Dance alumna Elke Calvert (’11) won the Division II Grand Prize Award at the Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival with her original choreography, “Framed”, working with pre-professional dancers, at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. The Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival is dedicated to the advancement of dance as an art form, specifically through the support and promotion of quality choreography.

Kajsa Thuresson-Frary, the Director of Education at the McCallum Theatre Institute and producer of the Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival, said “we’re so glad to have had the opportunity to present Elke Calvert’s Framed as part of our 2011 Festival, and we’re absolutely thrilled the audience and our panel of judges appreciated it as much as we did. Initially having screened the piece on DVD recorded in a studio without costuming and lights, it was particularly satisfying to see how well all the production elements supported the dance and how powerfully it was performed at Festival by a group of stellar young dancers.  We hope to see more from Elke Calvert.”

Says Elke, “the “Dancing Under the Stars” Choreography Festival in Palm Desert is one the proudest moments in my dance career. It is an experience I will remember and cherish forever. To me it was the cherry on top to the start of my post grad life from Chapman University. This experience verified all of the hard work and everything I learned through the Chapman dance department. I can’t thank the faculty enough for their constant support and for allowing me to use my cast of dancers, the same prop, original hand painted costumes and studio space to rehearse before the festival.  Also the dedication of my cast who were with me every step of the way, giving one hundred percent in everything we did to prepare for the festival. They brought my entire vision to life on stage for a second time even better than I imagined. The festival was an amazing learning experience where I learned quickly to work side by side with professionals in lighting design and stage management as well as the event producers. It was the first time I got a taste of what it would be like to run a group of dancers as a company and I saw how much of a dedicated team effort it takes from everyone to make it work and made my dream of starting a dance company in the future feel much more realistic.”