Jenna Thomsen, left, Nicole Dlug and Jared Douglas are among the performers in the dance production "A Broken Key." The show opens Friday, Feb. 10, at the Anderson Center's Osterhout Concert Theater.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Student dancers to present ‘A Broken Key’Tweet
Natalie Carabello and Jasmine Carrig were ecstatic to learn that the first Main Stage Theatre production of the spring semester would be a dance show.
“I almost had a heart attack because I’m a senior and this is my last chance for something like this,” Carabello said. “It’s been really cool.”
“Dance has always been my favorite hobby, so hearing that there would be a main stage show made me think ‘I have to audition for that,’” said Carrig, a junior. “I’m excited I got into it: This has been the most fun experience I’ve had in college.”
Carabello and Carrig are two of the 10 dancers who will be featured in “A Broken Key.” The show will be on the Osterhout Concert Theater stage at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10-11, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. Tickets are $10, general admission; $8, faculty/staff/senior; and $6, students (with ID).
“A Broken Key” – an original dance production choreographed by JoEllen Kuhlman – offers 10 scenes that each represent a “key” in the story. Those keys take the audience on a journey from love and marriage to jealousy and healing to moving on to new stages.
“Every person can take things differently,” said Kuhlman, who teaches jazz, modern and tap at the University. “I call the first (scene) ‘The Key of Captivation,’ which means falling in love. It fits the music and the story we are telling. Our story is generic enough that you can see it however your mind takes it.”
“It’s a visually appealing collection of dances with an emphasis on athletic capability and stamina,” sophomore dancer Nicole Dlug said.
The show’s range of movements makes it a good fit for both dance fans and novices, Carabello said.
“A lot of (the show) is modern- and contemporary-based,” she said. “We have the standard, classical variety of movement, but it’s updated. So if you’re not really someone who goes to dance regularly, you don’t have to worry about whether or not we’ll be your cup of tea.”
The students started rehearsals in the fall semester, but ran into a challenge when faced with a long holiday break.
“We have a lot of partnering and that was new to some of them,” Kuhlman said. “And because everyone has a different background in training, we had to work to blend the styles together.”
“Everyone brings their own elements to the show,” Dlug said. “What Jo did that was really wonderful was pick some of the styles we are best at and made sure to highlight them in each of our dances.”
Kuhlman said the dancers’ talents have been instrumental to the show’s development.
“I couldn’t have done it without them,” she said. “I rely on them a lot. I choreograph for them. It’s not like I come in and say, ‘You’re going to do this, this and this.’ I like to collaborate and make sure things fit.”
The dancers said have also gained an appreciation for what it takes to put on a main stage show, especially on the technical side. “A Broken Key” is student-designed, with Glenn Pepe as scenic designer, Mike Gallaher as lighting designer and Barbara Delo as costume designer.
“That’s unusual for a Main Stage performance done by the department,” said Josh Spodick, a senior who serves as stage manager and assistant lighting designer. “I’ve always thought the best way to learn is by doing, so it’s definitely been a good experience for all of us.”
“You can read textbooks all day, but until you have your own design and you can see how the dancers interact with it, you can never really learn,” Pepe said.
The cast and crew are looking forward to showcasing “A Broken Key” to audiences that will include fellow students, community members and younger dancers from the region. They hope another dance show will be on the schedule next year and that dance will grow at Binghamton University.
“The feeling you get from live performance is unlike anything else,” Pepe said. “You can’t get it from movies or TV. I think all of us remember seeing our first dance show or musical. It’s something to remember forever.”
“I already see more people looking forward to taking dance classes here,” Dlug said. “From there, they can build their technique and audition for shows like this.
“I feel like we are definitely going to go above and beyond and impress everybody.”