From a studio to the stage


The dance program is showing off some new moves.

Seniors Dylan Friedman, Carlyn Levy, Erin Duffee, Chelsea Ryll, Samantha Ethridge, Kaleigh Mulpeter and junior Tierney Munger put on a recital showcasing their own choreography on Nov. 13.

This showcase is one of two that students in professor Paul Besaw’s choreography class are required to perform.

   For one of the showcases, the students must choreograph their own solo. For the other, they must choreograph a group dance that is performed by other dancers. 

The second showcase will take place on Dec. 11 in the UVM Recital Hall.

 For a few of the students, the showcase on Nov. 13 was their first time performing a solo. At the question and answer session following the showcase, the students agreed that this was a nerve-racking experience. 

“Getting feedback in the class setting was really helpful for preparing for the performance,” Duffee said.

The showcase included a wide variety of pieces. 

The first, choreographed and performed by Friedman, was titled “Box Dance.” Friedman performed the entire dance from inside a cardboard box on stage. 

While this piece was not performed to music, other pieces were.

The piece that Duffee choreographed and performed, titled “Something Between Seasons,” was performed to Bon Iver’s song “Skinny Love.” 

Ethridge’s piece, titled “Changemaker,” was her first time choreographing her own solo. 

“I really wanted to try and discover how dance could be used as a form of activism,” Ethridge said. “As an environmental studies major and dance minor, their point of intersection has always been very intriguing to me.” 

 “Changemaker” was a very personal piece for Ethridge. There were two major sources from which she drew inspiration. 

The first was a favorite quote by Wangari Maathai that reads: “There comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness. To reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.” 

   Ethridge said that the quote got her “interested in the reccurring theme of time in the piece.”

A YouTube video called “The Time is Now” was her second source of inspiration.

 “There have been numerous eruptions of change in our history,” Ethridge said. “That feeling of empowerment and realizing your own potential to create positive change was my inspiration.” 

The showcases are a way for students to gain performance experience and share their work.

The student choreographers were happy with the outcome of their performances. “Seeing everyone’s pieces evolve from the studio to the stage was my favorite part. The transformation was really exciting,” Levy said.