's and Fokine's original "The Dying Swan." Also, I always thought about how we, the audience, have no idea why the swan is dying. Is it old age? Is it dying from a broken heartbreak? We just don't know. I'm exploring several reasons a swan may die in some kind of future dystopian world based on what we human beings are currently doing to the environment."

  • "Opera Box," a concept, advising, and structured improvisation by Jill Molinaro and Jody Gazenbeek-Person, with some choreography from the performers. The performance is described as "a comic dance theater romp through opera...dealing with all the stereotypes - divas to wallflowers - lighting a fire under each one and to have a ton of fun."

  • "Three Seasons," choreographed by the performers; Jody Gazenbeek-Person, advisor. This piece came out of MCCC's Modern Dance I and II class. Students were asked to combine Martha Graham, Contact Improvisation, and Japanese Butoh to create duets and one trio as a final project for this concert. This piece combines many of the elements they learned in class.

Dancers for the concert include Shayna Ryan, Allentown, NJ; Trinity Anjelic, Jawn Julian, Nasir Murphy, Ya'najah M Connor-Kelley, and Xazavion Lane, all of Trenton, NJ ; Ludnie Monique and Brittany Felauer, Hamilton, NJ; Melissa Hemel and Ron Macedo, Hightstown, NJ; Sarah Kristensen, Hopewell, NJ; Jordan Shutz, Chesterfield, NJ; Nalijah Muhammad, Willingboro, NJ; Danubia Vilar, Kearny, NJ; Brendaliz Gonzalez, Pemberton, NJ; Maggie Gronenthal, Lawerence, NJ; Trinity Miller, Ludnie Monique, Sarah Elizabeth Kristensen, Micah Goldschmidt, Dunabia Villar, Jennifer Gladney, Jody Person, and Casey Koval.

The MDE will perform at the Kelsey Theatre on MCCC's West Windsor Campus,1200 Old Trenton Road, on Saturday, May 11 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 12 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $12 students/children, and may be purchased online at or by calling the Kelsey Theatre box office at 609-570-3333, or in person prior to the performance. (The box office opens one hour before the show.) Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking available next to the theater.

The MCCC Dance program includes the study of jazz, ballet, and modern dance styles from the fundamentals to advanced instruction. With the benefit of small classes and individualized instruction, students may earn either an A.A. degree, which prepares them for transfer as juniors into a Bachelor of Arts program in Dance, or an A.F.A. degree in the Performing Arts, a transfer program in which they combine conservatory training in theater, dance and music with education in the Liberal Arts and Sciences.


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