Bradford Native Kelcey Matheny Performs at American Dance Festival
Department of Theatre and Dance
Southeast Missouri State University dance student Kelcey Matheny of Bradford, Tenn., recently participated in the American Dance Festival, a six-week summer intensive in Durham, N.C., where she took three two-hour dance classes each day with amazing teachers from around the world and participated in choreography projects with students from Taiwan.
“The American Dance Festival gave me the tools and knowledge of what it takes to become a professional. It also gave me a chance to learn about new cultures of dance, which can take me to new places,” she says.
Matheny has had several opportunities to dance since starting at Southeast. She previously attended a workshop with the jazz company, Giordano Dance Chicago, where she took classes and learned the company repertory. Also, she performed in the Spring to Dance Festival in St. Louis with PH eXchange Dance Theatre. And, she has performed in “Fall for Dance” and “Spring into Dance” every semester since she began at the University.
“All of this experience has given me a chance to perform with amazing dancers and make wonderful connections to the dance world,” she says.
Matheny says her favorite moments at Southeast are just before dance concerts, when the performers come together to warm up.
“We have our traditional pep talks, and everyone gets psyched up to perform. Then, we get to go on stage and perform in front of an audience. It’s an amazing energy,” she says.
Also on campus, Matheny works as an assistant in the Costume Shop.
“Working in the Costume Shop gives me the benefits of seeing other aspects of theatre and dance rather than just the performance side. It gives me a chance to see what all goes into making a show,” she says.
Matheny says her time at Southeast has helped prepare her for a successful career.
“Southeast has prepared me by allowing me to have state-of-the-art facilities to work in such as the River Campus, which has given me wonderful opportunities to study harder in and out of the studio; it has given me many opportunities to perform in the dance concerts and festivals outside of school; and, I can’t forget the faculty that has given me the tools I need to prepare me for after graduation,” she says.
After receiving her degree, Matheny plans to move to Chicago and audition for dance companies and commercial jobs. She says she would also like to teach and choreograph.
“Dancing allows me to express myself through all of these different styles,” she says. “Dancing allows me to defy gravity and push boundaries. It excites me, because it gives me a chance to get lost in another world.”
While still in Cape Girardeau, Matheny says her favorite things to do are walk by the river and visit the antique shops downtown. Her favorite hobby, though, is traveling.
“I love learning about new places, and I am always on the go. Growing up, my family traveled all the time, especially on dance trips. Now, I just love to see new places,” she says.
She says her favorite destination is the beach.
“It gives me a chance to escape, relax and eat good food,” she says.
She adds that she also enjoys visiting England.
“My grandmother and her family are from there, and it is such a beautiful, historical place. I hope to travel to Italy and Greece one day. Actually, I’d just love to go everywhere,” she says.
Matheny advises future Southeast students, “Do what you love and love what you do. Follow your dreams and don't forget to make yourself happy. Always have passion for what you do. As long as you can do this, you will be successful.”