West Windsor, N.J. - When the weather gets colder that means one thing for Mercer County Community College (MCCC) Performing Arts students: Winter Concerts! The college’s Academic Theatre and Dance Company will present “The Happenings of Dance,” a free student winter dance concert, on Thursday, Nov. 21 and Friday, Nov. 22 at 7:30 pm in the Studio Theatre, adjacent to Kelsey Theatre on MCCC’s West Windsor Campus.
Choreographed by three students – Nasir Jackson (Trenton), Casey Koval (Hamilton), and Kayla Plunto (Mansfield) – the concert serves as the students’ capstone project.
“Everything – the costumes, designs, choreography – was crafted by the students,” said Theatre and Dance Professor Jody Gazenbeek-Person. “There will be a mixture of dance styles, including modern, ballet and jazz.”
Gazenbeek-Person added that the choreographers are emerging artists.
“I can ensure you’ll hear some great music, good technique, creativity and a fresh perspective on dance,” Gazenbeek-Person said.
Jackson has prepared a trio of dances that span the temporal landscape of the last half century. “’Possessed’ is a piece that features a classic play on dark versus light, but with a hip-hop twist,” Jackson said. “Each demon that is trying to possess the host performs a different style of hip-hop.”
His second dance, “Notification,” deals with an ill of modern society: texting.
“’Notification’ is a contemporary modern piece that features a texting and driving accident,” Jackson said. “Throughout the dance the driver of the car is struggling with the guilt of living as she was the only one left alive from the accident.”
Finally, “One Night” will take viewers back to the 1970s in a funk piece that incorporates elements of jazz and majorette.
For Koval’s two dances, “Fosse” and “Angel No. 14,” she drew inspiration from dancer and choreographer Bob Fosse and modern jazz.
“At least, I’d like to call ‘Angel No. 14’ a modern jazz piece, but I like to believe my movements fit into a whole new style of dance,” Koval said.
Lastly, Plunto’s pieces will draw from her personal background, as well as her interest in form and flow.
“My first dance, ‘Bailar Conmigo,’ stems from wanting to incorporate my Latin heritage into one of my pieces of dance,” Plunto said. “The style is a jazz salsa, and is about finding positivity in everything we do.”
The theme of positivity also runs through “The Form of Peace,” a contemporary dance that seeks to establish a mindset of freedom from negativity. Plunto also explores concepts of flow and unity in “The Tempo.”
“This dance is based off of mechanics and how mechanical objects have to work as a team to operate properly,” she said. “A lot of partner work and sequential movement is done throughout this modern style piece.”
Featured in the performances are Jackson’s, Koval’s and Plunto’s colleagues: Diego Montealegre (Lawrenceville); Emma Bryce (Hamilton); Amy Annucci (Ewing); Rachel Sanchez (Hamilton); Victoria Pender (Hamilton); Gabby Brown (Hamilton); Kirstin Mostrangeli (Hamilton); Kira Kook (Hamilton); Angelina Hawke (Hamilton); Victoria Smalls (Hamilton); and Ereaunna LaCava (Ewing).
The performance is free and open to the public. No tickets are required, but seating in the Studio Theatre is limited. For a complete listing of upcoming holiday performances, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure.