and Originality Infuse MCCC Student Performance with Battery Dance Company
N.J. - Dance student Hanna Bruskin admits she has never felt so
tired or sore. "But it was worth it," she said of an intensive,
three-day dance workshop that ran from Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at Mercer
County Community College.
Her satisfaction was echoed by the 16 other students from the MCCC
Dance program and the Mercer County Performing Arts High School
(PAHS) who participated in "Dancing to Connect" with professional
artists from Battery Dance Company (BDC), based in Lower Manhattan.
Their efforts culminated in day and evening performances at Kelsey
Theatre on Feb. 2 featuring the original eight-minute dance they
created, entitled "The Newspaper Piece." Their teachers
were BDC dancers Bafana Matea and Mayuna Shimizu, who performed
two additional pieces with members of their company.
MCCC faculty member Jody Person, the coordinator of the Theatre
and Dance program, was gratified by the tremendous commitment of
Matea and Shimizu and his students' total engagement in the process,
which asked them to focus not only on technical mastery of the dance,
but to dig deep to find ways to express themselves through movement.
Students included Alexandra Abraham, Alicia Ackerman, Eliza Bassett-Wilson,
Ally Berger, Hanna Bruskin, Yvonne Clark, Trachelle Causey, Maleek
Colvin, Charlene Jamison, Jaime Lisbona, Laura Murey, Brianne Scott,
Jessica Shahinian, Ronnie Simon Jr., Lauren-Carmel Sirak and Scott
Battery Dance Company has presented its award-winning "Dancing
to Connect" workshops to young people in Europe, Asia and Africa,
but this marked the company's first visit to New Jersey, according
to founder and choreographer Jonathan Hollander.
Addressing a welcoming audience of family, friends and dance fans
prior to the evening performance, Hollander said, "This is
our New Jersey debut. It's proved to be a warm place for us to be
- just across the river. We have found so much talent here. What
you are going to see is an original work and it just started on
Saturday. I can't believe the result; it's fantastic."
Audience members appeared to agree, as they watched a performance
infused with energy and creativity that left them cheering and applauding
with appreciation. Also on the program were two original dances
by BDC members with choreography by Hollander. Jody Person was a
special guest dancer for BDC's final number, "I'll Take You
There," a light-hearted, imaginary romp through the streets
and classrooms of New York City, with music by Polarity/1.
"Our students have had the experience of collaborating with
members of a professional New York company," Person said. "This
is a unique opportunity that they embraced and from which they got
the full benefit because they gave it one hundred percent. The collaborative
piece they created was truly spectacular." Person expressed
his appreciation to MCCC President, Dr. Patricia Donohue, who initially
reached out to Battery Dance Company.
For more information about the MCCC Dance Program, click here.
For the Theatre program, click here.
participants following the performance,
front row from left, Yvonne Clark, Ally Berger (PAHS), Lauren-Carmel
Sirak, Hanna Bruskin, Scott Walters, Trachelle
Causey and Jessica Shahinian (PAHS); back row, from left, Charlene
Jamison, Maleek Colvin (PAHS), Jaime Lisbona (PAHS), Ronnie Simone
Jr., and Alexandra Abraham.
dancers, from left, Carmen Nicole, Bafana Matea,
Robin Cantrell and Sean Scantlebury perform "Where
There's Smoke" to music by Francis Poulenc.
Jody Person (foreground) with BDC's Bafana Matea,
left, and Mayuna Shimizu during "I'll Take You There."
artists Bafana Matea (in white) and Mayuna Shimizu
(in purple) in rehearsal with MCCC Dance students, from left Ronnie
Smith Jr., Trachelle Causey and Yvonne Clark.
Newspaper Piece" with students Ronnie Simon Jr.,
Hanna Bruskin, Trachelle Causey and Alicia Ackerman.
together in rehearsal, from left, Lauren-Carmel
Sirak, Ronnie Simon Jr., Alexandra Abraham, Hanna
Bruskin, Jessica Shahinian (PAHS) and Scott Walters.
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