ABOUT THE JUNIOR COMPANY
Dancefusionís fusion2, a training company for young dancers, was formed in 1995 when Artistic Director Gwendolyn Bye recognized the need for dedicated young dancers to experience and express movement beyond their technical training. Through their participation in fusion2, upper level students from the Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center have unique opportunities to broaden their dance and leadership education through rigorous technical training, performance and community outreach.
fusion2 dancers study a variety of classical and contemporary techniques in addition to performing choreography in a number of disciplines including ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and hip hop. Comprised of the most accomplished dancers at the Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center, this junior company draws a diverse group of talented young students from across the Philadelphia area. Currently directed by Rachel Kantra Beal, fusion2 has performed throughout Greater Philadelphia in cultural and community centers, schools, hospitals, senior and care facilities, as well as festivals and concerts for the general public, including: the Mann Center for Performing Arts Educational Series, Stapeley Hall for Senior Living, Temple Child Medical Center, Shriners Hospital for Children, the Bancroft School in New Jersey, Painted Bride Art Center, The Free Library of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Carousel House for the Handicapped, The Please Touch Museum, The University of Pennsylvaniaís Iron Gate Theater, and the Walt Whitman Cultural Center in Camden, NJ. fusion2 has participated in teaching residencies with Dancefusion and has been presented at 2000 feet: a Celebration of World Dance, the Dragon Boats Festival, and World Dance Day. In addition to its outreach presentations, fusion2 presents their own home season each spring.
In 2002, inspired by the plight of physically challenged children, fusion2 developed the CAPE project (Choreography, Art, Poetry, Experience) in partnership with the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy. This year marks fusion2ís 9th year collaborating with the HMS School to create and perform new work with differently-abled students living with Cerebral Palsy, including community outreach and culminating in a performance for the spring season. fusion2/HMS collaborations have been presented at the Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia Carousel House for Handicapped Persons, Basilica for Saint Peter and Paul, and the HMS Annual Art Show. The creation of original dances performed by children with disabilities and able-bodied young dancers, challenges and expands both the audienceís and their own perceptions about what constitutes dance, and what is possible for the differently-abled.
Graduates of fusion2 have gone on to dance programs at TISCH School of Arts at New York University, Goucher, Barnard, Wesleyan, Temple, Fordham, Vassar, SUNY Purchase and the University of the Arts. They have also entered programs at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, The Juilliard School, Paul Taylor Training Program, Arthur Mitchellís Dance Theater of Harlem and The Pennsylvania Governorís School for Performing Arts.