Two KSU Department of Dance alumni were named to Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” list

Simone Stevens dancingSimone Stevens (Photo by David Caselli, courtesy of Kennesaw State University)

Two Kennesaw State University Department of Dance alumni have been named to Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” list.

Simone Stevens and Darvensky Louis were the KSU honorees included in the annual list.

“It’s a treat to see two KSU Owls on the list and it speaks volumes about our students and our program,” department chair Marsha Barsky said for KSU’s news release about the event

Dance Magazine published this introduction to the list:


What’s next? Our annual list of dancers, choreographers and companies on the verge of breaking through offers several answers to the question of where our field is headed. We’re betting we’ll be seeing—and hearing—more from these 25 artists not just this year, but for many more to come.

According to the KSU news release, this isn’t the first time an alumnus of the university received this honor:

Kennesaw State alumna Indya Childs was named to the 25 to Watch list in 2014 by Dance Magazine, which has been a leading publication covering dance since the 1920s. Childs is an Arts and Social Justice Fellow at Emory University and premiered her dance and art installation “Tokoliana” in Atlanta this fall. 

Simone Stevens graduated in 2017, and was hired this summer by the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, an internationally renowned contemporary dance company.

Dance Magazine had the following to say about Stevens:

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago rarely hires from the Windy City’s freelance circuit. But former freelancer Simone Stevens made her company debut at Dance for Life last August, three years after moving to Chicago with her sights set on the company. Stevens grew up dancing in the Atlanta suburbs and began working with various choreographers in Chicago after graduating from Kennesaw State University. She has it all: flawless technique, impassioned emotional sensitivity and brazen versatility, the latter developed as she floated between wildly diverse projects. 

Darvensky Louis (photo by Bubba Carr, provided courtesy of Kennesaw State University)

Darvensky Louis is the founder of Sequence One, a company that “aims to provide recent college graduates opportunities to perform and tour.”

Dance Magazine wrote the following about him:

Every move Darvensky Louis makes is multilayered and arresting. In Omar Román De Jesús’ Muerte Cotidiana, he breathes into a leisurely open stance, arms spreading as if yielding into the expansive feel of a sunset. Suddenly, he drops into rumba-flavored weight shifts, then spills to the floor and springs weightlessly to his feet. His legs restlessly turn in and out, hands wiping down his face and chest, torso rippling, as if simultaneously hating and enjoying the skin he’s in.

The Department of Dance began in 2005, and in the beginning, only offered a minor in dance.  Now the department confers a Bachelor of Arts in Dance, with concentrations in modern dance and ballet, in addition to the dance minor.

“Congratulations to Simone Stevens and Darvensky Louis for this national recognition and to everyone at KSU Dance who has contributed to the development of these two emerging artists,” KSU Dance Company founder Ivan Pulinkala said. “Under the outstanding leadership of Marsha Barsky, KSU Dance continues to be distinguished nationally.”