Spring Dance Concert

Friday, April 19 - 8:00 PM

The Dance Program of the Department of Drama at the University of Virginia presents its Spring Dance Concert on April 18, 19, and 20, at 8:00 p.m. in the Ruth Caplin Theatre. The spring concert will showcase student and faculty work alongside a new piece choreographed by guest artist Ronya-Lee Anderson. Each of the works presented in this concert anchors in the concept of connection, how we relate to ourselves, one another, a physical place, an experience or identity, as well as the impact of past connections on our present and future.

The Dance Program was thrilled to host Carribean-American folk-soul singer-songwriter and dancer-choreographer Ronya-Lee Anderson as our guest artist in residence earlier this semester, thanks to the generous support of the Virginia Arts Council. In addition to multiple workshops and an informal performance of a current work, Anderson created a new piece with six students for the Spring Dance Concert! During her residency, Anderson said that she appreciated being invited to share her creative process, practices, and performance with the students in the Dance Program. When asked about this new piece, Anderson said, “some of the words that guided our creative work together in creating Here is Sanctuary were ‘home,’ ‘safety,’ and ‘courage.’ When invited to reflect on these words, the [student] dancers were vulnerable and expressive.” The process included working on weight shifts, moving in time with music, using breath to guide movement, finding support in moving together, and fully extending movements through the arms and torso. “I hope the dancers will hone their individual voices and discover new ways the work comes alive as others witness it.”

Two members of the Dance faculty will present pieces in the Spring Concert, Assistant Professor Katie Baer Schetlick, and Head and Artistic Director of Dance, Kim Brooks Mata. Brooks Mata began the creative process for her piece, a mend, from a point of exploration in and around seen and unseen connections and energetic exchanges that occur when ‘in relationship with,’ a phrase and in fact an experience that encompasses so many possibilities and variations in how we are linked to one another. Taking the inquiry a step further, “we began to investigate disruptions in these exchanges and the ripples that follow,” Brooks Mata said. “a mend invites the dancers to explore what mending a rupture feels like, invites the audience to consider what a repair might look like, and how these exchanges or entanglements continue to live in our bodies.”

Schetlick’s piece was inspired by the personal musings of the performers – knitting new clothing from old garments, noticing the subtle and nuanced shifts of birds in transition, playing with the multiplicity of forms housed within one's body. Schetlick added that “what the wings hold uses the space of the theatre to (re)figure past performances and actively propose new configurations. The work, built from a series of improvisational prompts that the performers will revisit each night, embraces precarity, networked interdependencies, and ends that make way for other beginnings.” what the wings hold also features newly composed music by Heather Mease (Ph.D. University of Virginia, 2024) that acts as an additional performer inside the work.

Alyssa Kelley, returning student choreographer and a fourth-year student majoring in Biology and Environmental Thought and Practice with a minor in Dance, is also focusing on organic creation starting with her performers. Kelley says she is “creating a piece without a specific storyline, but that is inspired by the friendship between the dancers and the love they all share for dance.” This is the third piece Kelley has choreographed for the Dance Program's Concert, and in her final semester at UVA, she says “I am crafting the piece to be a farewell to my time in the dance department. The dancers have also been given a prompt to say their own "farewell" to something, and their movement response to this will be included in the piece as they all get the chance to share individually.” 

Two of this semester’s student choreographers are each creating a piece for a Dance Program concert for the first time. Lydia Driggers, a fourth-year Biology major and Dance minor, is working on using dance to illustrate the emotional journey she experienced during the process of leaving and healing from an abusive relationship. Driggers says “I have focused on generating movement from places of anger, brokenness, heartbreak, and hope. I am excited to see where this dance leads and the audience’s response to it.”

Emily Taylor is a fourth-year Kinesiology major and Dance minor who has choreographed many group pieces for the student club Virginia Dance Company (DCO). In this solo piece just ahead of her graduation, Taylor is exploring ways to honor her time at UVA, her continued involvement in dance, and her growth as a maker and performer.

This semester’s concert also includes a film created by Mix Rudolph, a fourth-year Studio Art major with minors in Architecture and Drama. Rudolph’s piece, commander, is the result of a short film project they created in the fall 2023 Screendance course. Rudolph set out to make a “two-channel piece that addressed gender roles and expectations along with the cyclic motion of invisible labor.”

The Spring Dance Concert brings alive a myriad of relationships, interdependencies, and emotional landscapes. Audiences will be offered the opportunity to experience a wide range of approaches to the creative process and the resulting forms of movement and composition. Combined with glimpses into the interior lives of choreographers/directors and performers alike, the evening promises engaging, evocative, and eclectic performances.

Tickets for the Spring Dance Concert can be purchased online at artsboxoffice.virginia.edu, by calling 434-924-3376, or in person at the UVA Arts Box Office, located in the lobby of the UVA Drama Building, open Tuesday through Friday from noon until 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and UVA Faculty/Staff, and $5 for students. Full-time UVA students may receive one free ticket if reserved at least 24 hours in advance of their desired performance date. 

Free parking on performance nights is available in the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, located next to the Drama Building.


Ruth Caplin Theatre, 109 Culbreth Rd
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Event Type
Theatre / Dance


University of Virginia Department of Drama and Dance

Date / Time

Friday, April 19, 2024
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM


(434) 924-8137
More Info: