The art of physical expression: Keenan Schember

February 19, 2015

It’s dark, the lights are old, the floor is springy, and the only sound is that of a large fan in the corner. Before the lights power up, before the sun has risen, junior Keenan Schember has stretched his muscles and begun to dance.

The movements start off slow and accelerate with the beat and tempo of the music. Perfectly in time and perfectly defined, the words that would normally have to be spoken are known to him without utterance. His jumps are high and illustrated with precise form––he is at home.

No one gets how amazing it is; the feeling of being able to express yourself through something that only so few people can do

— Keenan Schember

Schember, who trains in many forms of physical expression, has been dancing for ten years. “I started dancing when I was six. My sister’s friend danced, and she brought me to a “bring your friend dance class.” It was natural; I thought it was fun and then signed up [for] an all-guys class,” Schember said.

From the start of his career, the art form has become something that Schember cannot live without. “I danced in the beginning because it was fun, and now it’s a necessity. I have to do it because I love it
so much and I feel like if I didn’t I would be bored,” Schember said. “No one gets how amazing it is; the feeling of being able to express yourself through something that only so few people can do is a feeling that I can’t imagine living without,” Schember said.

Although Schember dances in a variety of styles, contemporary movement stands out to him because of its simplistic and personal tone. “My favorite type of dance is contemporary, and I would say you use the framework from ballet and jazz and add artistry to it. [Then,] you use the musicality to define it better. Do what you feel,” Schember said.

Schember dances year round and is a former competitor. “Usually in January or February, you audition for a summer intensive. During the summer you’ll do a month long intensive all day from like 8 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. It’s good training, and it’s also great experience and preparation for when you’re actually in a company or you’re actually dancing for your career,” Schember said.

In addition to training in the Twin Cities, Schember has traveled around the country and gained a unique perspective on dancing. “The past two years I’ve gone San Francisco and done a lot between the lines of contemporary ballet. It’s four weeks, and, at the end of the month, we perform the dance that we’ve learned,” Schember said. “I’ve [also] traveled to LA the past three years. There are a bunch of places that hold workshops or classes every day for you to come in pay 12 dollars. The class is for like an hour and a half, and it’s convention style.”

These experiences led Schember to pursue dancing after graduating from BSM. “I’ve started looking for colleges and talking to them about dance. So when I apply for a college, I have to apply to the college and have to audition for the dance school. My top three schools right now are University of Arizona, University of Southern Californiat, and University of California, Irvine.” Keenan said.

After college, Schember aims to create a company that combines both commercial and concert dance. “I think that the both can combine to make an even better dancing experience. I’ve had this idea in my head for a while, of creating a company that combines both [dance forms] and puts them into a setting. I would be the founder of the company when I’m 30, or 40,” Schember said.

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