Flyer for Destiny Rising.

Two Chapman dance faculty members will travel with a select student ensemble to perform at an iconic dance venue this weekend in New York City.

Dean Dale A. Merrill
was invited to bring a student ensemble to perform in the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation’s (NYCDAF) annual dance concert benefit ”
Destiny Rising
,” held at the prestigious
Joyce Theater
on February 16. The NYCDAF selects two universities each year to be showcased in the dance concert in an effort to promote young talent in contemporary dance college programs. The Joyce Theater is the nation’s premier dance theater, having launched careers of many famous choreographers and helped put many dance companies on the “map.” Dance Concert attendees are high school students from all across the United States, as well as local leaders in the New York City dance arena.

Woman smiling.
In the spirit of collaboration, Dean Merrill asked Chapman dance instructor
Jennifer Backhaus
to join him in creating new choreography for the visit. Their efforts resulted in a work entitled
Seven by Two
, which features the four male and three female dancers from Chapman who were selected to participate in this event. “All our dancers in this group were chosen based on their technical ability and performance quality. And we have a male-heavy group because we want to demonstrate the success of men in dance, a traditionally underserved area of study in this country,” Merrill explains.

“It is quite an honor for Chapman to be chosen to participate in this event,” says Dean Merrill. “Chapman is the only west coast university involved with the NYCDAF.” The university also participates in the NYCDAF scholarship program, along with University of the Arts (PA), Manhattan Marymount College (NY), Point Park University (PA), Mercyhurst University (PA), Dean College (MA), and Pace University (NY).