Rex Kennedy came to VCU as a talented and practicing dancer from Colorado. Since then, he has made a mark in the VCU dance department, even if his mark is, according to him, being the “crazy kid.”
“I really enjoy it here because I’ve been, like, the crazy one all year, trying to open people up and let them know that they can be weird and that they just don’t have to stick to their technique classes,” he said. “It’s okay to go out there and make bold decisions and usually it’s going to work out.”
Kennedy has based his dance vocabulary in different forms of dancing, like the gaga method he learned his first year at the American Dance Festival, two years ago at Duke University.
“I have my gaga background as a base for my movement vocabulary. I also have this crazy performance art side, and I’m really trying to blend those. I think that it’s not something people are comfortable to do in the dance department,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy came to VCU with a background in performance, having danced at ADF for the past two summers. Despite his experience, Kennedy said he is still looking to learn and grow as a dancer, which he feels like he has achieved over the past year.
“I was expecting to get thrown into it, especially in dance, (to) be smarter and educated and be really cognizant of what is going on and what I need to do to be a smart performer or choreographer,” Kennedy said. “There’s definitely been a learning curve because I’ve already had a lot of pre-professional experiences.”
Despite his differences from the other students in his classes, Kennedy said he believes that the freshman class in the VCU dance department has grown together as a supportive family.
“I really enjoy my influence over my freshman class. It’s awesome having them around,” he said. “We have a really nice, supportive group, which I think is hard to find in the dance department, just a whole solid class being united.”
With the support Kennedy found from his fellow dance majors, he has found new confidence in himself as a dancer. Even though Kennedy does not have an interest in becoming the perfect dancer, he does think that he has learned how to work with his own body and movement vocabulary, or the basics of his dancing, more effectively this year.
“I’m really not interested in reforming myself into this perfect dancer that can go into every technique class and be awesome. That’s never been my main priority,” he said. “It’s always been really important to me to stay true to myself in class, learn how to work with myself and my body and knowing what makes me different from everyone else.”
In the future, Kennedy hopes to continue to choreograph new works and show his pieces to a wider audience than just his classes and the dance department. Performances put on by the dance department often cost money, so Kennedy hopes to provide free performances to show other students in the university that the dance department works hard to create new movements.
“I need to make work that I am proud of and want to see on stage, or whatever the venue might be, or if it’s just in class,” Kennedy said. “Just stick to my vision and keep developing my skills that will really help me be successful.”
Kennedy recently auditioned for a dance job in New York City with the Lee Saar Dance Company. If he is offered a job, Kennedy plans to accept and leave the dance department at VCU.
“They’re definitely making really good work and they’re a really important thing to have in the dance scene,” Kennedy said. “I just really want to be a part of that.”