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Curious about Penn Dance? Find the answer to some frequently asked questions

11-03-21 Penn Glee Penn Dance Show DR Photos (SukhmanI Kaur)701-149.jpg
What are you all about?

Penn Dance was founded in 1975 as the first performing dance group at UPenn and we are the only dance group with a professional artistic director. While PD is primarily a modern dance group, our style is influenced by the various backgrounds of our dancers – blending modern, ballet, hip-hop, jazz, latin and tap. We are known for our innovative and emotive choreography – we dance to say something in addition to dancing for the show.

How frequently do you perform?

We perform a collab show in the fall with the Penn Glee Club and in the spring we present our solo show. Throughout the semester we also perform for a variety of university-wide and philanthropic events.

Who choreographs?

We have the pleasure of performing works choreographed by our professional artistic director, Rachel Kantra Beal, by our alumni and by guest choreographers. But the majority of pieces are choreographed by current company members. All members have the opportunity to choreograph for any and all of our shows. The piece – from choreography to lighting to costumes – is entirely in the hands of the choreographer.

Who is your artistic director?

Rachel Kantra Beal has been working with Penn Dance as an instructor and guest choreographer since 2004 and continues to guide Penn Dancers in her sixth season as the Artistic Director. Rachel has studied at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Koresh School of Dance, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, and holds a BFA from the University of the Arts. Find out more about Rachel here.

Do you take class?

The whole company takes one modern technique class and one ballet class per week. Classes are taught by our artistic director, Rachel Kantra Beal, and other professional dancers from around Philadelphia.

What is the time commitment like?

The advantage of Penn Dance is your ability to tailor your commitment. Each semester you can choose how many pieces you would like to be in. The president of Penn Dance plans rehearsals such that they fit into your schedule. On top of weekly rehearsals, there are two mandatory hour and half technique classes per week.

Do you spend time together outside of rehearsals?

Yes! Penn Dancers make some of their best friends through Penn Dance! Spontaneous study sessions, late-night chats, company wide parties, potlucks, dinners, mixers with other cool clubs on campus – we just can’t get enough of each other! Penn Dance is a fun and loving family you definitely want to join.

How can I audition?

Simply show up to one of our open auditions ready to dance. We hold two open auditions in the fall, which are followed by one callback. Be sure to follow our instagram for more updated information!

What are you looking for?

While technical ability is obviously something we consider, we are looking for passionate, expressive and hard-working dancers. We are not looking for the cookie-cutter, perfect technique dancer but are looking for someone unique who can bring something new to the company. 

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