Mosaic / April 3, 2019

Dance alum reflects on a decade of movement

Brian Humphereys dances next to his reflection during a class he taught during his time in residency. Humpherys is nearing the end of his dance career, one he has had for a decade. (Rob Nguyen/TKS)

Before the dance studios in the Auxiliary gym building were replaced, then sophomore Brian Humpherys ‘09 experienced movement in ways he’d never imagined after his first dance class. The very next day he was signed up for a minor in Dance, his schedule meticulously set so he would have just enough time to complete it.

“It was revelatory. It was like the floodgates opened,” Humpherys said.

Humpherys didn’t discover his love of dance until he attended a residency himself in the spring of his sophomore year, taught by New York choreographer, David Dorfman. He’d heard about the residency through an email sent to the Student Distribution list and decided to see what it was all about. This decision changed everything.

“Growing up I’d done theatre, martial arts, various other sports and gymnastics. All of them were missing something,” Humpherys said. “[Dance] combined all of the things that I loved.”

After his experience with Dorfman, Humpherys immediately went to his advisor and asked if it was possible to earn a minor in Dance in only two years. After working out his schedule, Humphreys was on a new, unexpected track.

“I started taking dance seriously my junior year. I was all about dance and bio, “Humpherys said.

Since graduating, Humpherys has worked professionally in Chicago as both a dancer and choreographer, though he recently retired from dancing. His choreography has been featured in Hydra, RADfest, Tiffany Lawson Dance Co. and EMergence Choreographic Showcase.

Humphereys demonstrates the proper posture and movement for students taking his class. (Rob Nguyen/TKS)

A little over 10 years after he discovered his love of dance, Humpherys returned to Knox to run a week-long dance residency, ending with a performance on March 30. The group will perform this 10-minute piece of choreography again on May 9, 10 and 11, fully refined and costumed. Along with the performance, Humphreys served as a guest professor in several dance classes throughout the week.

Humpherys’ residency took place at a major turning point in his life as he transitions from a career in dance to something entirely new. Currently, he is attending graduate school at DePaul University studying accounting with the hopes of applying it to a career in forensics.

“It’s a nebulous kind of transition period for me right now, which is why it’s wild to come full circle. I get to share this decade’s worth of knowledge,” Humpherys said. “I was you guys: a collegiate dancer learning these things and stumbling my way through. Ten years later, I have these transferable skills now.”

Though he’s nearing the end of his professional dance career and this chapter of his life he’s excited to share everything that he’s learned with the Knox community.

“I’m really excited to introduce [dancers] to brand new styles. When I graduated I was an amalgamation,” Humpherys said. “Over the course of the last decade, [my career has] been mish-mashed, woven around, reformed, degraded, and resurrected into my own.”

Sophomores Gwen Merrick and Jaelyn Harry perform a contemporary/modern dance. (Rob Nguyen/TKS)

Jessica Beckman

Tags:  dance knox alum Knox proud modern/contemporary dance professional dancer residency teacher

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