As We Are: new work to premiere at BYU this November

As We Are is a new work that I am creating with BYU’s DancEnsemble. It is a process-based work that highlights individual dancers as “in-process beings”: something they are now, built on where they came from, but may not continue to be in the future. It is intended to capture the immediacy of the moment, and expand into a reactive ensemble. The work showcases the beauty of unique individuals moving together, as they are. Check out a small clip below:

As We Are

As We Are Preview from Kristen Jeppsen Groves on Vimeo.

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Recent dance happenings – Summer 2012

It’s been a few busy months, but now with a regular schedule I’ve been able to take some time to update my blog! Near the end of May 2012, I finished teaching in the children/youth dance program for SKIES in Vicenza, Italy. SKIES is an art/activity program for military children abroad. Since January I had the amazing opportunity to teach dance to talented and creative children. I enjoyed teaching a beginning Hip-Hop class for 7-8 year olds as well as a Contemporary Jazz class for 10 and up. In May, my classes presented their co-choreographed works at the Spring Recital in Vicenza. It brought back a lot of very sweet memories when I was a child waiting backstage to perform. They were nervous, excited, maybe a bit fearful, but they did an amazing job. Following their performance, they were beaming with pride. I didn’t expect to spend time after receiving my MFA to teach in a children’s program, but the SKIES program has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of 2012.

Following the end of the SKIES program, a colleague and I worked collaboratively on a dance film which premiered at Core Project Chicago’s “Going Dutch”. Camille Spencer and I filmed two solos in Italy and Scotland. With our recent moves to Europe Lost/Found explored ideas of space, identity, displacement, and discovery. It was a unique challenge to choreography and share material via the web only, as well as find ways to edit a film long-distance. We presented the duel film on two screens that flickered back and forth between me in Italy and Camille in Scotland. It was a very fulfilling project and a great way to keep working when resources, rehearsal space, and time were limited.

Following the Core Project Chicago event, I focused my time on finishing a paper for the WDA/DaCI global summit in Taipei, Taiwan. For the last year, Marin Leggat,Associate Professor at Ohio Wesleyan University, and I have worked on researching and writing a paper on empathy in ares in conflict. We focused on artists and directors teaching youth in conflicted areas in the Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Israel. We presented “Constructions Of Empathy: Exploring perspectives & biases of empathic pedagogy in classrooms abroad” on the final day of the week long conference. The paper will be published in the WDA/DaCI fall journal.

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Soon after the Taiwan conference I packed up my bags and returned to the states. I am currently teaching in the Contemporary Dance Department at Brigham Young University. Teaching, choreographing, and working with such exceptional students has been such a fun experience. I have a heavy technique focused course load and I am setting a new work on BYU’s DanEnsemble.As We Are. The students are excellent dancers, choreographers, and performers. I will post more as the semester continues. More dancing to come!