Magazine article Dance Magazine

Kristina Hanna: Ease Meets Energy in This Keigwin Dancer

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Kristina Hanna: Ease Meets Energy in This Keigwin Dancer

Article excerpt

Audiences last spring at New York's Joyce Theater could have been forgiven for doing a double take when a nearly naked dancer sprinted across the stage before the start of Larry Keigwin's Runaway. "Larry egged me on," says dancer Kristina Hanna. "It was meant to look like backstage at a runway show. There was a girl onstage getting her hair done, and he had me run across as if I was looking for my costume."

Hanna--who Keigwin hired right out of Juilliard two years ago to join Keigwin + Company--commands attention even fully clothed. Spunky and elfin, the 24-year-old radiates energy, her movements fluid yet punchy. "She has a nice balance between a percussive, rhythmic attack and an effortless ease," says Keigwin.

Directors and teachers praise Hanna's physical and intellectual energy. "She's a real dance thinker," says Ara Guzelimian, a Juilliard dean and one of Hanna's mentors. Ironically, Hanna's dance life started with a fluke: "When I was 4, my best friend went to take a dance class, and I just happened to go along," she says. It may have been the only accident in her career. Terri Newman, a teacher at The Dance Shoppe studio who worked with Hanna for a decade in Waterford, Michigan, notes from the start that Hanna had a deep commitment. "She was very, very focused at a very early age," says

Newman. "She never waited for me to give her a correction; she took any correction given to anyone in the class." Newman's was a competition studio, and Hanna excelled, piling up awards. But Newman stresses that her ability went beyond technical prowess. "She always understood there was more to it than just kicks and turns." The competition world taught Hanna a range of styles, but it was not until she arrived at Michigan's Interlochen Arts Academy that she got her first exposure to modern dance. She was named a Presidential Scholar for the Arts in 2005; she also studied with Laura Glenn at the White Mountain Summer Dance Festival. …

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