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Senior Dance Major’s Present their Capstone Projects

An amazing group of senior dance majors will be presenting their senior capstone projects, entitled PROXIMITY this weekend in Palmer Auditorium as the end of the semester draws near! This group has worked so hard over the last year to create their own individual choreography that they will present, so keep reading to learn all about them and be sure to come to one of their showings this weekend!

(Show A: Thursday April 20th at 7:30pm & Saturday April 22nd at 7:30 featuring choreography by senior Dance Majors Danielle Kaplan, Emilie Stoll, Marina Gearhart, & Erika Martin.) 

(Show B: Friday April 21st 7:30pm & Saturday April 22nd at 2pm featuring choreography by Brooke Ross, Ruy Zambrano, Ashley Barattini, & Marisa Bryant.)

Ashley Barattini

Hometown: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Major: Dance and Mathematics

Extracurricular activities: Dance Club, Math Help Center Tutor, Eclipse

What has been your favorite dance class and/or professor here at Conn?

My favorite dance class was last semester with Ya’ara Moses when she taught Gaga. This class was an incredible experience, filled with fun and new techniques of improvisation, and getting to know her was such a joy!

What does the Capstone performance mean to you?

The Capstone performance is the time where Senior Dance Majors can showcase and express their growth throughout their four years at Conn. While the performance is always amazing because we can perform our work, the process leading up to the performance is what I find more meaningful.

For a sneak peek—what can we expect of the piece you choreographed in the performance?

My piece will be fun and summery, with live singing!

Do you hope to incorporate dance into your post graduation life?

After graduation I am hoping to take classes, teach classes, and go from there to see where the dance world takes me!

As a graduating Senior, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

My advice for underclassmen would be to spend your time doing the things you love and with the people you love. It’s not worth your time to be bogged down by all the obstacles college has to throw at you, enjoy yourself and love every second of it.

Marisa Bryant

Hometown: Acton, MA

Major: Behavioral Neuroscience and Dance

Extracurricular activities: Eclipse, Habitat for Humanity, Psych/Neuro SAB, Blood Drive Committee, Dance Club

What has been your favorite dance class and/or professor here at Conn? West African with Shani Collins-Achilles and Advanced Composition with David Dorfman! Shani is such an inspiration and the live drumming in class is amazing to dance to. David on the other hand created an environment for us to make work, give feedback, and be vulnerable, which really bonded the eight dance majors together.

What does the Capstone performance mean to you?

This Capstone performance is the perfect way for me to close out my college dance experience. I don’t think I will be dancing much after graduation, so this show is a great way to leave what I’ve learned on the stage for others to see.

For a sneak peek—what can we expect of the piece you choreographed in the performance?

Blue, the brain, and beautiful dancers!

Do you hope to incorporate dance into your post graduation life?

I already have a job after graduation, but if I have the time I hope to teach dance classes at my studio next year! Besides that, I would love to take tap classes in Boston whenever possible.

As a graduating Senior, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

Take every opportunity to try something new, get involved, and meet new people. You won’t regret it!

Erika Martin

Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Major: Dance & American Studies

Minor: Sociology

Extracurricular activities: 3 year member of SafetyNet

What has been your favorite dance class and/or professor here at Conn?

One of the most influential dance classes I have had at Conn was mapping bodies with Shani Collins-Achille.  This course gave me a lot of information that brought together lineage with movement and ultimately helped me synthesize different parts of my academic research with dance.  This semester it has even informed my honors thesis which looks a lot at choreographic lineage and relationship of movement to ancestry.

What does the Capstone performance mean to you?

The Capstone performance is really just another phenomenal opportunity for me to share my choreography.  I recognize that this will be the last time for awhile I have a chance to show my work on a proscenium stage, but I know that it is not the end.  Just really thankful I have had the opportunity to curate this show with my peers and dance with them one more time.

For a sneak peek—what can we expect of the piece you choreographed in the performance?

In my piece you will find light and dark, mud and clay, life and death, and maybe a few earthworms.

Do you hope to incorporate dance into your post graduation life?

Absolutely!  Dance will always be a part of my life in someway.  At this time I am interested in teaching Ballroom Dance Professionally while I pursue my choreographic and performance career in modern dance.

As a graduating Senior, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

Take the time to appreciate the space and the classes you have access to while you are at Conn.  While there is so much waiting for you in the real world, too often getting caught up in the stress prevents us from getting the most of what we have at our finger tips.  Take care of yourself, but also take every opportunity you can.

Emilie Stoll

Hometown: Manhattan, NY

Major: Dance

Extracurricular activities: Student Advising, Dance Club

What has been your favorite dance class and/or professor here at Conn?

Though I am a dance major, I have taken several Human Development classes all taught by professor Bhatia. He is absolutely wonderful and engages every class I have taken with him. I also love the modern technique classes as they leave so much room for exploration, and build such a comforting sense of community.

What does the Capstone performance mean to you?

I see this project as a reason to self reflect and hone in on my creative process as an artist through memory, life experience, and collaboration.

For a sneak peek—what can we expect of the piece you choreographed in the performance?

A little bit of everything I’d say. I drew inspiration from a lot of different people, places, and things. Sounds cliché, yet it never seizes to amaze me how much inspiration is out there.  

Do you hope to incorporate dance into your post graduation life?

Most definitely. I don’t plan on ever straying far from my love of movement and the arts in general. How that goal will manifest itself is TBD, but as of this summer, I’ll be interning with Dance Magazine while teaching children’s yoga.

As a graduating Senior, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

Honestly, to walk, dance, what have you, to your own rhythm. Though it is totally valid to follow the footsteps of others, at the end of the day it is important to follow your own instincts, desires, and let that drive your next adventures. 

