Wednesday, Jan 12, 2022
Award creates opportunity for senior Anna Fredeen to have dance piece commissioned
by Adam Grybowski
Senior Anna Fredeen, a dance science major, was selected as the recipient of this year’s Choreography Connection Award from Regional Dance America, a nonprofit dedicated to elevating the future of dance in America.
The award will create an opportunity for Fredeen to have an original dance piece commissioned by a professional company.
“I grew up going to dance competitions and conventions where I saw seasoned choreographers creating amazing pieces," says Fredeen, who has been dancing since she was a child. "It’s something I’ve always known I wanted to do."
Fredeen was among the first students to enroll in Rider's dance science program when she transferred to the University in fall 2019. She had been enrolled in a Bachelor of Fine Arts program but transferred to Rider after being drawn to the opportunity to focus on the biology and physiology behind the art of dance. Rather than narrowly focusing on performance, the program prepares students for careers in education, therapy, health care and more.
Regional Dance America selects potential recipients of the Choreography Connection Award from among those who participate in its annual National Choreography Intensive. Since 1961, the intensive has provided dancers and choreographers the opportunity to work, study and create under the guidance of nationally recognized professionals in the fields of dance and music.
The recent intensive took place last summer over Zoom because of the pandemic. Over the course of three weekends, Fredeen presented several modern dance pieces she had choreographed.
“Because I enrolled as a choreographer, the goal for me was to work on my skill set of coming up with different ways to creatively develop short dance phrases and finding ways to connect them all together,” she says.
Fredeen currently teaches in two local dance studios, Glen Roc Dance Shoppe and The Dance Factory. Although the intensive helped her mainly develop as a choreographer, she feels it also helped her become a better teacher. "Especially through Zoom, you learn how to develop and strengthen how you can be as clear as possible in instructing people what to do and how you can break through to them," she says.
As a teacher, Fredeen is especially interested in helping other dancers understand how they can prevent injuries. Having experienced repeated injuries as a young dancer, she says that the industry needs more people who understand the connections between anatomy, biology and physiology and how to improve the athletic performance of dancers. “You learn more about how to do that in a dance science program” as opposed to a traditional dance program, she says.
As part of the award, a live performance of what Fredeen created through the intensive is a possibility, but she says she still wants to tinker with it. "I've learned a lot about who I am as a choreographer, but I’m always going to want to push myself to make my work better than what it currently is."