‘Power’ spotlights local dancers and more
Rockport — Hip-hop, lyrical, jazz, contemporary, folk, interpretive and belly dancing all will be featured in a lively program called “Power Performance” Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19, at the Strom Auditorium of Camden Hills Regional High School, off Route 90. Performances will be 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Nearly 40 Midcoast dancers will take to the stage including amateur dancers representing a wide range of experience and age plus such professionals as Shana Bloomstein; Bonnie Branch of Swing & Sway Dancing; Kari and Marlee Lueham of 5Rhythms dance; and well-known Nobleboro belly dancer Nathifa Shakti.
The show is produced and choreographed by Kea Tesseyman, owner and CEO of Camden dance studio Kinetic Energy Alive, as a program is a tribute to her adopted hometown. The program’s hip-hop numbers will be infused with the funk and original 1970s vibe of what Tesseyman calls “true hip-hop — with no connection to alcohol or drugs.” Another dance creates a visual metaphor for the importance of helping each other to achieve goals. One of the other numbers brings together the entire company for what Tesseyman characterizes as a slow-motion tai chi.
The two-hour, multi-media program also will feature a series of short documentaries showcasing Maine Media Workshops and other local organizations.
“The show will be very entertaining, but it is also designed to be inspiring. I want members of the audience to see that they really could dance themselves and discover how empowering and freeing it is, said Tesseyman, who said she also wants to celebrate local resources and groups and demonstrate how “when we come together as one community working together, we are creating a better tomorrow.”
Tesseyman moved to Camden with her family when she was 12 and said the support of people and groups she encountered here helped her find her personal strengths. She especially noted the generosity and encouragement of her first dance teacher, Annie Laurita, with whom she went on to choreograph and teach. Dance has been a source of empowerment for Tesseyman, and through her work with young people today she passes this on.
“I see myself in these teens,” she said. “When I was their age, I didn’t feel like I fit in. I grew up poor. I had a very bad self-image. Dance allowed me to overcome all of that and learn to believe in myself.”
The first time Tesseyman has mounted a presentation on her own. In the past, she has worked with Penobscot Bay YMCA, Rockport Dance Conservatory and Swing & Sway. She has danced in Portland, Boston, New York City, and California, but the Midcoast is where she wants to be.
“I believe in this community and want to give back to it. The Camden area has good schools, amazing people, amazing opportunities, and so much beauty. It’s a wonderful place to grow up,” she said.
Tesseyman works with local pediatrician Kevin Strong on Dunk the Junk, an initiative to prevent and reverse teen obesity. In addition, she is a frequent guest at local schools where she promotes the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy and suicide. She shares with students her belief — from personal experience — that kids can learn to love themselves, turn hardship into good and create a better life for themselves.
The “Power Performance” venue is especially fitting, as it was on the stage of Strom Auditorium that, as a Camden Hills student, Tesseyman first performed in a talent show.
“I’m proof that dreaming of a better tomorrow can make it happen. I dreamed of dancing on stage when I was a sad and bullied twelve-year-old, and it happened when I was 17. I dreamed of one day being a teacher, and I’ve been teaching since I was 18,” she said.
Tickets are $15 in advance and will be $17 at the door. Advance tickets are available at HAV II in Camden, the Grasshopper Shop in Rockland,and directly from Tesseyman (975-4450 or firstname.lastname@example.org), as well as at a fundraising bake sale Friday, May 10.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or email@example.com.