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Dance company, student choreographer get national spotlight at festival

RELEASED: April 21, 2011

Danceworks
UW-Eau Claire Concert Dance Company performing “Xist.” (UW-Eau Claire photo by Rick Mickelson)

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Concert Dance Company performed in the American College Dance Festival Gala Concert April 9 in Wichita, Kan. This was UW-Eau Claire's first performing appearance at the annual event. The company was one of 10 chosen to perform from among more than 50 adjudicated dance groups.

The performance of "X-ist" was choreographed by junior Katelyn Derricott, Apple Valley, Minn., an English major and dance minor. Dr. Toni Poll-Sorensen, professor of dance and adviser to the Concert Dance Company, describes Derricott as having the mind of an artist.

"Katey is a choreographer who works from an abstract perspective," Poll-Sorensen said. "She visualizes the dance phrases and can layer them in her thinking, and she considers all elements of the choreography very carefully; music and costumes do not take a back seat to movement when it comes to developing the work."

Derricott said that she is proud of the dancers who performed and is grateful for the guidance and support of Poll-Sorensen.

"Having 'X-ist' selected for the Gala Concert at the American College Dance Festival was one of the most memorable and fulfilling experiences I have had as a dancer and choreographer," Derricott said.

"X-ist" is a modern dance about a group of people who lose their five senses and metaphorically lose their ability to identify themselves or other humans.

"It covers issues such as personal identity, sexuality, lust, love and human relationships," Derricott said. "I tried to push some boundaries with this piece and experimented with minimalistic movement, exposed costumes, tribal movements and silence."

Dancers who performed were Josie Balk, Rothschild; Shane Capaul, Mayer, Minn.; Jill Graboski, Junction City; Andrea Krunnfusz, Baraboo; Elisabeth O'Keefe, Appleton; and Caitlin Rathburn, White Bear Lake, Minn.

According to Poll-Sorensen, most groups that perform at this event are supported by a master of fine arts program, a major program and a large faculty. The UW-Eau Claire Concert Dance Company only has one faculty member and is open to the university community. The American College Dance Festival is held in 10 regional sites nationwide each year.

"This is particularly a great gift for me, because I am retiring at the end of this semester," Poll-Sorensen said. "I feel the company and the dance minor are well positioned for the next dance faculty to take leadership."

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MC/RD/DW

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