Rex Kennedy somersaulted on stage for senior dance projects this past Wednesday and Friday night. He then promptly walked off stage and somersaulted back on.
The VCU dance senior projects, which were collectively titled “Un Tide” this semester, are a capstone class for graduating dance majors in both performance and choreography. Seniors choreograph the dances themselves.
Kennedy auditioned for the senior projects and started rehearsals during the first week of September. Even though the audition was for all of the projects, Kennedy did tell his friend and one of the choreographers, Rachel Brady, that he wanted to be in her piece.
“I let Rachel know I wanted to be in (her piece) since we are close friends. She graduated from Denver School of the Arts as well, and we spent the summer together at the American Dance Festival,” Kennedy said. Kennedy attended the Denver School of the Arts in Colorado for the last two years of his high school education and was able to attend the American Dance Festival at Duke University the last two summers.
The senior projects were Wednesday through Saturday night and took place in two parts, Program A and Program B. Kennedy performed in Program A for Brady’s piece called “Nocturnal Shadows.”
The piece involved 12 dancers total, with Kennedy as a lead. “It’s not often that dancers get heavy character parts like I had,” Kennedy said. Since all underclassmen are eligible to audition for the senior projects, freshmen often do not receive such important roles.
Before his Friday night performance, Kennedy said that since the Wednesday night show and the rehearsals had gone so well, he was not very nervous.
“I can only hope that we have a receptive audience tonight, and everything stays on the level that we’ve been rehearsing it and performing it,” he said.
Kennedy started “Nocturnal Shadows” by somersaulting onto stage to a circus-like drum roll to present the other dancers like a ringleader, only to have them not budge. Throughout the piece, Kennedy often danced apart from the other dancers and ended the piece by carrying his partner toward the audience as though she were hovering.
“The piece was based off of German expressionistic film and I’m like the dictator in this twisted rule. … The girl I partnered with was trying to go against the rule, but was unsuccessful,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy enjoyed the senior projects, especially working with his friend, Brady. “It is hard to compare to other experiences. … I really enjoyed the process, Rachel was great at leading rehearsals and everyone in the cast was nice and so much fun to work with,” Kennedy said.
Apart from his work in the senior projects this semester, Kennedy has also been choreographing his own piece, called Hyph(y), which is inspired by “merging urban culture with the improvisational Gaga technique.” Kennedy is unsure as to when this piece will be performed.
Kennedy is also acting as an understudy for a duet choreographed by faculty member Courtney Harris in the faculty concert, which will be Feb. 21-23, 2013 at Grace Street Theatre.
Since Kennedy does not live in on-campus housing and is from Colorado, he will be staying in Richmond for the Thanksgiving break. He will be working at his seasonal job at Bath and Body Works in Short Pump Town Center on Black Friday.
Kennedy said, “I’m a little homesick. It’d just be nice to see my family for a little bit.”