KSU Dance Company’s SLANG to Feature Contemporary and Classical Works

SLANG showcases an evening of dance, Nov. 15-16. 

Guest choreographer and celebrated dancer Jimmy Orrante to premiere original work

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 22, 2019) — Kennesaw State University’s Dance Company will be showcasing an evening of contemporary and classical dance, SLANG, on Nov. 15 and 16. The performance will feature four different works, including Onward, an original work from guest choreographer and celebrated dancer, Jimmy Orrante. Orrante’s choreographic residency is made possible thanks to the Pomare/Conner Memorial Endowment Fund for Dance.

A three-time recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation Award, Orrante has danced professionally with the Nevada Dance Theatre and Memphis Ballet. He spent 20 years with BalletMet, where he created over 15 premieres for the company, including the full-length ballet, The Great Gatsby. He has also created original works for Ballet Austin, Atlanta Ballet and Miami’s Dimensions Dance Theater. He is currently on faculty with New Albany Ballet in Columbus, Ohio.

His original work, Onward, follows a group of people as they work and grow together, highlighting the dynamic of development among individuals and the group as a whole – and how they “continue onward.” Orrante explains, “This new work started with the music; I was excited by the energetic and whimsical feeling of the arrangements. I wanted to capitalize on the students’ classical ballet vocabulary to shape the overall look of the work. The cohesiveness of the group and the way they interacted with one another was an inspirational dynamic.”

KSU dance professor Andrea Knowlton knows firsthand how well the students interact with each other. Her work, This Land, invites the audience to follow a diverse group of sojourners navigating their relationship to land and its many uses and implications. The work creates commentary on two clashing themes—a ruthless desire to control land, and a simultaneous detachment from its actual care and stewardship in the face of environmental crisis. The performers demonstrate the struggle by constructing and occupying modular spaces using AstroTurf. The performance will feature musical classics by country music legend Johnny Cash and an original score by J.C. Scheid.

Another original work, Roked, is choreographed by KSU dance instructor Thang Dao. Borrowing its title from a featured song in the work, “Roked” in Hebrew means dancing in the masculine form. Throughout the work, the dancers move through each story to strip away this patriarchal form to allow space for their own agency. "To be roked" is slang for a way of life or a feeling of self-satisfaction with what you have accomplished or done.

Dance lecturer Sean Nguyen-Hilton choreographed the namesake of the performance. SLANG is a play on the form and organization of dancers’ bodies, with a nod to the ways slang is created in spoken languages. Body language, classical shape and line, and relationality of bodies produce physical language that riffs on predetermined movement phrases. This work features original music by Paul Stevens and an original poem by poet Nicholas Goodly.

“As a dancer, it is incredibly fulfilling to be a part of an original work,” says Interim Chair of the Department of Dance McCree O’Kelley. “Students have the opportunity to share in the creative process and are able to contribute to the creation of a new work.”

The KSU Dance Co. is a pre-professional dance company that performs on campus, regionally, and nationally. Students who major in Dance have the opportunity to audition at the beginning of each semester (fall/spring) to be a part of the company. The mission of the KSU Dance Co. is to bring concert dance to the community as well as serve the mission of education in dance through its outreach performances. The company tours regional venues, performing and educating students about dance as a performing art. 

Don’t miss SLANG at Kennesaw State University, Nov. 15-16, at the Dance Theater on the Marietta campus. To buy tickets, please visit ticketing.kennesaw.edu.

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