Meet four dance alumni who are still performing together at the Patricia Kenny Dance Collection.
For a growing number of Adelphi alumni, these are far from mere fantasies. They are encapsulations of how the network they created as students has fueled them as professionals—and how it continues to nurture today’s students.
by Andrea Maneri
As Adelphi undergraduates, Kelly Butterworth ’11, M.A. ’12, Ashley Chandler ’10, Andy Jacobs ’13 and Amanda Webster ’12 trained together in AUPAC’s studios and performed on its stages. Today, they are still dancing together as members of the Patricia Kenny Dance Collection (PKDC).
Ms. Chandler was the first of the four alumni to gain a spot with the PKDC. “I never would have thought Adelphi would play such an integral part of my life,” she said. It was through her Adelphi instructor, Heather Berest—a former Paul Taylor Dance Company member—that Ms. Chandler got a chance in her senior year to perform with the PKDC. That led to a permanent spot with the company.
As the PKDC continued to grow and artistic director Patricia Kenny was interested in bringing new dancers on board, Ms. Chandler looked to the talent at her alma mater. Each year since 2010, Adelphi alumni have joined the company. “It was so natural,” said Ms. Chandler of the four finding a home with the PKDC. “And it’s so nice to dance together. This company has an unbelievable connection on stage.”
Ms. Chandler explained that in addition to the time they dedicate to the company—they practice weekly and perform monthly—she and her Adelphi classmates also hold other jobs and manage to fit in dance or fitness classes in the mornings or evenings.
“You need to be disciplined,” said Mr. Jacobs who also dances with the Mazzini Dance Collective and Amy Marshall Dance Company. “If you don’t get up to take that class or go to that audition, somebody else is going to. And they’ll be one step ahead of you. That’s something [Adelphi Assistant Professor] Orion Duckstein told us, and I’ll never forget it.”
The four dancers were drawn to Adelphi (from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York) for similar reasons: the dance program’s caliber and intimate size, the University’s location—just 20 miles east of Manhattan; and the talent or merit scholarships each received.
At Adelphi, they benefited from a broad education. “We studied techniques from Taylor to Graham to Muller to Horton…and were trained in so many different styles,” Ms. Webster said. “You’d be upstairs taking classical ballet in the morning. In the afternoon, you’d be downstairs sliding across the floor, being as raw with your movement as you can.”
“We worked with brilliant professors and world-renowned choreographers,” Ms. Butterworth said. “I’m so grateful for that and for the performance opportunities—those led by faculty and outside choreographers as well as the student choreography we get to put on at the end of every semester.”
Recently, the alumni returned to Adelphi to teach a master class. “It was surreal to demonstrate at the front of the class and be able to say to the students, ‘I was exactly where you are, thinking, ‘Can I do this?’ And now I am where I hoped I’d be, dancing with a company,’” Ms. Webster said.
“The fact that Professor Frank Augustyn and Adelphi welcomed us back says that our university cares where its students move on to and that they want to showcase their alumni,” Ms. Butterworth said. “It shows Adelphi supports its dancers—past, present and future.”
For further information, please contact:
Strategic Communications Director
p – 516.237.8634
e – firstname.lastname@example.org