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Kelly Prentice on the beauty of imperfection
Celebrating 40 Years
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Next month is Rivers Merge Dance Festival!  I am planning/co-directing this local dance event alongside Lafayette choreographer-in-residence Ben Munisteri for the Williams Center for the Arts stage(!). It’s unnerving, doing this for the first time, while at the same time it’s an honor and pleasure. In the month of my 40th birthday (!!), I’m planning an event that celebrates the 40th anniversary of the LVAIC Dance Consortium, which has presented cutting-edge dance companies and residencies on Lehigh Valley college campuses since 1975 (many of which I benefited from as a student at DeSales).

How did I go from a PR/freelance writing into planning a dance festival? I know, it is wild.  Four years ago (or maybe even five, time’s flying) I began yoga nidra practice in which I went into a deep meditation and asked, “What is my deepest heartfelt desire?” The word DANCE came up over and over again. I had no idea what to do with it.  I continued going to dance class, persevered on pointe, danced whenever I could fit it into the family schedule. I met some dancers locally and had the privilege to perform with them in 2012 at the Alvin Ailey Center in NYC in a piece choreographed by Lafayette Professor Carrie Rohman, set to music composed by Professor Kirk O’Riordan.

A year after having my second baby, a job at Lafayette College serendipitously came along to coordinate Choreographers on Campus, a 3-year program supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. As part of my duties, I began to meet incredibly talented choreographers, like Ben, and reconnect with dance teachers/choreographers I had not seen in many, many years, like Dawn Ketterman Benner, Karen Dearborn, Margo Clifford Ging, Kim Maniscalco, and Mary Anne Hoffman — each of them part of the LVAIC Dance Consortium. It brought back my best childhood memories, grounded me, and gave me a sense of pride in the Lehigh Valley dance scene. So much had happened while I was “busy” doing other things.

Part of the mission of Choreographers on Campus is to raise the bar of dance in the Valley and provide a venue for local professional choreographers. I remember distinctly dancing in a showcase of local  choreographers during (what I believe was) Bethlehem’s Centennial celebration in the 1980s. It was a collaborative event at Foy Hall, Moravian College that left an imprint on my memory.  It was time for another collaboration like this, with the dance talent developing here. Ben thought it might be a good idea, so we sent out a call for proposals. The response we received blew us away.

So, for my birthday, I ask you to join us at the Rivers Merge Dance Festival!  What a show these choreographers are bringing, some of it new work, and even a site-specific work at the Riverside/Scott Park in Easton! Tickets are free, but we ask that you do reserve yours at the Williams Center box officeRiversMerge

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