Local teen spreads her wings on center stage

The Reporter
Published: Wednesday, September 08, 2010

By Craig Ostroff
Managing Editor

Kristen Blundi is the first person to admit that she’s not the most talkative of people.

Well, maybe not the first.

Blundi isn’t the type of teen who is likely to ring up a thousand-dollar cell phone bill, but she has learned how to make her actions speak much louder than her words. Because while she may not exactly be a social butterfly, Blundi breaks out of her cocoon with dramatic flair once she spreads her wings on the dance floor.

“Everybody’s tried to make this girl talk, and she just smiles … and she dances,” said her mother, Tina Blundi, with a laugh. “The last two years she’s really come out of her shell, and her dancing’s improved dramatically since she started working with Ryan Tuerk [at the Dance Depot in Collegeville].

“Kristen is the type that will go to a dance class and stand in the back and hope that nobody notices her. But when they see her dance, then they pull her up front. She just loves to dance.”

It can be difficult to reconcile — being someone who prefers to be in the background, but whose talents bring her to the forefront. It’s not a problem for Blundi, however. She simply loses herself in the music and the motion.

“When you dance, you can be whoever you want,” Blundi said. “You can do whatever you want. I don’t know … I just love it.”

Though the 15-year-old from Obelisk may not seek out the spotlight, she’s certainly no stranger to it. Blundi said she’s been dancing since she was about 3 years old, and has studied jazz, tap, ballet and lyrical disciplines of dance. Nowadays she spends upwards of 15 hours a week in dance classes and practices, and the high school sophomore began classes this year at Lehigh Valley Charter School for the Performing Arts, where she will spend even more time refining her technique.

Earlier this year, Blundi auditioned for and was accepted into MM2 (formerly Music and Motion Dance Promotions) dance company. She is the only high school student among a troupe of eight, the rest of whom are all of college age or recent college graduates.

“Her dancing technique and also what she brings in terms of self-expression … is just wonderful,” said Steven Weisz, founder and artistic director of MM2. “It’s striking to watch on stage. She gets lost in dance, has a beautiful way of expressing herself and takes on a whole other persona when she’s on stage that’s just wonderful to watch.

“When all of the ingredients come together — technique, the ability to perform for the audience, the company interplay between dancers and self-expression — when it’s all there, then the magic happens. And we definitely saw that in her.”

For Blundi, trying out for MM2 was not about proving anything to anybody but herself. And it also offered her a chance to spend even more time dancing.

“I found the company online one day,” she said. “I just wanted to know that I could do it. I don’t normally do things like that. That was out of the box, to try out for something like this.”

Her past performances were likely a good indication of how she would fare in her tryout. In the past competition season, Blundi has racked up an eye-popping number of awards and accolades for her dance at local, regional and national competitions. Dancing to “Then You Looked at Me,” Blundi took top honors in her categories in events such as Access Broadway, Showstopper, Star Power, Beyond the Stars 2010 and the National Dance Showcase, in which she was also chosen for the Star Champions Performance Group.

Ask her mother what she believes is the young dancer’s greatest moment, and she’ll point not to any medal or certificate, nor even to a specific competition. For Tina Blundi, the greatest moment was the first time she saw a shy young girl blossom into a confident dancer.

“The first time she ever did a solo, everybody from our studio that saw her, cried,” Tina Blundi said. “Her coach cried, the owners cried, I cried, my husband cried. A lot of times if she’s dancing around the house, she doesn’t go full-out, she just kind of goes through the motions. But when she got up on stage it was so amazing. Everybody cried.”

Saturday, Blundi will become one of the youngest performers ever to grace the stage during the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe when she and her mates at MM2 dance company perform “Emergence” at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center.

For Blundi, however, it’s not about breaking age barriers or taking part in a prestigious local festival.

For Blundi, it’s all about spending time on the stage, doing what she does best, and what she loves most.

“I feel excited, and honored, I guess,” Blundi said of performing at the Philly Fringe Festival. Her voice begins to trail off, but not before adding, “I just want to dance. I just want to do what I love … wherever I can do it.”

MM2, modern dancers from Drexel Hill, Emerge into Philly Fringe

Published: Tuesday, September 07, 2010

By Craig Ostroff
Managing Editor

Emergence — as it applies to systems found in nature — describes how actions and reactions of individual elements can give rise to well-organized behavior. For MM2 dance company — formerly Music and Motion Dance Productions — emergence is a chance to highlight its young dancers and choreographers in a performance that is thoughtful and thought-provoking, graceful and powerful, intelligent and accessible.

