An exhilarating multi-media event at Strom Auditorium on April 4 and 5 will present a series of short film documentaries and live dance performances woven together into stories of personal triumph, inspiration, and motivation. Two dozen Midcoast dancers ranging in age from teens to nearly 60 will take part in this major presentation.
The program, called Power Performance: Legacy Rising, is the second annual Power Performance event, choreographed, produced, and presented by Camden’s Kea Tesseyman, Founder/Director of Kinetic Energy Alive Productions. It employs a broad spectrum of music, from that of Michael Jackson and James Blake, to folk, hip-hop, and classical. One young man dances to music he has composed himself.
The event will address head-on some of the toughest and most important challenges of today’s society. A short video introduces each challenge, and the dance that follows expresses success over it.
In the first presentation, 11 teens share the sheer fun of dancing in a traditional hip-hop number. This will be followed by a series of what Tesseyman calls Power Performances, in which individual dancers express their struggles and successes with such life obstacles as seasonal depression, Lyme disease, and economic hardship. Act Two will address addiction and bullying, not only from the perspective of the victim, but also from the perspective of how anger and feelings of isolation can turn a person into a bully. The entire troupe of 13 adults and 11 teens will perform together in a strong, uplifting finale.
Following the conclusion, members of the audience will be offered an opportunity to have their reactions and thoughts videoed.
On both evenings, complimentary hors d’oeuvres prepared by Stephanie Shershow of SwingChef Private Catering will be served from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Seating begins at 6:30 and the performance starts at 7 p.m. Free treats created by Hillary Bousum, AKA the Camden Cake Lady, will be served at intermission.
The event’s short films were produced by Videographers Brian Goding of Bridge to Shore Films, and Kathryn Matlack. In addition to interviews with members of the dance company, these mini documentaries include discussions with Kay Stephens, whose book, Cyberslammed, offers ways to combat cyber bullying; and Chuck Nyugen, bullying counselor, licensed therapist, and professional martial arts instructor who speaks at schools throughout Maine. Nyugen will also dance with Tesseyman.
Tesseyman is passionate about encouraging teens and people of all ages to grow from their troubles by seeking healthy outlets for self expression and self affirmation.
“There’s so much pressure today to look a certain way and be a certain way, which can be very false. We need to embrace our natural, authentic selves—to reach inside, and love ourselves one hundred percent, to overcome addiction to false things.”
She hopes audience members will come away with a heightened awareness of the importance of asking for help from friends, family, and mentors. “It takes courage to ask for help,” says Tesseyman. “But it makes one strong and humble.”
Tesseyman acknowledges, “It’s scary to be this authentic in a society loaded with stigmas surrounding such relevant issues that need addressing. We deal with some heavy subjects. But throughout our performances, the message is always ‘Inside your struggle is your triumph.’”
Dance has always been a source of empowerment for Tesseyman, and through her work with young people today she passes this on. “I see myself in my teen students,” she says. “When I was their age, I was bullied, too. Dance allowed me to overcome all of that and learn to believe in myself. It’s wonderful to watch these teens discover their own personal power through dance. I also have students in their 40s and 50s who find new freedom to express themselves through dance. It’s an honor to witness such transformations.”
Tesseyman offers dance and fitness classes throughout the year at High Mountain Hall in Camden. The fall and winter classes focus on putting together the annual spring Power Performance event, while the spring and summer classes are all about fun.
She has been teaching and directing dance shows in the local area for 12 years in collaboration with other groups. Tesseyman has trained and performed in Portland, Boston, New York City, and California, but the Midcoast is where she wants to be.
Power Performance: Legacy Rising marks the culmination of her company’s fourth year running strong. She is thrilled to continue presenting dance and short film events in the area. In addition to these, she has this past year embarked on national tours in which she gives presentations as a motivational speaker and performer, sharing the method of Power Performance.
Advance tickets for the Power Performance event on April 4 and 5 are $15 and available at HAV II in Camden and directly from Tesseyman (975-4450 or email@example.com). Tickets are $17 the night of the performance.