Mercer Dance Ensemble Explores ‘New Edge of Dance’ at Kelsey Theatre May 11 and 12


West Windsor, N.J. - The Mercer Dance Ensemble (MDE) is moving in exciting new directions in a fully original, spell-binding concert, “The New Edge of Dance.” Performances take place at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre on Saturday, May 11 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 12 at 2 p.m.

Presented by the MCCC Dance Program, the concert features current students, dance alumni and dance faculty. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road.

According to Jody Gazenbeek-Person, coordinator of MCCC’s Theater and Dance programs, the concert will be more experimental than in past years. “This is the trend in dance that’s happening in New York and abroad. We want our students to experience that. We have been preparing all semester,” he said.

Gazenbeek-Person predicts that audiences will be captivated. “This will be storytelling through dance at its most exciting – evocative, athletic, at times light and airy, and, most of all, entertaining. It will be emotional, fresh and innovative.”

The show includes 11 dances and 17 dancers, with pieces ranging from solos to larger groups. Four members of the Dance faculty will contribute pieces: Rebecca Brodowski (three); Jody Gazenbeek-Person (two); Jennifer Gladney (four); and Jill Molinari (two).

Dancers include Amy Annucci, Sabrina Ash, Nicole Ashley, Sydney N. Barkley, Ursula Blanchard, Emma Bryce, Kaleen Butterfield, Brittany Dintinger, Jennifer Gladney (faculty), Casey Koval, James LeGette, Diego Montealegre, Kayla Plunto, Kel Vallery, Rachel Sanchez, Victoria Smalls, and Stephen Szczepanik.

Reflecting the show’s eclectic themes, musical selections range from Marilyn Manson to the sounds of the New York City Subway, from Beyonce to John Cage and Bach. Most of the dancers will appear in multiple numbers.

Tickets for “MDE” are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $12 students/children. Tickets may be purchased online 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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In rehearsal for "The New Edge of Dance" are, front row, Casey Koval, left, and Emma Bryce; back row, Kayla Plunto, left, and Rachel Sanchez. The concert features 17 dancers performing 11 numbers.

In rehearsal with faculty member and choreographer Jody Gazenbeek-Person are, from left, Rachel Sanchez, Kayla Plunto, Amy Annucci, Sabrina Ash, and Victoria Smalls.