SuperTalk Mississippi

Belhaven dancers to represent Mississippi on national stage

Photo courtesy of Belhaven University.

Twelve Belhaven University dance majors are traveling to the nation’s capital for a once-in-a-lifetime performance. Among hundreds of compositions from the nation’s top collegiate dance programs, Belhaven is the only Mississippi university and Christian college that will perform at the 2018 National College Dance Festival in Washington, D.C.

The American College Dance Association (ACDA) selected the choreography of Erin Scheiwe Rockwell, associate professor of dance at Belhaven, for its use of multi-media in an imaginative and original way.

“Rockwell’s piece, ‘Imag[(I)n]e’, is incredibly innovative, complex, and engaging,” said Belhaven Chair and Associate Professor of Dance Krista Bower. “Her unique use of film, projection, movement, costuming, and text creates an experience that is new and inspiring for audiences.”

“Imag[(I)n]e” captured the attention of adjudicators at the ACDA’s Southern Regional Conference in April. They were inspired by the performance and said the dance went beyond entertainment to convey a universal message to the audience.

“This is the kind of piece that I want to see again and bring a friend,” said one of the ACDA judges.  “From the beginning, we are transported to another world.” “I felt the need to walk out of the performance and create something.”

For Rockwell, the piece was a year-long project where she investigated what it means to be created in the image of God.

“Through research, dialogue, reflective writing, movement investigation, costume invention, creative technology maneuvering, and pure imagination this piece unfolded, revealing a reservoir of God’s creativity that can seep through our fragile human form,” Rockwell said.

The annual festival provides a unique opportunity to view the extraordinary work being created by top collegiate dance programs throughout the nation. The University of Illinois, University of Texas, Connecticut College, Virginia Commonwealth University, Alabama State University, and Temple University, and others were recognized with Belhaven University for their artistic excellence.

“Being selected to perform at such a prestigious event demonstrates the high standard of excellence being pursued in the Belhaven University Dance Department,” Bower said. “Our talented faculty members are training strong, committed dancers who can compete at the national level.”

Belhaven dance students Stephanie Bonham, Madison Bordelon, Kayla Gray, Katherine Koon, Lydia Mathis, Alisa Nipp, Regine Pieters, Anna Rhodes, Josh Schaeffer, Betsie Stevens, Tori Tomes and Jenna Werner will bring “Imag[(I)n]e” to the national stage, June 6-9, 2018 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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