Mercer Dance Ensemble Celebrates in Motion at MCCC's Kelsey Theatre May 29- 30


West Windsor, N.J.-- The Mercer Dance Ensemble (MDE) will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its choreographer Janell Byrne with a joyful, inspired modern dance performance at Mercer County Community College's Kelsey Theatre. Drawing on the talents of current students, dance alumni and special guests, "MDE - Legacy" will be presented Saturday, May 29 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 30 at 2 p.m. (Note: These dates are different than those originally announced in the Kelsey Theatre season brochure.) Kelsey Theatre is located on Mercer's West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

The show includes ten numbers, choreographed by Byrne, Jennifer Gladney, a 2003 alumna who has performed with MDE for 10 years, and Han Koon Ooi, a 2009 alumnus who has performed for five years. The varied program includes group pieces featuring Latin and Malaysian sounds, a high energy number inspired by aerobic dance, and another in which five performers dance to classical guitar music. A piece entitled "Elle(s)" features Byrne along with guest artists Cheryl Whitney-Marcuard and Diane Kuhl, while "Quartet for Four Women" will be performed to solo piano music with dancers coming and going. "We want to suggest that the dancing continues beyond the limits of the stage," Byrne observes.

According to Jody Person, coordinator of Mercer's Theatre and Dance programs, the performance will resonate with power and passion. "Janell has worked with many students who are new to dance and she inspires them to have confidence in their bodies," Person said. "This, in turn, helps them to locate, kinetically, that special grace. We celebrate Janell's many gifts."

Dancers, left to right, Hanna Bruskin, DeHaven Rogers, Yvonne Clark, Brianne Scott and Ian Conley.
Choreographer Janell Byrne, left, with dancers
DeHaven Rogers (on ground) and Hanna Bruskin.

Student Lar Sirak notes that Byrne has helped him to broaden his horizons in the world of dance. "She has also inspired me to look into and feel movement deeper and differently each time," he said. Adds dancer Molly Restine, "She always encourages all her dancers to be better than they think they can be. She has taught me about energy and how to connect to other people and the spaces you're in."

Byrne, a native of California, is a former student of Stanley Holden and Margaret Hills in Los Angeles. A graduate of the Julliard School, she studied with Alfredo Corvino. In addition to Mercer, Byrne has taught at Princeton University, The College of New Jersey, and the Lawrenceville School.

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 theatre, dance and music with education in the liberal arts and sciences. Learn more about the MCCC Theatre Program here.

Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased online at, in person at the Kelsey Theatre box office, or by phone at 609-570-3333. Free parking is available next to the theatre. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible and provides assisted listening devices upon request.

For more on events at Kelsey Theatre visit:

2009-10 Season
Ticket Information
Audition Information
Kelsey Kids Playshops

Return to Current News