2019 Graduating Presentation "The Lights Have Vanished"


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Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Whitney Moncrief

Second Advisor

Kaitlyn Pollock


I choreographed a 9-minute piece that was performed at the 2019 Graduating Presentation concert, Labyrinth April 11-13. This concert was completely run by the 2019 BFA dance major class which included all 7 of our self-choreographed works as well as a guest artist piece by Joshua Manculich, we contacted and contracted to choreograph a new work for our class.

My goal for graduating presentation was to explore the idea of community that developed in New York City and across the United States after the tragic event of 9/11, and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. I was first inspired when I went to New York City last summer where I went to the 9/11 memorial and walked around Ground Zero. I felt senses of hope and peace looking around the park, watching hundreds of people come together to remember the lives lost on September 11th 2001. Although I was young when this event occurred, I believe this event is important to acknowledge, especially today because kids are now learning about 9/11 as an event in history classes. My choreographic work thus far tends to be abstract and personal without a clear storyline. This project challenged me to create a timeline of events within my choreography to honor a specific event in history that is relevant today. Rather than using my own experiences, I used other people’s personal stories from that specific day in history.

I broke this concept into three sections. The first section to reflected the idea of busy New Yorkers going about their daily lives. This section incorporated chaotic and direct spatial and travel patterns, focusing on the individual rather than connecting with others. I played with ambient “city sounds” such as cars, horns, wind, etc. to help paint the New York City picture I created. The second section abruptly began with a change of music into a dark, chaotic tempo to broadly resemble the terror of the attacks. The movement in this section was disordered and panicked to represent the viewpoint of the community of New York—individuals working at the World Trade Center, people surrounding the buildings, and families watching on TV all over the world. The final section resembled the sense of hope and love that both the community of New York and America in general, demonstrates every year on 9/11. To develop a sense of community, I created different partnerships and connections between dancers to show the teamwork that America demonstrated after the attacks on 9/11 in 2001.

My choreographic process was collaborative as I created genuine partnerships and duets with my dancers to build the sense of community I was first inspired by. My choreographic process began with a base phrase through improvisation that I manipulated with space, time and energy. Partnering phrases were developed by manipulating individual phrases that both the dancers and I created. It was important to me to reach out to my audience with this piece because older adults have distinct memories from that tragic day. A lot of my movement and images were inspired by the book “September Morning” from the 9/11 museum. The book includes excerpts from speeches from different memorials throughout the years. This helped me generate movement and explain the expressive qualities I want my dancers to portray.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

GP essay.pdf (155 kB)
Graduating Presentation Essay

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