Kevan Sullivan dances his way to success

Like one of the characters in the long-running Broadway musical A Chorus Line, Kevan Sullivan watched his older sister Katie take dance lessons and said, “I can do that!”

At two years old, his mother signed Sullivan up for a introductory class at the Lee Lund Studio of Dance in Milford. The 22-year old recent graduate of the University School of the Arts in Philadelphia hasn't stopped dancing.

Growing up in Milford, Sullivan attended Jonathan Law High School. Upon graduation, he received a full scholarship to the prestigious arts college.

This summer Sullivan joined the Koresh Dance Company.

“It's so wonderful to sign a professional dance contract when you are right out of school,” said Ambere Rogers, owner of the Lee Lund Studio of Dance.

Rogers took over the reins of the Milford studio from her mother, Lee Lund, about the same time that Sullivan was leaving for college.

However, when she was in between her own professional dance engagements, Rogers visited the studio and she saw Sullivan's talent blossom.

“The longer Kevan danced, the more his commitment to dance grew,” Rogers said. “It sounds funny to say but Kevan has great feet. He also had the ability to stretch.”

At the same time that he took jazz, tap and theater classes, Sullivan studied the martial arts and earned a 2nd degree black belt. When he was in eighth grade, his teachers, including mentors Lee Lund and Debi Passarelli, advised that he learn ballet.

“At first I didn't like it,” Sullivan admitted. “But when I was in college, I really appreciated the foundation it gives to you.”

A resident of Philadelphia, Sullivan currently trains at ballet every day at the Koresh Dance Company's studio.

Sullivan officially began to work with the dance company in August. To keep his body fit and in-shape, Sullivan by works out at the gym, attends dance class and eats nutritious foods.

While he was in college, Sullivan transformed his body by implementing a new healthy regimen for eating and exercising. “At my heaviest, I was 275 pounds,” said Sullivan. Even on his 6 ft. 2 inch-frame, Sullivan was on the large side. Determined to tone his body and make it leaner, longer and overall stronger, Sullivan consulted with dance instructors at the University of the Arts.

“I come from a family where there's heart disease, diabetes and obesity so this was very important to me,” Sullivan said.

This kind of perseverance is what, Sullivan believes, made Ronan Koresh, founder of the Koresh Dance Company, notice him.

A professor at The University College of the Arts, Koresh offered Sullivan a job at the end of his junior year. Sullivan turned down the offer, though, because he wanted to finish college.

In early January of this year, Koresh once again approached him about joining his company, which performs in Philadelphia and on tour. Although Sullivan chose to audition for other dance companies “to see what else was out there,” he was drawn to Koresh's theatrical pieces which require dancers to have strong technical skills.

Sullivan was pleased to be able to return to the Lee Lund Studio of Dance this year to choreograph a dance work, Time Lapse, for the adult company to perform.

“He was so generous with his time and came back and forth at least six times this year to set the piece,” Rogers said. “We were so grateful. And the choreography is wonderful.”

Sullivan's teachers in Milford were not surprised, though, by his aptitude for creating compelling contemporary dances. When he was only a junior in high school, Sullivan began to choreograph for the studio's dance companies, said Rogers.

“He's always had a talent for choreography,” Rogers said. “He did that first piece without taking any kind of composition classes.”