Department of Dance Receives Gift from Yunek Family

Donation will support annual choreographic residency at KSU Dance

KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 18, 2019)

KSU Department of Dance has received a substantial gift from the Yunek family to support the KSU Choreographic Residency.
KSU Department of Dance has received a substantial gift from the Yunek family to support the KSU Choreographic Residency.
Kennesaw State University has received a $541,000 donation to the Department of Dance in the College of the Arts.

The Eleo Pomare–Glenn Conner Dance Endowment will be used to begin the KSU Choreographic Residency to bring two nationally curated choreographers to the Department of Dance each summer to create two world premieres. The annual choreographic residency honors the late benefactors who were luminaries of the dance world.

The gift from Jay and Debra Yunek, the Eleo Pomare–Glenn Conner Dance Endowment, honors their late uncle, Glenn Conner, and his partner and choreographer Eleo Pomare. Pomare, who passed away in 2008, was known for developing innovative choreography that deals with social inequality and injustice. The funds will be used to promote and preserve Pomare’s legacy through the cultivation of new choreographic voices.

Ivan Pulinkala, dean of the College of the Arts and the founder of KSU Dance, announced the major gift at the opening of the student dance performance “Slang” at the KSU Dance Theater in Marietta.

“We are grateful to the Yunek’s for their generous donation to KSU Dance in honor of Glenn and Eleo,” said Pulinkala. “The KSU Choreographic Residency will help support the careers of emerging choreographers nationally and give our students a unique experience of collaborating with professionals in the field.”

Combined with a previous gift received in 2018, the Yunek family has given almost $1 million to support dance at KSU.

Through the generosity of the Yunek family, emerging choreographers will have the opportunity to develop their unique artistic voice. The KSU Choreographic Residency will provide each chosen choreographer with a $6,000 honorarium to support their housing, travel and living expenses during the four-week residency and performance, as well as a budget to produce an original choreographic work.

KSU Dance will create a summer course in which students accepted by audition will have the opportunity to work with one of the nationally curated choreographers. Both works will be produced at the end of the summer in the state-of-the-art KSU Dance Theater, allowing the choreographer to premiere his or her work and create a promotional video for future commissioning purposes.

A screening committee of university and community professionals will annually review the work of emerging choreographers from a national pool of applicants to select two individuals for the four-week KSU Choreographic Residency.

The Department of Dance at KSU is committed to the professional practice of dance, preparing students to be successful dancers, choreographers, teachers, scholars, theater technicians and arts administrators, by exposing them to professional artists. Internationally renowned companies are presented every year in the KSU Dance Theatre as part of the ArtsKSU Professional Presenting Season.

The Department of Dance began at KSU in 2005 and has flourished into the largest collegiate dance program in Georgia. Every year, over 100 students competitively audition to be dance majors at KSU. KSU Dance has received regional and national attention at the American College Dance Association and been invited five times to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The Dance Theater on the Marietta Campus, the performance home of KSU Dance, is Atlanta’s first theater designed specifically for dance.

—Kathie Beckett


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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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