On Friday, Nov. 19, the highly-anticipated third annual Choreographer Showcase made its debut, premiering during the school day at 2:00 p.m. in Roberts Theater. A special schedule allowed for the entire Upper School as well as Form 2 students to attend.
“The energy in the theater that afternoon was absolutely electric,” Director of Theater Kyle Reynolds said proudly. Later that evening, a second show took place at 7:00 p.m. After many hours of practice and a busy tech week, the students were overjoyed to finally showcase all of their hard work and talent.
“It’s extremely satisfying to see all the passion and work of me and my fellow students payoff at the end in a beautiful show,” junior Frank Pu said. “The whole process has been really exciting and it has encouraged me to continue on the path of being a dancer.”
For the third year in a row, Upper School students ranging from novice to experienced dancers had the remarkable opportunity to work with local choreographers from the greater Hartford area and perform a wide array of dances, from lyrical to hip hop to ballet. This year, students had the honor of learning from and working with five different accomplished choreographers: Lili St. Amand, Ronnie Bowman, Savana Jones, Meghan McDermott and Rachel Gnatowski.
Lili St. Amand has been teaching hip hop since she was only 16. Her choreographing and performing arts background is impressively wide ranging, from starring in “Hamlet” and “Romeo and Juliet” to choreographing “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” to receiving the Jumpstart Award this past March through the Connecticut Dance Alliance.
Ronnie Bowman will be making his Broadway Debut in Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man” playing at the Winter Garden Broadway Theater in New York City.
Savana Jonesis a well-known dance instructor, performer, and choreographer in the Greater Hartford district with 12 years of working with students of all ages and abilities. Ms. Joenesis is currently a company member of “Dimensional Dance, ” a performer in the outdoor production of “Night Fall” since 2016 and performs with various live bands. This is her second year working and performing in the Choreographer Showcase.
Meghan McDermott is a member and co-founder of IMMIX Dance Project, a contemporary dance company that focuses on collaborating with local artists to create new work and performance opportunities. The company was born out of a desire to collaborate with local artists in an effort to grow both individually and together.
Rachel Gnatowski co-founded New England Ballet Theatre in January 2020, a professional ballet company serving the Greater Hartford region, where she currently performs and works as Co-Artistic Director.
“It was truly a privilege to be able to learn from such talented choreographers for the third year in a row,” Frank said. “With their feedback, I was able to hone my skills and grow as a dancer and as a performer.”
The Choreographer Showcase, although relatively new to the KO community, has taken off and gained traction tremendously since its beginning in 2019, and the program has no intentions of slowing down.
“I think it’s a really special program,” Mr. Reynolds said. “It’s a program that didn’t exist four years ago and now is really on fire. I think it’s important to know that if you’re a dancer, KO is a place for you.”
Choreographer Showcase is a program for anyone – not just seasoned dancers – looking for a creative outlet, a resource for honing their craft, and a community that celebrates expression.
“Choreographer Showcase is amazing!” Frank praised. “Everyone should consider joining!”