The State Dance Company and Panoramic Dance Project have started this school year off with a bang. Both companies dove right into residencies throughout the weekend of September 3, 2021, working with extremely talented guest artists Kassandra Taylor Newberry and Shayla Taylor, respectively. The companies were tasked with learning an entire piece in only a few days, which is a challenging feat, to say the least. These residencies can be great opportunities for dancers to expand their movement vocabulary and make new connections in the dance world.
Kassandra Taylor Newberry’s modern repertoire includes extremely fast and detailed movement. Students have to instinctively know what’s coming next in order to keep up with the rest of the group. Many members of the State Dance Company had never seen or performed any movement similar to this, so it was a fun challenge to navigate. Kassandra describes her pieces as puzzles for the audience to figure out, and that’s exactly what this piece is. Every section is so intentional, and when the whole thing comes together it’s so interesting and exciting to watch.
Shayla Taylor’s vocabulary is more on the contemporary side, while also incorporating elements from hip-hop and lyrical. Panoramic Dance Project member Haley Curtis describes the experience as very introspective, “as the piece requires us as dancers to find our truth behind the movement.” Members of Panoramic also found this style and process to be somewhat new to them, so, similarly, they were eager for a challenge.
Both companies felt that this residency weekend was a great way to bond and have fun with both old and new members. Being thrown straight into a residency weekend your first year can be intimidating, but the new dancers took it in stride. Being part of a dance company on campus is being part of a family, so having experiences like this makes it so easy to get to know each other quickly and form real connections. PDP and the SDC are so excited to perform these pieces in the fall concert, which will be on November 11 and 12, 2021.