This May, the Hamline University Dance Ensemble will head to
Washington, D.C. to perform at the Kennedy Center. The ensemble was selected as
one of only 30 groups to perform at the National
College Dance Festival hosted by the American College Dance Festival
Association. During the festival, Hamline artists will perform in two shows on
Saturday, May 26.
“What’s really cool is that we are competing with large
schools with dedicated dance departments,” Kaori Kenmotsu, a Hamline senior
lecturer and artistic director for Hamline Dance Ensemble, said. “Many of our
students in the group are actors with limited or no previous dance experience.”
The students will perform “Elephant in the Room,” which was
choreographed by guest artist Crystal Runk. The piece is about a dysfunctional
family that is forced to sit together at the table. The members of the ensemble
inspired Runk’s choreography.
“The piece is very organic and character driven,” Kenmotsu
said. “‘Elephant in the Room’ also is intensely physical and includes people
flipping over chairs. I think audiences will be surprised by the humor in it.”
Despite the Hamline’s size, the students’ talents are well-matched
with the other larger schools that will also perform at the Kennedy Center such
as Stanford University, the Boston Conservatory, and the University of
“To be selected to perform in the National Festival is a
real recognition of the talent and work of the dancers here at Hamline,”
Theatre Department Chair Bill Wallace said.
Hamline’s dance program is housed in the Theatre Department.
That enables any interested and talented student from across the university to
participate, and opens up other opportunities behind the scenes.
“We have worked hard
to fuse the dance program and Theatre Department,” Kenmotsu said. “For many of
our technical students—such as lighting designers and costumers—being able to
work on both theatre and dance projects makes them more well-rounded.”
According to Kenmotsu, the Hamline students involved in the ensemble are
curious, interested, and willing to put themselves out there.
“Many of the students do not have any dance experience, but
they do have innate sense of movement,” Kenmotsu said.
Those interested in seeing the Hamline Dance Ensemble before
they leave for Washington can catch their spring performance entitled ‘Go’ on
May 3, 4, and 5. For more information, visit the Anne Simley Theatre Box Office