Choreographer attempts to raise awareness about Fair Trade for the Philly Fringe.

Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries obtain better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as social and environmental standards. For Jenna Faye Eugenides, with the raising of her own awareness, she decided to address the issue of Fair Trade, through the medium she knows best, dance. Her new dance work, Re-Emergence, will be presented on Saturday, September 11th at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe in conjunction with MM2 Modern Dance’s performance at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center in Drexel Hill, PA.

Jenna goes on to explain her involvement. “About six months ago, I went to see a friends’ band play and came across an artist called The Homeless Gospel Choir. The lyrics really got to me. I started thinking about how many people, including myself, are ignorant about how their purchasing choices affect others in the world. For example, if I want to save myself two dollars when buying coffee, I end up buying a brand that most likely receives their coffee beans from sources where workers are treated poorly in unbearable conditions, and barely being paid, if at all. And it’s not just coffee but clothes, chocolate, household items, and almost any other product imaginable. The worst part is most people don’t even think about it. It is important to me because I don’t want to purchase things that cause another persons’ grief.”

Conveying these concepts through movement was another whole challenge. Jenna explains, “In Re-Emergence, the choreography shows three dancers continuously taking from the other two dancers, the way consumers are continuously taking from hard working individuals in other places. The audiences should notice the split between the two groups, and the way the actions of each group effects the other. At the end of the piece, the three takers realize what they are doing and start to give back, aka buy Fair Trade. They reunite with the two dancers that they have been taking from, and the reconciliation brings all the dancers together. I want the piece to give the audience an inside look at something real and meaningful. It’s about coming together and improving the lives of others by changing the way we live ours.”

Jenna is a recent graduate from Eastern University. While at Eastern, she had the opportunity to interact with fellow student and music major, Daniel Ison. In Jenna’s search for the perfect accompaniment to her choreography, she asked Dan if he could create an original composition for her dance. The collaboration that ensued came together in one unified statement. At the upcoming Fringe performance, Daniel Ison will perform his new composition, A Friendly Passing, with fellow students, Paul Buehler on Cello, Rachel Fahrenbruch on flute and Amanda Glatfelter on violin. Jenna is quick to add, “it is a unifying experience to work with others in art. Instead of layering isolated movement sequences to already recorded music, the artists work together to create one single performance, and that is very satisfying.”

For Jenna, the upcoming Fringe Festival will mark not only the premiere of her new dance work but also her own Emergence on to the Philly dance scene. “This is my first time performing at the Philly Fringe festival and I am very excited. To have my choreography displayed at such a large and popular arts festival is a grand step forward for me in my career as a professional dancer and choreographer. My past experience with performing was much more personal through studio recitals or college concerts, but the Philly Fringe will be my first time performing for a large audience of new faces to critique me, and I think that is great. I’m just excited to be sharing the art that I love with the city I love.”

MM2 Modern Dance

Saturday, September 11, 2010
3 Shows: 2:30pm, 4:30pm & 7:30pm
Run Time: 50 minutes; suitable for all ages.
Venue: Upper Darby Performing Arts Center
601 Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill, PA 19026
For discount tickets: purchase online at and enter coupon code: mm2dance