“Power Performance” at Strom May 18-19 to Spotlight Local Dancers, Community Collaboration
Hip hop, lyrical, jazz, contemporary, folk, interpretive, and belly dancing will all be featured in a lively program called “Power Performance” on May 18 and 19 at Strom Auditorium in Rockport.
Tickets ($15 in advance) will be on sale at a Cinco de Mayo carwash on May 5 at Key Bank in Camden and at a bake sale outside French and Brawn in Camden on May 10. Both events are planned as fundraisers to help with the considerable cost of producing the show. Tickets are also being sold at HAV II in Camden and the Grasshopper Shop in Rockland.
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, and Kari and Marlee Lueham of 5Rhythms dance. Well-known Nobleboro belly dancer Nathifa Shakti will also perform.
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 will also feature a series of short documentaries showcasing Maine Media Workshops and other local organizations.
“The show will be very entertaining,” says its producer and choreographer Kea Tesseyman. “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. I also want to celebrate the great resources and groups we have here in Camden, and demonstrate how when we come together as one community working together, we are creating a better tomorrow.”
For Tesseyman, owner and CEO of Camden dance studio Kinetic Energy Alive, the program is a tribute to her adopted hometown. She moved to Camden with her family when she was 12, and says the support of people and groups she encountered here helped her find her personal strengths. She especially notes 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 says. “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. It’s wonderful to watch my students discover their own personal power through dance. I also have students in their 50s and 60s who find new freedom to express themselves through dance.”
While she has been directing and producing dance shows for more than a decade in collaboration with other local dance groups, this is the first time Tesseyman has mounted a presentation on her own. In the past, she has worked with the YMCA, the Rockport Dance Conservatory, and Swing & Sway.
Tesseyman 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.”
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.
Tesseyman points out that the venue for her first annual show is especially fitting, as it was on the stage of Strom Auditorium that, as a CHRHS student, she 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.
“Now, ‘Power Performance’ is my dream, and it’s coming true,’” she declares. “My mission for this show is to spread joy through movement, audio, and film. I want to celebrate the confidence, love, hope, and strength that can come through dance. I always tell my dancers that this is their path. I’m just guiding them and clearing the way for them to flow naturally, to evolve fearlessly as courageous, beautiful, and beloved children of this earth. But they must take the first step: They must step on stage.”
The show will be presented at Strom Auditorium at CHRHS on Saturday, May 18 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $17 at the door. In addition to being available at the carwash on May 5th and the bake sale on May 10th, tickets can be purchased at HAV II in Camden, at the Grasshopper Shop in Rockland, and directly from Tesseyman (975-4450 or firstname.lastname@example.org).