Chance To Witness: Fall 2018 Senior Project Concert in Two Programs

VCU Dance presents Chance to Witness: Fall 2018 Senior Project Concert in two programs, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, November 15, 16, 17 at 8:00 pm, and Saturday, November 17 at 2:00 pm at the Grace Street Theater, 934 West Grace Street, Richmond, VA. Tickets are $15/$10 students with a valid ID. Group discounts available. Visit or call 804-828-2020 for reservations.

The Fall 2018 Senior Project class invites you to join them as they proudly present their capstone projects. Ten choreographers will share their work with the audience, dealing with themes of empathy, transience, and the cyclical nature of our world.

The Departed, choreographed by Emily Allred, stems from the intimate experience of watching her maternal grandmother pass away. Allred’s personal experience with the seven stages of death has become the structure for the journey of this piece. Through the choreographic phrasing and partnering the dancers represent death as it occurs naturally.

In her new work Songs for Women, Songs for Men, Hallie Chametzky navigates the intersections of gender and performance through an investigation of sacred and secular ritual acts. The soundscore, edited by Colton Dodd, features traditional Jewish and Yiddish music intertwined with the voice and writings of her grandmother, the late poet Anne Halley. Seven women question the performative nature of gender by enacting their own gendered rituals, as well as those of Jewish women around the world and throughout time. The dancers experience the great beauty—as well as the dangers of oppression, limitation, and sexism—inherent in “gender-specific” ritual acts.

Taste of Mackerel, choreographed by Steele Goldman is informed by the work of filmmaker Yasujirō Ozu. Generational conflict and observing beauty in the transient nature of life are Ozu’s invariable themes. Taste of Mackerel will investigate the family dynamic and universal, unavoidable disappointments.

“Masculinity isn’t just for men. Femininity isn’t just for women.” ~Addison Ector
S.U.P! by Willis King, Jr. investigates stereotypes of hyper masculinity in and about black culture. The work criticizes the way societal norms and religious traditions suppress “feminine qualities” in African American men. Conversations through physical exploration of tension and release develops authentic human connection with a vibrant movement vocabulary tempered by sustained, sensual lines and sudden shifts.

In Monument to Opulence, Katlyn Lawhorne transforms Baroque-era architecture and political intrigue into movement. Five dancers physicalize the detailed designs of buildings such as the palace of Versailles as they navigate their shifting relationships, much like the members of Louis XIV’s court.  The work fills the stage with intricate motion and ornate imagery.

impassive copulation, choreographed by Megan Liverman, investigates how society has warped the ways in which individuals perceive and express their love for one another.  Liverman explores the cycle of searching for a singular person to complete one’s life, feeling dissatisfied, and moving on.  Her dancers perform such actions mindlessly without a sense of time, space, and/or consciousness.

Elsie Neilson’s work, Soul Swept, explores the moving body and dance as channels through which higher levels of consciousness can be reached. Fluid movements paired with sweeping music will evoke a sensation of wind and breath that encompasses not only the dancers, but the audience, to create a collective experience of transcendence.

Et alia, a site-based work choreographed by Danielle Simmons, will delve into how to create trust and unity within a community. To develop trust and unity requires risk. Within a group, everyone must first take a chance on others and their ideas to see if the outcome is worth the risk. Simmons asks the dancers to take risks by using Merce Cunningham’s “Chance Methods” to foster a true “in the moment” experience that has no pre-determined outcome. The audience will collaborate with the performers to determine the course of the work.

At Arm’s Length by Helen Solomita explores the world of an introvert indoctrinated into a society that values extroversion.  This work will demonstrate different meanings of “connection” as well as how the comfort of introverts and extroverts contrast in different settings.

בבקשה באנגלית / In English Please, choreographed by Zoe Wampler, explores the six phases of culture shock and adaptation. Drawing on the dancers’ personal experience with feeling foreign, Wampler has crafted individualized trajectories for how each will navigate the piece. Through the gradual formation of groups and subcultures, the work will synthesize a new cultural dynamic for the once empty space.

Chance To Witness is the fourth event in the 2018-2019 performance season. The presenting program of VCU Dance is committed to building and engaging dance audiences in the University and Richmond communities while providing opportunities for artists to present and create work.

Recognized by professional dancers and choreographers as “a place where things are happening,” Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Dance and Choreography offers a vibrant and stimulating atmosphere where students prepare for careers in dance.