Dancers to premiere original work at international dance festival

The Saltare In Elementis Dance Company, composed of Radford University senior dance students. From left to right: Fiona O’Brien, Zoe Couloumbis and Sebrena Williamson

Three Radford dance students are spending their Thanksgiving breaks as performers and teachers in South Korea at the sixth annual Incheon International Contemporary Dance Festival.

For seniors Zoe Couloumbis, Fiona O'Brien and Sebrena Williamson, the non-traditional Thanksgiving experience will be a return engagement to South Korea after a summer trip and appearance there earned them an invitation to the prestigious six-day event.

The trio has formed their own dance company – Saltare In Elementis (SIE).  Saltare In Elementis is Latin for “to dance with the elements.”

In South Korea, SIE will perform the world premiere of an original 15-minute contemporary dance called “Terra” about climate change and its effects. Contemporary dance is a style of expressive dance that combines elements of several dance genres including modern, jazz, lyrical and classical ballet to connect the mind and the body through fluid dance movements.

In Incheon this summer,  SIE presented another topical contemporary dance about the definition of beauty and different standards of beauty.

“We want to make statements about issues through our art,” O’Brien said. “We want to make the audience think and process how they relate and cope with the world.”

O’Brien credits Assistant Professor Ji-Eun Lee for sharing encouragement, cultural guidance and travel direction with SIE.

“We are all looking forward to returning and reconnecting with the friends we made there in the dance community this summer,” O’Brien said. “We will also have the chance to introduce international students to American styles of dance such as jazz, hip-hop and improv.”

Upon their return, there will be no chance for holiday leftovers. O’Brien, Williamson and Coloumbis will go right into rehearsals for the 2018 season of the Nutcracker, presented by the Radford University Ballet Theatre, which opens on Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Bondurant Auditorium in Preston Hall.

“It is exciting to be so young and have these opportunities to travel and perform our own choreography,” said O’Brien of Bishopville, Maryland. “I will miss Thanksgiving with my family, but they understand and are just as excited.”

Nov 19, 2018
Don Bowman
(540) 831-5182