Saturday, March 26, 2016

Students dance their way to the Kennedy Center!

Last week students from MSU's Dance Department participated in the American College Dance Association held at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. They danced for five days straight, performing their own pieces and attending workshops. Some of the workshops offered were Afro-Brazilian, Hip Hop (with a member of the Hamilton cast), Yoga, Vintage Jazz, Contemporary Dance, Musical Theatre, Tap and Ariel Skills.

This year a group of Mankato dancers were selected to perform their piece entitled Television at the National Dance Conference, held at the Kennedy Center this coming June! It's a big deal and they've worked hard to get there.

The selection is something choreographer Daniel Stark and his dancers have been working on for two years now. Below are pictures of the dancers involved.

(Left to Right): Matilda Buffum, Regan O'Connor, Iah Lah, Abby Okoneski, Alina Fatieieva,
Kayla Johnson, Brooke Kiehl and Shawn Jones-Murray

This is the third time in the last four Kennedy Center adjudications that MSU Dancers have been selected to perform at Nationals, which is an award given out every-other year.

MSU Dancers and Faculty Members

Rachel Dreist (BFA Dancer) also choreographed a beautiful piece entitled Stage 4 that was performed in the Informal Concert. Ian Lah and Abby Okoneski were her performers. 

Abby Okoneski, Ian Lah and Rachel Dreist

Abby Okoneski and Ian Lah perform Stage 4 in the 2016 Fall Dance Concert

Alina Fatieieva (BFA Dancer) also choreographed a dance called Earth, Tomorrow which was adjudicated and received very positive feedback.

A big congratulations goes out to all the MSU Dancers for their hard work.
We are very proud of you!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Oleanna Takes the Stage!

As the year begins to wind down, theatre students at MSU are busy working on the three final shows of the season! Next up is David Mamet's Oleanna. This two person play is a power struggle between John, a University Professor (played by Jordan Wolfe) and his female student, Carol (played by Rachel Howard). When Carol comes into John's office to discuss her work in his class, things take a turn for the worse. Sexual Harassment accusations are thrown out, ruining John's chances for tenure, but are they warranted? That's up to the audience to decide.

Jordan Wolfe (MFA Acting), Rachel Howard (BA Theatre Generalist)

There are some new faces in this production including First Year MFA Directing Candidate, Donald Hart. This is his first studio show at MSU and he's excited for audiences to see this brilliant piece of theatre. He stated, "Oleanna has truly been a challenging yet smooth process.  David Mamet wrote such an intricate show that we have been forced to thoroughly break down the text to find all the meaning. But, our artists are so experienced and dedicated that we have risen to these challenges with stride.  I feel blessed to be part of such a wonderful group of people."

There are also old faces doing new work! Jayme Beerling (BFA Theatre Design and Technology) usually stars as one of our amazing Stage Managers. For this production she took on the role of the Scenic Designer, and boy did she jump in. Her set design is beautifully executed. She wears many hats in this department.

Kathryn Kanne (MFA Scene Design) designed the costumes and Jessica Donaven (BS Theatre Generalist/Communication Arts and Literature) did the lighting design. You would never know this was their first time. These women captured the spirit of the play perfectly. You'll have to see if for yourself!

The entire case and crew is ready for an audience! Oleanna opens Wednesday, March 30th at 7:30pm and runs through Saturday, April 2nd in the Andreas Theatre. Get your tickets and prepare yourself for a thought provoking evening of theatre.