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AU dance students learn from a pro

Mon, 2013-12-09 08:00 -- univcomm
December 9, 2013

Kenny Shepard, an adjunct professor in the dance department at Anderson University, is a veteran performer on the Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre stage, as well as Off-Broadway; Branson, Mo.; Disney World and cruise ships.

A graduate of Butler University in arts administration with dance emphasis, Shepard performed in many U.S. cities and around the world for many years, but enjoyed coming back to Indianapolis each year to do the Christmas show and to be near family. Shepard said, “I feel fortunate that I moved back here about 10 years ago and am able to perform closer to home regularly.” [Photo: Deb Wims and Kenny Shepard co-host the 21st annual "A Beef & Boards Christmas." Shepard is an adjunct professor of jazz dance and musical theater performance at Anderson University.]

Now, two days a week he’s at AU teaching jazz and musical theater dance to about 25 musical theater majors.

“We do the original Broadway choreography, for shows like ‘CATS,’ ‘Chorus Line’ and ‘Music Man,’” he said, noting the high caliber of students who are enrolling in the dance department there. “The students at AU are hardworking and compassionate about others.”

Most recently, he worked with the students on choreography for “Little Women” at Byrum Hall.

Shepard is already looking forward to his next show that starts Feb. 6 at Beef & Boards — this will be his third role in “CATS” there. Of the 70-plus shows he’s done at B&B, he said “CATS,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and “West Side Story” rank among his favorites.

Outside the theater and classroom, he produces, directs, casts, writes and choreographs for clients across the country. Recent projects include the Kennedy Center’s Family Theatre Celebration, starring Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth. He also choreographs for the Indianapolis Children’s Museum’s Lilly Theatre and for Broadway Junior’s Disney College.

Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.