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Franklin Pierce University   Seniors choreography dances inspired by personal stories

  • Franklin Pierce University senior Collette Fortin of Manchester, center, in a recent performance of "Water for Ornaments," choreographed by Amy Softic. Fortin will perform a dance she choreographed at FPU on May 10 and May 11.<br/><br/>Courtesy photo by Aras Banevicius

    Franklin Pierce University senior Collette Fortin of Manchester, center, in a recent performance of "Water for Ornaments," choreographed by Amy Softic. Fortin will perform a dance she choreographed at FPU on May 10 and May 11.

    Courtesy photo by Aras Banevicius Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Franklin Pierce University senior Collette Fortin of Manchester performs at the 2012 Winter Dance Concert at FPU.<br/><br/>Courtesy photo by Brad Lowery

    Franklin Pierce University senior Collette Fortin of Manchester performs at the 2012 Winter Dance Concert at FPU.

    Courtesy photo by Brad Lowery Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Franklin Pierce University senior Marisa Guy of Chichester performs at the 2012 Winter Dance Concert at FPU. <br/><br/>Courtesy photo by Brad Lowery

    Franklin Pierce University senior Marisa Guy of Chichester performs at the 2012 Winter Dance Concert at FPU.

    Courtesy photo by Brad Lowery Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Franklin Pierce University senior Crystal Pratt of Boston, Mass., rehearses portions of her senior dance project at the FPU dance studio last week. Pratt's “Doubt and Certainty" will be performed at the Warehouse Theatre on May 10 and 11. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Franklin Pierce University senior Crystal Pratt of Boston, Mass., rehearses portions of her senior dance project at the FPU dance studio last week. Pratt's “Doubt and Certainty" will be performed at the Warehouse Theatre on May 10 and 11.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Franklin Pierce University senior Marisa Guy of Chichester rehearses her solo piece, which she choreographed this spring and will dedicate to her grandmother at performances at FPU on May 10 and May 11. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Franklin Pierce University senior Marisa Guy of Chichester rehearses her solo piece, which she choreographed this spring and will dedicate to her grandmother at performances at FPU on May 10 and May 11.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Franklin Pierce University senior Crystal Pratt of Boston, Mass., rehearses portions of her senior dance project at the FPU dance studio last week. Pratt's “Doubt and Certainty" will be performed at the Warehouse Theatre on May 10 and 11. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Franklin Pierce University senior Crystal Pratt of Boston, Mass., rehearses portions of her senior dance project at the FPU dance studio last week. Pratt's “Doubt and Certainty" will be performed at the Warehouse Theatre on May 10 and 11.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Franklin Pierce University senior Collette Fortin of Manchester, center, in a recent performance of "Water for Ornaments," choreographed by Amy Softic. Fortin will perform a dance she choreographed at FPU on May 10 and May 11.<br/><br/>Courtesy photo by Aras Banevicius
  • Franklin Pierce University senior Collette Fortin of Manchester performs at the 2012 Winter Dance Concert at FPU.<br/><br/>Courtesy photo by Brad Lowery
  • Franklin Pierce University senior Marisa Guy of Chichester performs at the 2012 Winter Dance Concert at FPU. <br/><br/>Courtesy photo by Brad Lowery
  • Franklin Pierce University senior Crystal Pratt of Boston, Mass., rehearses portions of her senior dance project at the FPU dance studio last week. Pratt's “Doubt and Certainty" will be performed at the Warehouse Theatre on May 10 and 11. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Franklin Pierce University senior Marisa Guy of Chichester rehearses her solo piece, which she choreographed this spring and will dedicate to her grandmother at performances at FPU on May 10 and May 11. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Franklin Pierce University senior Crystal Pratt of Boston, Mass., rehearses portions of her senior dance project at the FPU dance studio last week. Pratt's “Doubt and Certainty" will be performed at the Warehouse Theatre on May 10 and 11. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

Finding strength and solace through dance is what two Franklin Pierce University seniors say has allowed them to heal after tragedy. For a third university senior, dance provides an opportunity to celebrate her close-knit familial relationships.

Personal stories of love, loss and long-term human connections are the focus of three dance performances that seniors at FPU have choreographed for debut on May 10 and May 11. For the past four years, Crystal Pratt of Boston, Mass., and Collette Fortin of Manchester and Marisa Guy of Chichester, have received instruction in modern dance at FPU, with each having had training in other dance styles, too, ranging from jazz, to ballet and Latin.

As the finale of their undergraduate careers, the women are sharing their creative talents, and a part of themselves, with their community.

Pratt said last week that her senior show, “Doubt and Certainty,” was inspired by a traumatic event in her life that occurred about a year and a half ago. Pratt was engaged and had her eyes on the future, she said, when her three and a half year relationship came to a sudden end. Pratt was at home recovering from a concussion at the same time her fiance said he no longer wanted to be with her, she recalled.

“It was all so difficult for me to understand,” Pratt said, adding that it was in her recovery that she turned to dance. “Dance has always been there for me in the past, and I knew it would be there for me now, too.”

In first developing her senior show, Pratt said she came up with a list of four words: chaotic, angry, trapped and broken. Those words, she said, kick-started her dance routine in which a group of dancers represent different descriptors and emotional sides of Pratt.

“Two of the girls are ballet trained, while myself and another girl are the tomboys with an edge,” she said.

Finding the time to create the movement, as well as last minute adjustments, Pratt said, have been her biggest challenges in the past year.

The words “loss” and “chaos” could also be used to describe Guy’s senior project. Guy has choreographed two dances to be performed this May, one of which is dedicated to her grandmother who passed away just a few months ago.

“It could easily be a sad piece, but I don’t want it to be. I want it to be a remembrance of her,” Guy said, adding that some of the movements in her modern dance are based on activities that she and her grandmother enjoyed together.

As of last week, Guy said her solo was still a work-in-progress and it did not yet have a name. The choreography for her second dance, “Beautiful Disaster,” came to her much more easily, she said.

“Maybe because I’m working with a subject that’s not so fresh,” Guy said of “Beautiful Disaster,” which is about a series of chaotic and significant moments that helped shape who she is today.

Amidst the strong emotions of love and loss present in Guy’s solo and Pratt’s “Doubt and Certainty,” Fortin is providing audience members with universal emotions of a different variety: love and happiness.

“My piece is mainly about the way my life is now and how things are working,” Fortin said. “It centers mostly around the relationship between my mom, my sister and me.”

Fortin said it was easier for her to focus on the present than look to the past or future when creating her dance, “Cally & Stella’s Wondrous World.” The choreography, which takes on a lyrical and modern style, is personal and yet fun, she said.

“In some cases, you could say I threw the rule book out the window. The ending is almost like a reunion of sorts and shows the fun side of my family,” Fortin said.

The senior dance performances, which will be performed back-to-back each night, will begin at 7:30 p.m. on both May 10 and 11 at FPU’s Warehouse Theatre. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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