Captivating, imaginative, visionaries in their approach, all describe the essence of a profound new artistry based in Indianapolis — Kenyetta Dance Company (KDC).
Meaning beautiful flower in Swahili, Kenyetta continues to emerge, develop and grow not only in the city but also in the arts community and the realm of dance.
KDC, under the direction of Vanessa Owens, founder, and her brother Nicholas Owens, co-director and artistic director, offer a prolific new repertoire of what some consider to be a breath of fresh air.
“We are a contemporary modern dance company, which means that most of the movements you see aren’t just characterized as ballet or modern, though we do build on the strengths of the classical dancer. We don’t utilize just one genre. They are all blended together which makes each movement new,” said Vanessa.
As crowds continue to be awed by KDC’s performances throughout the city, both directors emphasize the importance of aiding the creation of performer to artist. According to Nicholas there is a distinct difference and is reached solely through expression.
“Something that people recognize when we perform is the diversity within the group. We have what I consider true expression. It’s believable, and when people leave our performances it’s like they have had an experience,” he said.
This is the reason, according to Vanessa and Nicholas, audiences continue to support its performances. However, though their movements are unique, the evolution of their artistry through their movements is far greater.
With talent comes practice and KDC offers its members the opportunity to travel to auditions and conferences in the United States to help develop each dancer’s technical ability.
“We want to be a vehicle for dancers in their young adult lives. We have opened up the door of opportunity for our dancers to attend workshops and to take master classes. We drove the company to Chicago to audition for scholarships to attend Deeply Rooted Dance Company Summer Intensives,” said Vanessa.
These are the doors of opportunity Kenyetta hopes to continue to promote for its dancers while continually cultivating the community.
KDC, currently preparing for its first 2007-2008 season show, “Speaking Without Words” is a fundraiser for the company to attend the 20th Annual International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference. KDC has performed in IABD for three consecutive years allowing dancers the opportunity to network, perform and receive possible scholarships.
“All experiences including the conference help professionalize Kenyetta’s outlook in the dance discipline and give the dancers of Kenyetta an important history perspective on the Black tradition in dance,” said Iris Rosa, mentor to the Kenyetta Dance Company.
“It’s been a while since we have had one of our bigger shows, so the company is excited. People are expecting something big, so it is our job and my job as a choreographer to set pieces that will be an inspiration,” said Nicholas.
Taking a vastly different approach than their previous performances, “Speaking Without Words” being performed at the American Cabaret Theatre is distinct in what the message is supposed to be and the audience it’s attempting to reach.
“In ‘Speaking Without Words,’ I don’t think there will be very many question marks over people’s heads. Physically the dialogue expressed is so strong. There are going to be people who will need tissue boxes because there will be a lot of soul searching,” Vanessa said.
KDC, known for captivating audiences, creating a journey for the viewer and honing the artistic ability in each dancer embraces the community and is ecstatic about the new endeavors they will encounter as Kenyetta forges forward.
“Dancers are blessed in the way they are able to express themselves, Nick is blessed because God keeps giving him all these great ideas, and I keep encouraging him,” said Vanessa.
“Speaking Without Words”
Tickets: adults $20, children $12
Dates and times: Saturday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 11, 4 p.m.
For more information about Kenyetta Dance Company contact Vanessa Owens at (317) 430-5063 or visit kenyettadancecompany.com.