Marina Gearhart

Hometown: Groveland, MA

Major: Dance & Psychology

Extracurricular activities: barista at Coffee Grounds – but mainly dance, dance & more dance!

What has been your favorite dance class and/or professor here at Conn?

Lisa Race’s modern technique classes! I loved learning and working with inversions (handstands & headstands)! This class I found the most growth in my movement and myself.

What does the Capstone performance mean to you?

I was inspired my sophomore year by Christophe Desorbay’s thesis piece that I performed in. His process was so admirable and had such an impact on me. That piece was the reason I decided to major in dance. So I suppose I wanted have this impact on someone else.

For a sneak peek—what can we expect of the piece you choreographed in the performance?

Paint! That’s all I want to give away.

Do you hope to incorporate dance into your post graduation life?

Yes! I will be getting hip surgery, so not immediately following, but dance will most definitely always be a part of my life. I hope to work as a dance psychologist and researcher as well.

As a graduating Senior, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

Spend as much time with your friends as you can. Try new things. Meet new people. Go to as many events as you can. It is just so ridiculous how fast it has flown by!!

Danielle Kaplan

Hometown: Westwood, MA

Major: Dance and Economics Double Major

Extracurricular activities: Department of Dance Faculty and Capstone performances, Dance Club, Department of Dance SAB Chair, and Her Campus Executive Board

What has been your favorite dance class and/or professor here at Conn?

Picking one professor as my favorite is honestly impossible because they are all such wonderful mentors, artists, and humans! As far as classes, Advanced Choreography taught by David Dorfman was a very special experience that I shared with the seven other senior Dance majors this past fall. The class had an amazing environment of trust, and it changed the way I look at art and the world. I also have to give a shout out to Shawn Hove’s Dance for the Camera course that I am currently taking. Learning how to both create my own dance films and watch others’ films with a sharper eye have been such fun skills to learn my senior spring.

What does the Capstone performance mean to you?

The way the department supports this performance is really remarkable. I have been so grateful for all of the resources and encouragement I have received throughout the process of creating my piece. I am so proud of my fellow classmates for each creating work that truly reflects his/her individual, choreographic voice. More simply, this performance feels like such a milestone, and I am so excited to share the experience with people both in and outside of the Dance department!

For a sneak peek—what can we expect of the piece you choreographed in the performance?

My piece is entitled, “How Far Will We Float? An Autobiography.” Since this Capstone is much longer than the pieces I have created in the past, I took the opportunity to include several different pieces of music (shout out to my Dad for finding me all of my music, he rocks!). Throughout the multiple shifts of sounds and vibes, I want the audience, as well as my dancers, to just feel good throughout the journey of the piece.

Do you hope to incorporate dance into your post graduation life?

Absolutely! Although I will not be pursing dance professionally, I plan on continuing to dance and choreograph in whatever capacity I can. That being said, to go back to an earlier question, this Capstone performance means so much because it is wrapping up the time in my life in which I am most immersed in dance. I will truly miss it!

As a graduating Senior, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

~~Relax~~

The college experience inevitably brings about a lot of stressors. Something that I have reminded myself throughout my four years at Conn (at the risk of sounding philosophical or sappy) is that everything happens for a reason. This idea has really served as my coping mechanism for stress. So, my advice is to work hard, but seriously consider stressing less. Once I figured this out, it was the best decision I ever made!

 

Brooke Ross

Hometown: Long Island, NY

Major: Psychology and Dance

Extracurricular activities: Dance, Working with children

What has been your favorite dance class and/or professor here at Conn?

I have enjoyed every dance class I’ve taken all four years at Conn. Each professor in the Dance Department I have had the opportunity to learn from, has helped me grow into the dancer I am today.

What does the Capstone performance mean to you?

The Capstone performance is a way for the dance majors to come together and show these pieces of art that we have been working on. It has been an amazing and hard process at the same time. This is our last time that we can come together through the beauty of dance, before we all adventure out into the world after graduation.

For a sneak peek—what can we expect of the piece you choreographed in the performance?

You can expect to see some rose petals in my piece, not saying how many, and nine beautiful dancers who give it their all up on that stage!

Do you hope to incorporate dance into your post graduation life?

After graduation, I will be attending Adelphi University for the Graduate School Psychology Program. I hope to also incorporate dance when I am not taking class. On my days off, I would like to travel to NYC to start a new chapter of my dance career.

As a graduating Senior, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

Never take a day at Conn for granted. Time goes by so fast, and as the days come closer to graduation, I wish I could do it all over again. I am excited to start a new journey after graduation, but I will certainly miss all my camel friends.

Ruy Zambrano

Hometown: Avon, Ct

Major: dance

Minor: musicology

Extracurricular activities: 

petting dogs, sleeping, hiking, listening to music, talking about music, theorizing the fall of the patriarchy 

What has been your favorite dance class and/or professor here at Conn?

 I love Heidi’s class. It feels so good in my body and helps me understand all of the different qualities of movement I have to offer. 

What does the Capstone performance mean to you?

It’s another way to excerpt and reset a piece that I have been working on all semester. 

For a sneak peek—what can we expect of the piece you choreographed in the performance?

I think it’s hilarious, in like an Ibsen kind of way. Some people would say it’s swishy, creepy and kerpowunkly. 

Do you hope to incorporate dance into your post graduation life?

I’m going to get a masters in Dance politics and sociology so yeah. 

As a graduating Senior, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who are already graduated because they survived senior year and can help you. 

Emily is currently a senior attending Connecticut College. She is a Biology and English double major. Her interests include community service, lazy days in bed watching movies and hanging out outdoors with friends. Like her interests, her taste in music and movies is all over the place. She has had an amazing four years here at Conn College so far, and is excited and nervous about being much closer to the REAL WORLD!
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