Read more

Company Interview with Montgomery News

Interview by Montgomery News Network
Craig Ostroff, Managing Editor

MM2 dance company to stage Emergence at Philly Fringe Festival

Published: Sunday, September 05, 2010
http://tiny.cc/0llxx
By Craig Ostroff, Managing Editor

Emergence – as it applies to systems found in nature – describes how actions and reactions of individual elements can give rise to well-organized behavior. For MM2 dance company – formerly Music and Motion Dance Productions – emergence is a chance to highlight its young dancers and choreographers in a performance that is thoughtful and thought-provoking, graceful and powerful, intelligent and accessible.

Read more

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.

Read more

Philly Fringe reaches new heights

NEWS OF DELAWARE COUNTY
Published: Wednesday, August 25, 2010

By JIM RUTTER
Correspondent

Name three things that come to mind when you think of Delaware County in September. If you didn’t immediately think comedy, dance, or theater, you either just moved here or have yet to witness the sheer output of talent contributed to the Philadelphia Fringe Festival by Delco artists.

Dance

Five dance shows feature Delaware County troupes or residents, including Fringe regulars Music & Motion Dance Productions — now rebranded as MM2, a modern dance company from Drexel Hill. Led by Artistic Director Steven Weisz, this 10-year old group provides dance training and performance opportunities for college-age dancers.

This year, MM2 will present “Emergence,” whose theme will focus on complex patterns that can arise from individual behaviors—picture birds taking wing in flight, or dancers gliding across a stage. Either way, expect that Weisz’ troupe will continue to delight fringe audiences with the grace of poise of his company.

Original article at:
http://www.delconewsnetwork.com/articles/2010/08/25/life/doc4c752b74c1dff499110381.txt

On Stage, Philadelphia Philly Fringe Preview with MM2 Dance

On Monday, August 30th starting at 8:00pm, MM2 Modern Dance will be offering a sneak-peak of their upcoming Philly Fringe production of Emergence as part of Plays & Players Performing Arts Preview Night.

On Stage, Philadelphia’s Philly Fringe Preview Series features ten-minute performances of upcoming Philly Fringe productions, representing a wide range of artistic disciplines. Following the performances, audiences have an opportunity to meet and mingle with artists, and enjoy special offers to the upcoming productions at the post-show marketplace. This program offers audiences an opportunity to see which Philly Fringe performances are compatible to their interests, with the hope that they will attend the full productions of what they see at preview night.

MM2 Modern Dance will be previewing a new dance work by Liz Lyle entitled Post-Emergence. Lyle currently attends Eastern University as a dance major and has had her choreography showcased in three of the university’s dance concerts.  In addition, she teaches dance at the Barn Studio of Dance and Creative Steps Dance Studio. Accompanying Lyle will be MM2 dancers, Kristen Blundi and Jessica Bryan. In the piece to be presented, Lyle explores patterns that create contact between elements, while incorporating some quirky and humorous gems.

MM2 Modern Dance will be premiering the full production of Emergence at the Philly Fringe on September 11th with three shows at 2:30, 4:30 and 7:30pm at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center in Drexel Hill.

About MM2 Modern Dance
MM2’s mission is to provide emerging dancers with the opportunity to perform in professional venues as well as create choreography, utilizing contemporary movement, that connects both dancer and audience in a meaningful, relevant experience. MM2 creates dance works for the stage, outdoor landscapes and arts related venues, offering free or subsidized programs in order to make dance more accessible to the public. As a company, we believe that dance is a shared experience, through which we can better understand our common humanity by appreciating and exploring the different inflections of this art form.

Plays & Players Philly Fringe Preview
August 30th at 8:00 PM
1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the door
Tel. 215.735.0630
http://playsandplayers.org/performance/onstage

MM2 @FRINGE QUICK FACTS
Show:
Emergence
Company: MM2 Modern Dance
Event: Philadelphia Live Arts & Philly Fringe
Date: Saturday, September 11, 2010
Times: 2:30pm, 4:30pm & 7:30pm
Venue: Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, 601 Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill, PA

Tickets:
$15 general admission
$10 students and buyers under 25 years w. ID
Box Office: http://www.livearts-fringe.org or http://www.DanceBoxOffice.com

Special $5 tickets available: Send text message to 25827 and in body of message put mm2dance to find out how to get this discount.

Dancing Her Way to The Philly Fringe

In just a few weeks, Kristen Blundi, a fifteen-year old from Obelisk, PA, will be dancing in the upcoming Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe with MM2 Modern Dance Company production of Emergence.

The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe is an internationally recognized presenter of performing arts. A broad array of performing artists, from Philadelphia and around the world, converge for two concurrent sixteen-day festivals during the month of September in venues throughout Philadelphia. Now in its 14th year, the festival will run from September 3rd –18th.

