Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Emory Dance Program Presents Our Graduating Seniors!

This year Emory Dance has 27 majors/minors graduating. Check out a few of our seniors below as they share their plans for the future!

Annabelle Zhuno
Major: Anthropology and Human Biology
Minor: Dance and  Movement Studies

"I am currently under review for a health sector position in Ghana with the Peace Corps, so fingers crossed! If that doesn't work out, I will be working in public health for two years before applying for masters of public health programs."

Hannah Gold
Major: Biology
Minor: Dance and Movement Studies

"After I graduate I will be taking a gap year and applying to medical school for the fall of 2018. I will be working in a research lab at Emory, and thankfully will be staying put in my new home in Atlanta."  

Virginia Spinks
Majors: Anthropology and Religion/ Dance and Movement Studies

"Immediately after graduation, I will be traveling to Sarajevo, Bosnia to study human rights as a 2017 Humanity in Action European Fellow. I will then travel to Sorrento, Italy to dance with the Staibdance Summer Intensive and after that return to my home town of Atlanta, Georgia to pursue dance professionally and to get involved with the non-profit community, as I develop my action project as a culmination of what I have learned in Sarajevo. I hope that this project will carry me into deep, and meaningful work in the Atlanta community." 

Hannah Schwartz
Majors: Business Administration/ Dance and Movement Studies

"I will be a GBS Consulting By Degrees Consultant at IBM."
Will Warren
Major: Religion
Minor: Dance and Movement Studies

"I started my collegiate career at Oxford College. After two-years of pre-med there, my liberal arts career exploded into newfound passions in what are now my major and minor, respectively: religious studies and dance and movement studies. During my time on the Atlanta campus, I have been most heavily involved the a cappella group, No Strings Attached (Emory’s premier, all-male a cappella group), Emory’s Student Programming Council, as well as with new student orientation as an orientation leader and subsequently as an orientation captain. This summer, I plan to travel through South America and will return to school to complete my pre-med requirements in hopes of going to pharmacy school."

Sara Pengelley
Major: Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology
Minor: Dance and Movement Studies

"I will be attending Staibdance Summer Intensive in Italy this summer, and next year I will be taking a gap year, working full-time as a research assistant at Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience while applying for medical school."

Jessica Bertram
Majors: Anthropology and Human Biology/ Dance and Movement Studies

"After graduation, I plan to take a year off to continue teaching dance, pursue professional dance companies, and work administratively in the arts community. I will then apply to graduate school to obtain a master of fine arts in performance." 

Julianna Joss
Majors: Political Science/ Dance and Movement Studies

"For the year following graduation, I received the Bobby Jones Scholarship to pursue a master of science in sustainable development at the University of St. Andrews.  Before I leave for Scotland, I will be spending my summer here in Atlanta to work as the program assistant facilitating the Emory Scholars' Scholarship and Service Program, as well as interning with the Southern Education Foundation."  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Emory Dance Program Presents: Honors Thesis Concerts

This weekend (March 23rd-March 25th) the Emory Dance Program will present honors theses by seniors, Rosie Ditre, Cherry Fung, Clara Guyton, Julianna Joss, and Eliza Krakower! Theses projects include the explorations of dance on screen, political relationships, poetry, identity expression, and the intersections of dance genres. 

Check out one of our featured theses choreographers, Julianna Joss, as she shares insight on her concept and process!

Photography by: Erin Baker

The Moving Identity: Explorations in the Body’s Capacity for Communication, Expression, and Understanding

By: Julianna Joss

“It’s not what I am, it’s who I am.”  Back in September 2016, during the first official rehearsal of this thesis concert process, I asked my dancers to talk about their identities.  One of my dancers, Alfredo, responded with these simple, yet powerful words.

The process of creating dance about identity began as a daunting and overwhelming task.  Who am I, as a privileged, white-passing woman, to create art about one of the most complex, controversial topics of the human experience?  How could I do this topic any justice?  With so many people creating about this topic right now, how could I possibly add anything original or meaningful?
Photography by: Jake Rosmarin

