Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Deeply Rooted Welcomes Guest Choreographer Shaness Kemp

Summer Guest Artists: Shaness Kemp

As part of its Summer Dance Intensive, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater presents its Emerging Choreographers Showcase, which provides an environment for emerging choreographers and dancers to cultivate creativity, deepen technical skill and gain performance experience. Also serving as a platform for established choreographers, ECS facilitates further exploration of choreographic approach.
Shaness Kemp, one of two artists setting choreography for this summer’s Showcase, is a native of Nassau, Bahamas and holds both Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees from Temple University. She is a certified Umfundalai teacher and has taught at various institutions, festivals and intensives. She has trained with several notable artists and professional dance companies, including Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Kariamu & Company: Traditions, Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, Eleone Dance Theatre, Philadanco! The Philadelphia Dance Company, Urban Bush Women, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Rennie Harris Puremovement, The Katherine Dunham Seminar and The American Dance Festival. She was the 2015–2016 recipient of the Ellen Forman Memorial Award, and her work has been presented nationally and internationally. Kemp was an original member of The Clothesline Muse theatre production and performed at its premiere at the Painted Bride in Philadelphia in 2014.
When and how did you first discover dance and decide it would be your life’s work?
Dance has always been a part of my life. I discovered dance at a young age, five to be exact. It was the first time I “rushed” for Junkanoo (Bahamian cultural parade). I was hooked. At around the age of seven, I began my formal training with Gabriella Szabo and Lawrence Carroll. The rest has been a great ride, and I’ve been dancing in various capacities ever since. 
What have been some highlights of your professional dance career? Both as a performer and choreographer?
There have been a few; however, receiving my Umfundalai certification definitely meant a lot to me. Learning and growing has also been a highlight of my career. I’ve grown and learned so much over the years that it keeps me humble and grateful. 

What made you decide to become an instructor? What particular satisfaction do you derive from that?
I became an instructor because of the importance of giving back and sharing what I’ve learned and gained during my journey thus far. There have been many individuals who have poured into me over the years and informed my life and dance for the better. It’s my duty to do the same. The satisfaction is knowing that I am taking just as much time to pour as I have taken to drink.
What inspires you as a choreographer? 
I’m most inspired by the dancers that I work with. Naturally, I may have an idea in mind for my choreographic work, but it truly is the dancers and their unique abilities and willingness to surrender to the process that really inspires me. 
What are you looking forward to as you work with Deeply Rooted in Chicago this summer?
Honestly, I’m really looking forward to seeing and being with my Deeply Rooted family. I am looking forward to hugs and love, sweat and work. I’m looking forward to working with the dancers and guiding an experience that’ll leave a lasting impression on their artistry and their lives. 

Don't miss Deeply Rooted Dance Theater's Summer Dance Intensive
and Emerging Choreographers Showcase performances

Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20 at 7 p.m. at
the Reva and David Logan Center for the Performing Arts,
915 E. 60th Street, Chicago. 

A reception follows the July 20 performance.
Tickets are $25; a VIP ticket of $150
provides additional support for these programs.

Tickets are available at summer-dance-intensive-2019.eventbrite.com

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