Kristen Blundi is not only the youngest member of MM2 Dance, but also one of the youngest participants in this year’s festival. MM2 Modern Dance evolved as a leader in imaginative movement and creative collaboration for college age dancers, as well as post-college dance majors in career transition. Kristen was the only high school student allowed in to the dance company. Artistic Director Steven Weisz explains, “her professionalism, level of maturity and skill as a dancer, made her immediately accepted by the rest of the company and had us look beyond our normal age requirement.”

For Kristen, who has studied dance for the past 8 years at Dance Depot in Collegeville and will be attending the Lehigh Valley High School for the Performing Arts in the Fall, the Philly Fringe offers the opportunity to put her skills to the test in a professional venue. Her training has included ballet, lyrical, contemporary, jazz and modern. She has performed and won numerous accolades in a variety dance competitions including placing first and in top ranks of The National Dance Showcase, Showstoppers, Access Broadway, Beyond The Stars, The Power of Dance and Starpower.

The work being presented at the Fringe this year by MM2 Dance, titled Emergence, has taken on a variety of meanings during the course of its development. Derived from examples in nature, a flock of birds or a school of fish moving together, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of relatively simple interactions. For Kristen, who is normally quiet and reserved, Emergence represents the losing of oneself in the sheer joy of movement and dance, while still maintaining an identity within “the flock”.

The experience of dancing with MM2 and preparing for the Philly Fringe is perhaps best expressed by Kristen herself. “Being the youngest member of MM2 is an honor for me. I am excited and blessed by the opportunity to pursue many different and unique experiences that dancers my age don’t have until later in their career. Dance is something that allows me to express myself. I have always wanted to dance and I am thrilled to take on this challenge. Working with the dancers’ diverse styles to blend and create something cohesive and expressive to present to the public is a wonderful opportunity. Fringe gives us the ability to present our heartfelt passion for dance to the public. It gives us the ability to share our movement, our feelings, and our lives.”

If you would like to learn more about Kristen and MM2 Modern Dance, you can visit their web site at https://www.mm2dance.org or simply attend her upcoming Fringe debut on September 11th.

 

QUICK FACTS
Show:
Emergence
Company: MM2 Modern Dance
Event: Philadelphia Live Arts & Philly Fringe
Date: Saturday, September 11, 2010
Times: 2:30pm, 4:30pm & 7:30pm
Venue: Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, 601 Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill, PA

Tickets:
$15 general admission
$10 students and buyers under 25 years w. ID
Box Office: http://www.livearts-fringe.org or http://www.DanceBoxOffice.com

Special $5 tickets available: Send text message to 25827 and in body of message put mm2dance to find out how to get this discount.

Eastern University Dance Students & Alumni find a home with MM2 Dance

Several of Eastern University’s current dance majors, along with recent graduates, teamed up this Summer with entrepreneur and founder of PhiladelphiaDANCE.org,  Steven Weisz to create a new modern dance company, MM2.

Weisz had attended the Spring dance concert at Eastern, “The Terrific Twenty”, and after the performance, recruited students Jessica Bryan, Kristen Davies, Jenna Faye Eugenides, Stephanie King, Angela Littlefield, Liz Lyle and Cathrynne Grace Reynolds to join his company.

With the creation of MM2 Modern Dance, a new type of platform has been developed offering college age dancers to both develop choreography as well as showcase their works to the dance community and public.

The newly formed company has already created a stir with their performances and was made the resident dance company at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ, where they created a new program entitled, Dance with Sculpture.  Collaborating with local artists and their works, the group has developed site-specific dance pieces. In addition, a photographic exhibit of their performances was also exhibited in the Grounds museum.

MM2  has also successfully presented to audiences at the Michener Museum and Summer Breeze Concert Series. However, their most ambitious project to date will be the premiere of a new dance work, EMERGENCE,  this September at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe. The company’s enthusiasm for this opportunity was probably best summed up by Stephanie King,  “I am so excited to be dancing at Philly Fringe! To have my choreography presented at the biggest arts fest on the east coast is a tremendous honor.”

On September 11th , MM2 Modern Dance will present three performances of new works at 2:30, 4:30 and 7:30pm. Also, for the first time, the Philly Fringe will extend beyond the city limits, as the performance will take place at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center in Drexel Hill, Delaware County.

The work being presented at the Fringe this year, Emergence, is derived from examples in nature, a flock of birds or a school of fish moving together. Emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of relatively simple interactions. For company members of MM2, especially those who recently graduated from college, it has marked their own self-exploration and development as they seek careers and their place in the performing arts world. Company member, Liz Lyle reiterates, “Being able to present my choreography at the Philly Fringe is a huge stepping-stone in my career. It’s challenged me to think out side of the box and inspired me to conceive fresh ideas and new movement phrases.”

