Kent Dance Ensemble Welcomes Guest Artist Ray Mercer

The Kent Dance Ensemble, under the artistic direction of Gregory King, will welcome guest artist Ray Mercer to Kent State for a residency Feb. 6-9, 2020. During his residency, Mercer will set a piece on members of the Kent Dance Ensemble which will then be performed at KDE's annual concert in April.

Ray Mercer, a native of Omaha, NE, is in his 17th year as a member of the Tony Award-winning cast of Disney’s The Lion King. Throughout his ongoing Broadway run, he has simultaneously emerged as one of New York City’s most prolific choreographers. 

Mercer’s dynamic, visually striking and thought-provoking choreography has won the best onstage presentation award seven times at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ annual Gypsy of the Year competition, more than any other choreographer. 

Recipient of Joffrey Ballet's Choreographers of Color Award and a Capezio Ace Awards finalist, Mercer has created work on Ailey II, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, New Jersey Ballet, the Pensacola Ballet and Philadanco, among others, and for Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Care/Equity Fights AIDS. He was also the Associate Choreographer for the Telemundo Upfronts. 

Mercer started his dance training at the age of 17 when he studied at the University of New Orleans. He has performed with Chicago’s Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, as a guest artist with the Boston Ballet and on the national tour of The Lion King. He’s worked with performers Garth Fagan, George Faison, Aretha Franklin, Kevin Iega Jeff, Louis Johnson, Rod Stewart and more. 

Currently the resident choreographer for the Ailey/Fordham Bachelor of Fine Arts program, Mercer also directed and choreographed for the Smithsonian Oman Project, where his choreographic work is archived in the Smithsonian Museum. Just last year, Mercer choreographed Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera at The New York Musical Theatre Festival. 

Mercer and his work as a choreographer have been recognized by The New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Dance Magazine and Movmnt Magazine.

For more information on Ray Mercer, visit

For more information on the Kent Dance Ensemble's annual concert, visit 

POSTED: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 10:51am
UPDATED: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 10:53am