For UM Crookston Student Jessi Kappes, Ada, Minn., It's the Choreography

Jessi Kappes, Ada, Minn., is all about the dance in the latest theatrical production at the 
University of Minnesota Crookston. Kappes, a post secondary enrollment option student, has been dancing since she was three years old. Her experience led her to an opportunity to choreograph the most recent performance of Church Basement Ladies this weekend on the campus. 

Wherever her family lived, her parents, Tod and Dawn Kappes, enrolled her in lessons at a nearby dance studio. Her father served in the U.S. Navy, and the family moved around the country, as well as Japan, until settling in Ada, Minn., her father's hometown. 

She is currently enjoying ballroom dance, but she loves all kinds: jazz, hop-hop, tap and ballet. She helped choreograph last year's performance of The Little Mermaid in the Ada High School. Now the high school senior is working with the cast of Church Basement Ladies, along with accompanist Associate Professor George French, on different styles of dance for each of the play's four major numbers. 

Kappes is enjoying her role as choreographer. "I like both dancing and directing the choreography," she says. "I have gained a deeper appreciation for all the work that goes into choreography and those who come up with the dance steps. Church Basement Ladies has a lot of variety and the choreography takes much longer than one might expect."

Her favorite song in the performance is the first one she choreographed called "Closer to Heaven." She says a heavy credit load prevented her from taking a speaking part in the play itself, so spending her time on the dancing helped fulfill a theater credit and allowed her to try her hand at creating the choreography. "I would love to do this again if I have the chance," Kappes says. 

The performance of Church Basement Ladies is scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, December 13, 14, 15, 2013, in Kiehle Auditorium at the U of M Crookston. On Friday and Saturday evenings the performance is at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children 10 and under with a $15 maximum for families.

Today the University of Minnesota Crookston delivers 28 bachelor's degree programs, 20 minors, and 39 concentrations on campus--as well as 11 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit

Contact: George French, associate professor, Music and Theater, 218-218-8266 (; Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (