Crystal Chiu '25
Sep 9, 2022
This year, Mercersburg Academy welcomes a new instructor of dance, Kelsey Rupp, who is taking the place of former, long-time Director of Dance, Denise Dalton. Rupp grew up in Williamsport, Maryland where she began ballet at the age of three. She received her BFA from Radford University, where, according to her, she fell in love with modern dance.
Rupp then started teaching at local dance studios, eventually becoming a professor at Hagerstown Community College and later the director of a dance company. Rupp received her MFA from Wilson College, concentrating on choreography and interdisciplinary studies.
As the interim Director of Dance, Rupp hopes to break old stereotypes and the infamous toxic culture that is normalized in many dance institutions.
“I think one of my biggest motivations for continuing to be a dance educator and what brought me into the classroom is undoing a lot of the stereotypes surrounding dance and also training safely because that’s a huge issue in my generation. There were a lot of injuries and there was a lot less understanding about kinesiology,” said Rupp. “So when I am teaching dance and setting choreography, I am very focused on each individual being trained individually and not the whole class receiving the same corrections and expecting everyone to look exactly the same. Letting each dance hone their individuality is my inspiration for being a dance educator.”
Rupp encourages anybody to try dancing. She said, “I want everyone that comes to watch the dance concerts to leave knowing that everybody can dance. They can see themselves in a dancer or multiple dancers on stage, and it's an art form that is instantaneous because, you know, it's never the same twice. Even if you're performing the same piece, it's never the same, no matter how many times you do it.”
Rupp has nothing but praise for the students in the dance PGA, saying that they are wonderful and have had so much fun together, both in rehearsals and during the Inbound movie night. Since her arrival, she has felt nothing but welcomed from everybody and is getting to know other new faculty well.
Rupp is hoping to be named Director of Dance next year, after her one-year term as interim director ends.