2017 Gruber Honors Award Recipient

Posted May 12, 2017

Missouri Valley College Senior Tea G. Mortensen has won the Loren C. Gruber Honors Award for her honors thesis, The Unknown/Rejsen. Mortensen’s project brought together choreography, performance and scholarly research to produce two pieces. The Unknown is an 11 minute piece based in Mortensen’s historical and cultural research about zombies, while Rejsen is a shorter, more personal piece.

“I wanted to challenge myself and choreograph outside of my comfort zone,” Mortensen said. “The original intent for Rejsen was to tell my story. Rejsen was going to be a self-reflection of my journey in America. My journey starts in Denmark where people made me feel insecure about my body and personality, my friends and family were telling me that I would be home within three months. The dance would then continue in the U.S. where I was determined to prove my friends and family wrong.”

The full project was performed at Missouri Valley College in February. Rejsen was performed at the American College Dance Association and The Unknown was reprised by Rosemarie Bennett at the Spring 2017 Student Research Symposium, where it won the Excellence in Student Research Award for Best Performance.

“I had images in my mind that I knew I wanted to happen but how to connect them, and if it was even possible to do so, was the hard part. One thing that helped me was to ask the dancers in the piece to improvise to the music. I videotaped them and then I looked at some of their movement and worked from there,” Mortensen said.

Mortensen, originally from Denmark, plans to teach dance in the United States for a year before returning to her native country to pursue a career in dance. The Loren C. Gruber Honors Award was endowed by Loren C. Gruber, Professor Emeritus at Missouri Valley College, before his death in 2014.


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