Penn Dance was founded in 1975 as the first performing dance company at the University of Pennsylvania. Penn Dance is a co-ed, student-run dance company that prides itself on its innovative and expressive performances. While primarily a modern dance company, our dancers come from a variety of backgrounds and have been trained in styles ranging from ballet to modern to hip-hop to Latin. Influenced by various techniques and forms of movement, our performances contain a unique array of styles.
Penn Dance is the only dance company on campus with a professional artistic director, Rachel Kantra Beal, and artistic director emeritus, Nancy Kantra. Currently on the faculty of the University of Arts and Koresh School of Dance, Rachel Kantra Beal plays a crucial role in shaping the company members as dancers and in directing the show. Dancers also receive professionally instructed modern and ballet classes twice a week.
Penn Dance produces two distinct programs: the fall show, a collaborative production with the Penn Glee Club, and the spring show, an independent solo show. Other than choreography by artistic director, Rachel Kantra Beal, and choreography by guest artists, the shows are entirely student-choreographed and student-led. Members are given the opportunity to express their own personalities and creative visions and dancers are involved in the lighting, costuming and promotion of each performance. The company also dances in a wide variety of campus events, including coffeehouses, Relay for Life, the Emily Sachs Dance Benefit, and the Freshmen Performing Arts Night, to name a few.
Penn Dance is a close community that is committed to maintaining a high level of professionalism, dedication and artistic expression. Throughout its history, Penn Dance has strived to encourage artistic, technical and personal growth. The company is truly a close group of friends that loves to share their passion for dance with each other and the greater community.
Photo Credit: Isabella Cuan