Dance: Power Performance at the Strom this weekend

These guys look pretty mellow now, but stand back

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Terrific people? Not so common.

Every now and again I’ll get to know someone who just blows me away. Check out my “terrific people” category at the end of this post and you’ll see a few. Michael Weber. Paul Newman. It’s not a very long list because, to me, truly terrific people aren’t so plentiful as, say, red squirrels. Not even close.

Welcome Kea Tesseyman to the short list. She is the founder and driving force behind Kinetic Energy Alive, which is going to strut its stuff this weekend, Friday and Saturday nights, at Camden Hills Regional High School’s Strom Auditorium in Camden, with “Power Performance: Make a Change.” $15 advance tickets, $17 at the door. Be there for a couple of hours – you won’t be disappointed.

When I worked in public television a few years back, I spent some time with a quasi-experimental production group that collaborated with some of the country’s best modern dance choreographers to create new works conceived as “dance for television,” or “dance for film.” I saw the finished pieces, I watched them in production and editing, I wrote about this kind of dance off and on for a couple of years. (On a personal note, I don’t dance. Dance to me is as exotic and threatening as bungee-jumping). The “gold standard” for modern dance back then was Twyla Tharp. Now in her 70s, she still works.

I’ll go on record as saying Kea Tesseyman – as a choreographer and performer – is every bit as good, as inventive, creative, and polished as Twyla Tharp. Yikes, and she lives and works in Camden! I want to ask her: how do you do it? Where does it all come from?

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There’s a strong thematic foundation for Kea’s work with her troupe: it’s all about strength of self, confidence, overcoming fears… all of those things that might fall under the rubric of self-affirmation. But that’s just the start. Her energy level, her drive, her technical expertise and her ability to inspire are nearly jaw-dropping. Take your average everyday fern growing in the woods, and Kea could get it to dance.

I mentioned her “troupe.” Well, like her choreography, her troupe is a bit organic. People have come, then gone. New people come in. But there’s a strong, solid center, and from the rehearsals I’ve seen so far, they’re nailing it. (Okay, my wife’s in the troupe, so I’m biased). And these dances are not for the timid – they’re bold and athletic and (as they sometimes say about dance) in apparent defiance of gravity.

Kea: with your skill, wisdom, big heart, demanding leadership, and thermonuclear energy, you blow me away. Break a leg!

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I’m going to feature this “Adopt a Backpack” banner every post – to feed a lot of hungry local kids – till we know none of them will go hungry the next school year.  Thanks for helping!

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Ned White

About Ned White

Ned White is a writer, novelist, crossword puzzle constructor, humorist, traveler through 49 states, and at times a danger in the kitchen. He lives with his wife in South Thomaston.