In the piece Post-Emergence, Lyle explores patterns that create contact between elements, while incorporating some quirky gems. Her counterpart, Cathrynne Grace Reynolds takes on the concept of Pre-Emergence in an attempt to emerge from pandemonium by finding calm within chaos.

In Re-Emergence, Jenna Faye Eugenides, elicited the help of Eastern University’s music major, Daniel Ison to compose original music for her choreography, which explores the issue of global responsibility, where following “the flock” may actually be a contributing problem. Daniel, along with fellow music students, Paul Buehler and Rachel Fahrenbruch will be performing their composition “live” at the Fringe in accompaniment.

Eastern dancer Angela Littlefield notes that both MM2 Dance and the Fringe provide “a crucial learning experience to the new choreographer, allowing one to reveal themselves to both the dance and arts community at large.”  For audiences, it is a great opportunity to see new work emerge in the Philadelphia region.

The group hopes that their fellow Eastern students and faculty will come out to support them at the Fringe, and special discounted tickets are being offered.

EMERGENCE
MM2 Modern Dance
Saturday, September 11, 2010
3 Shows:  2:30pm, 4:30pm & 7:30pm
Upper Darby Performing Arts Center
601 Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill, PA 19026

Tickets:
$15 General Admission.
For EASTERN students and faculty, tickets are just $5.00 with ID.

Purchase direct online at
http://www.DanceBoxOffice.com and enter discount code: eastern to get the $5 offer.

MM2 Modern Dance brings the Philly Fringe to Delaware County

The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe is an internationally recognized presenter of performing arts. A broad array of performing artists, from Philadelphia and around the world, converge for two concurrent sixteen-day festivals during the month of  September in venues throughout Philadelphia. Now in its 14th year the festival will run from September 3rd –18th.

For a twist this year, fringe veteran, Steven Weisz and his Drexel Hill based MM2 Modern Dance received special permission to bring their perfomance to Delaware County with their premiere of Emergence, on Saturday, September 11th at 2:30, 4:30 and 7:30pm at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center located at 601 Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill, PA.

Weisz goes on to add “this will be my 6th year with the Philly Fringe and I wanted to be able to bring this incredible experience to more people in the suburbs, who might not otherwise venture in to the city. The folks at the Fringe Festival were great in allowing us to extend their borders this year”.

MM2 Modern Dance  has evolved as a leader in imaginative movement and creative collaboration for college age dancers as well as post-college dance majors in career transition. The Fringe offers the perfect platform for Weisz’s new choreographers and dancers to gain exposure for their works.

The work being presented at the Fringe this year, titled Emergence, has taken on a variety of meanings during the course of its development. Derived from examples in nature, a flock of birds or a school of fish moving together, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of relatively simple interactions. For company members of MM2, especially those who recently graduated from college, it has marked their own self-exploration and development as they seek careers and their place in the performing arts world. Company member, Liz Lyle reiterates, ” It’s challenged me to think out side of the box and inspired me to conceive fresh ideas and new movements.”

For example, in the piece Post-Emergence, Lyle explores patterns that create contact between elements, while incorporating some quirky gems. Her counterpart, Cathrynne Grace Reynolds takes on the concept of Pre-Emergence in an attempt to emerge from pandemonium by finding calm within chaos. In Re-Emergence, Jenna Faye Eugenides incorporates original, live music by Daniel Ison, to tackle the issue of global responsibility, where following “the flock” may actually be a contributing problem.

Dancer Angela Littlefield notes that both MM2 Dance and the Fringe provide “a crucial learning experience to the new choreographer, allowing one to reveal themselves to both the dance and arts community at large.”  For audiences, it is a great opportunity to see new work emerge right here in Delaware County!

2010 company members are: Kristen Blundi, Jessica Bryan, Kristen Davies, Jenna Faye Eugenides, Stephanie King, Angela Littlefield, Liz Lyle and Cathrynne Grace Reynolds.

More about MM2 Modern Dance can be found on the web at https://www.mm2dance.org

 

QUICK FACTS
Show:
Emergence
Company: MM2 Modern Dance
Event: Philadelphia Live Arts & Philly Fringe
Date: Saturday, September 11, 2010
Times: 2:30pm, 4:30pm & 7:30pm
Venue: Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, 601 Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill, PA

Tickets:
$15 general admission
$10 students and buyers under 25 years w. ID
Box Office: http://www.livearts-fringe.org or http://www.DanceBoxOffice.com

Special $5 tickets available: Send text message to 25827 and in body of message put mm2dance to find out how to get this discount.

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