Emerging choreographers first to perform in renovated dance studio


Brynn Lundy

The university’s Contemporary Dance Program presented the Emerging Choreographers Project as the first performance held in the newly renovated KHS 153 Dance Studio Theatre. The project consisted of 15 dances choreographed and performed by students.

Choreography project reintroduces a dance studio theatre that has recently completed a long renovation process.

Thursday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. marked the first performances seen by the KHS 153 Dance Studio Theatre since its finished renovations. The Contemporary Dance Program presented the Emerging Choreographers Project, which doubled as an inaugural show for the theatre and a final project for the student choreographers. 

According to director of dance Keith Costa, the theatre’s last renovation was in 1970. The deteriorating lights, curtains, mirrors, and floors caused safety issues for teaching and learning. Costa, also an instructor of contemporary dance, choreography, and performance, worked to get the necessary funds for the renovation. Over a period of four years, Costa wrote seven grants that totaled over $95,000.

“We have state-of-the-art technology across the board in all these other programs,” stated Costa. “There’s no reason why we can’t all be on the same level. The only way to get that with the budget that’s in place for the whole university and the state is that you have to go get it. You have to go after it. The only way that I saw was an opportunity was to write a grant to the state, to the Board of Regents, asking them for all these things—the floor, the curtains, the lighting, the mirrors were replaced and the sound system. We got the grant four years ago fully funded, but they ran out of money with the grant before me, so we lost everything. We didn’t get any of it. So I was like, I’m gonna get it little by little.”

Costa shared his pride in the program and his students.

“I’m just proud of them,” shared Costa. “They worked so hard all semester. They worked from the day they started school. They were working with mainstage concerts, the improv concerts, their senior concerts, as well as the choreography class, so they were nonstop. They’re still nonstop. Now they get a break, obviously, but when they get back next semester, we start on the Monday before classes start with our next show. They’re here before school starts. They’re very dedicated. We have a very dedicated, professional program here.”

Alaura Cervini, senior history and general studies major with a concentration in dance, choreographed two of the 15 dances from the evening’s lineup. The students have been working on choreography since the beginning of the semester. Cervini shared her experience on working with her classmates for this project.

“It’s exciting to watch them all grow and learn as both dancers and choreographers because I am their senior technically,” shared Cervini. “I’ve watched them start from not knowing anything about choreography to learning all of these elements of choreography and applying them into their movement and into their everyday lives, as well as, you know, they come to me a lot for advice and my opinion. I try to guide them where I think it’s best for them and show them movement is movement. It’s easy to let go and easy to make new movement, so putting too much emphasis on movement can hurt you more than just letting something go that isn’t working and creating something new.”