Pictured is Jay Yunek with Department of Dance students Kelsey Ashy and Darvensky Louis and KSU president Pamela Whitten.

Kennesaw State University Department of Dance has received a donation of $541,000 from the Yunek family.

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

The gift from Jay and Debra Yunek 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.

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 Program 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 Program.

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