The School of Dance is celebrating the success of two current BFA students, Du’Bois A’Keen, and Kelsey Grills.
Du’Bois A’Keen’s work, “Beyond This,” was originally performed in this spring’s Days of Dance. The work was one of two selected by the School of Dance to represent Florida State at the American College Dance Association’s Southeastern Regional Conference in March. After being adjudicated along with other student works from across the region, “Beyond This” was selected for a performance at the conference’s final gala along with fellow senior Thryn Saxon’s “Silenced”. Upon returning from the conference, A’Keen received the news that “Beyond This” will be one of three works representing the Southeastern region in a performance at the Kennedy Center June 4th through 7th. A’Keen states, “Honestly it all feels like a dream. This year has been filled with so much success and beauty. To have the opportunity to present my work at a national level is truly a height.” He credits much of the success of “Beyond This” to the hard work and dedication of his dancers, all fellow FSU School of Dance students. A’Keen is graduating from the School of Dance’s BFA program this spring, but will be returning in the fall as a MFA candidate.
Kelsey Grills is also in the news as a recipient of a Florida State University Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Award. She plans to study gendered performances manifested in body language. Grills explains, “As a life-long dancer, I have developed an extremely passionate interest for physicalized constructs and contexts. I have become intensely interested in how one’s movement language can either empower or disempower their social identity.” She used this inspiration to create “Two-Point Stance,” a work presented at FSU School of Dance’s Days of Dance this spring. She considers “Two-Point Stance” a “jumping off point” for her research into how we perform identity as well as a starting place to delve into her own artistry. Through Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Award (URCAA) funding, she will reflect upon “Stance” through the creation of a documentary outlining the creative process and performance of the choreography. She will use th is reflection to draw conclusions about the meaning of the work as well as create a formal statement of her artistic voice and process. Kelsey is wrapping up her junior year at FSU, and her long term choreographic goal is to “continue to make work based of my personal life and the world around me. I am so inspired by people, identity and how we express ourselves through movement.”