But with this one sentence about the who rather than the what, I let go.  This process would be about my dancers’ stories and my story.  This discussion about identity would not about categorizing, labeling, and drawing lines in the sand.  Rather, it is deeply personal and unique to each individual, the culmination of experiences, relationships, histories, and values, and I would find my humble voice in this conversation by honoring that and simply that.  I conducted my research on movement and identity in two separate branches: a four-part group piece exploring individual identity, relationships between identities, and group identity, in addition to a solo I created based on my personal identity. 
Photography by: Jake Rosmarin
The process of working with my five wildly talented, bold, and intelligent dancers, Ruchi, Hannah, Sara, Ben, and Alfredo, was highly collaborative. While this may be “my” thesis, I firmly believe that the group piece, To Be Seen, belongs to all of us equitably.  My method is I would give my dancers a prompt or an idea to work with and they would create movement, by themselves, in duets, or in larger groups.  “Create four movements that suggest ‘affirmation,’ such as ‘following’ or ‘noticing’ actions.”  “Find a moment of protest within your solo movement.”  Then I would massage and finesse the material usually by asking dancers to indulge or expand upon certain ideas or clarify intentions.  Organically, our process yielded dozens of snippets of movement moments and it was my job to look at this material and find the connections, themes, and patterns.  And the mystery of the creative process somehow revealed itself.  In the final weeks of my rehearsal process, I started to understand how I could tell this story – the story of five humans in four, interconnected parts. 

Photography by: Erin Baker
The most challenging part of my thesis process was creating my solo, The Space Between.  Ironically, in dealing with the complexity of myself, the best tactic was simplicity.  I used all my choreographic tools, clearly, but directly – proximity, repetition, focus, gesture, dynamic, and use of space.  However, within this functional framework, I have found the emotion, feeling, and uniquely personal nature of self.  I discovered a woman who exposes, who reveals, who touches, but also a woman who wrestles, who fights, and who struggles. 

The words that come to mind as I close my reflection on movement and identity are witness and nuance. 
Photography by: Jake Rosmarin

Witness. We are who we are because of how we relate to one other; how we see one another and bear witness to each other’s lives.
Nuance.  We are complex, the space we individually occupy between all our identities is what makes us, uniquely us.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Emory Dance Program Presents: Honors Thesis Concerts

Next weekend (March 23rd-March 25th) the Emory Dance Program will present honors theses by seniors, Rosie Ditre, Cherry Fung, Clara Guyton, Julianna Joss, and Eliza Krakower! Theses projects include the explorations of dance on screen, political relationships, poetry, identity expression, and the intersections of dance genres.

Check out one of our featured theses choreographers, Clara Guyton, as she shares insight on her concept and process!

Whispered Conversations: The Act of Making via Translation between Poetry and Dance 

By Clara Guyton

I can never tell
if I am a dancer who loves poetry
or a poet who loves to dance.

In my Junior spring at Emory, I took a class called “Poetry via Translation”. The professer would hand us a poem in another language and ask us to translate it. During these exercises, I created poetry I didn’t even know I had inside of me, using tools that called upon all of my senses. The process of translating the poems reminded me of how I choreograph on myself in the studio — the sometimes (seemingly) imposible task of transmitting what MUST be expressed to the physical body with succint clarity while not sacrificing emotion.

I realized the concept that the poem is the vehicle through which an idea or emotion or memory or thought or exclamation (etc.) is carried IS what a dancer is to the dance. A dancer’s body is the poem while the movement vocabulary is the idea, together evoking through performance the essence of the work (or world).

And so…I began my work on this project. This project that explores and challenges the boundaries of bold translation between the mediums of dance and poetry. This project that has shaped me as much as I have shaped it. This project that I am so grateful to nourish and share.

My process in the studio has always included writing. I usually carry about 6-7 books with me (usually poetry and NOT for class) to bring to the studio. About 4 of these books are often old and current journals.

(I like to call upon memories, for I believe that we cannot understand
what we are trying to say before we understand what we have said.)

In addition to researching these old journals and reading the poetry I brought, I write every rehearsal. I always leave time before or after each rehearsal to write about whatever came to mind during time in the studio, allowing me to inscribe what intellectual process occurred in conjunction with the physical experience.

It is a very private, personal process for me. Which may be why I prefer to choreograph for myself, on myself (at this moment in time).

Though my process in the studio is private, I think about my work in public very often. Outside of the studio, I (surprise!) write. I write in different sites that relate to the poem I am working with or I write a letter to the person I think of when I read the poem. I also scavenge for poems that relate to the poem I am working with, inundating myself with various perspectives of the same thought.

I really just bury myself in poetry when I make dance.

And I bathe in every lavish minute of it.

Some excerpts from journal entries in the studio:

(August 2016)
the ghost of what is not

            at the end of time {forever one step ahead of you}.

(September 2016)

You had written something illegible of the grieving rake,

             the secret one,

that grapples for an edge somewhere in the soft fleshy walls of your most


(October 2016)

i said hello instead and scattered passion like seeds on the snow.

(December 2016)

every ending is broken
every ending lingers

*all photography provided by Clara Guyton*