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Colby-Sawyer College to Host Fall Dance Ensemble 'Journeys' Featuring Original Choreography

NEW LONDON, N.H., Nov. 10, 2011 – Colby-Sawyer and the Fine and Performing Arts Department present the fall dance ensemble, "Journeys", under the artistic direction of Adjunct Assistant Professor of Dance Laura Dunlop Shepherd. Featuring original choreography by Colby-Sawyer students and Professor Shepherd, the performance will showcase ballet, lyrical, modern and jazz in 11 dance numbers. A reception with light refreshments will follow.

"Journeys" will take place at the Sawyer Center Theatre on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased online at The Sawyer Center Box Office can be reached at (603) 526-3670 for more information.

The majority of dances are choreographed and performed by the members of Professor Shepherd's Dance Repertory and Performance class, a new course offered to introduce dancers to the joys and challenges of choreography and prepare them for a performance. For some dancers, this is their first experience on stage, and getting there has been its own journey through a new world of music, lights and costumes.

“The students you'll see in 'Journeys' are a dedicated group of dancers who selected their own music and choreographed pieces that represent their transformations thus far,” says Professor Shepherd. “The sky is the limit for these women. I hope through dance, and in all aspects of life, they are able to show the world their drive and potential.”

Reflecting the dancers' journeys and stories, the musical selections range from classical and swing to rock, Celtic, pop and tunes heard on “Glee” and in the Harry Potter films. Professor Shepherd notes that the theme of journeys arose naturally as the music was selected.

“Each dancer has embarked on a creative and personal journey of their own this semester through the creation of the original choreography they will perform,” says Professor Shepherd. “As they are all individuals, so too is their choreography a unique expression of who they are now, in this time and place. Each dancer has chosen a story to share that is drawn from their trials, tribulations, successes and passions.”

The 12 members of Professor Shepherd's Modern Dance Technique class will also perform, dancing to “Breton Batherson Dancers” and in the finale, “Rock This Town,” alongside the Repertory and Performance students.

About the Artistic Director

Laura Dunlop Shepherd holds a B.A. in Theatre and Dance from Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Professor Shepherd grew up singing, dancing and acting, and with "Journeys," her performing career comes full circle. It was on the Sawyer Fine Arts Center stage at age five that she performed her first ballet solo, and here that she auditioned for and won her first stage role as Marta in a Colby-Sawyer production of “The Sound of Music.”

These and other early musical theater experiences launched Professor Shepherd on her lifelong path of performing and teaching. After years of performing in summer stock and professional musical theater, and then in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes as a singer and dancer, her focus turned to sharing the performing arts that have so enriched her life with others through teaching.

Professor Shepherd has taught both as a private voice instructor and as a dance instructor at a large Southern dance academy. This past summer she returned to live in her hometown of New London, N.H., this time with her husband and son. Now she is back at Sawyer Center, surrounded by students, guiding them through their own journeys in music and dance.

To learn more about the Fine and Performing Arts at Colby-Sawyer College, visit

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire.