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Heather Pynne '11, Alena Giesche '11, Christian Morel '11, and Catherine Miller '11. Photo Alan Kimara Dixon

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Senior Dance Majors Perform April 15-16

April 1, 2010

New Works Demonstrate the Multifaceted Nature of the Contemporary Relationship

Middlebury Vt—Senior dance majors Alena Giesche, Catherine Miller, Christian Morel, and Heather Pynne will present their collaborative senior thesis work on Friday and Saturday, April 15th and 16th at 8:00 P.M. at the Mahaney Center for the Arts Dance Theater. The concert centers on the theme of relationships, with each choreographer bringing her or his own unique insight to the topic.



The concert has been created through collective creativity with a high dosage of individual artistic expression. All the seniors are featured in “Qua-art-tet”, a piece that threads the concert together by drawing upon the many dance styles that students learn and perform at Middlebury— improvisation, hip hop, social dance, modern, experimental, and speech with movement. Each choreographer, with the help of lighting designer and production staffer Heather Pynne, will present works that probe the audience’s creative mind, challenging them to reflect on their preconceived notions of what our generation considers to be a relationship, either with oneself or with one another.


Giesche, a double major in dance and environmental studies-geology, examines perception and asks how people believe they are viewed. The quartet, “How You See Me/How I See It”, featuring dancers Jeremy Cline ’11.5, Otto Pierce ’10, Hannah Pierce ’10, and Naomi Schaefer ’11, showcases how perceptions get mixed, tossed, and flipped upside down when people come into contact with expectations. “When It’s Over I Laugh”, choreographed and performed by Giesche and Cline, puts a complex relationship under a microscope and explores two alternate universes: a timeless, revolving atmosphere where collisions reverberate and gravity is elusive; juxtaposed against a small room that traps a fierce display of magnetic attraction and repulsion between two earthy, impassioned characters.

Miller, a double major in dance and psychology, explores the boundary between reflective and artistic movement. Using exercises from dance/movement therapy and the discipline of Authentic Movement to deeply source emotional movement content, Miller has created a quartet and two solos. Her quartet, featuring dancers Alicia Evancho ’12, James Moore ’12, Alexandra Siega ’12, and Davis Andersen ’10, explores the range of relationships possible between people, contrasting tenderness with ferocious self-preservation. The two solos, both performed by Miller, are a dynamic journey through the inner landscape of one woman’s experiences and internal complexities.

What if a choreographer was present for the procession of love-inspired speeches delivered in Plato’s Symposium? In Eros: A Terpsichorean Symposium, Christian Morel, a joint dance and philosophy major, delivers his own encomium, or formal expression of praise, to Eros, the god of love. His work explores the link between contention and reconciliation—through the academic lens of Greek thought—as they pertain to the creation, maintenance, and destruction of the contemporary relationship. Performing with Alexandra Vasquez ’12, James Moore ’12, and Julianna Mauriello ’13, Morel emphasizes the components of desire and satiety, as they coexist in the aforementioned spectrum of contention and reconciliation, in the universality and gender neutrality of love and companionship. Each dancer portrays a slightly altered version of this reality, and the audience is allowed to enter the piece again and again, as the driving music unravels four woven perspectives one by one.

Pynne, a joint dance and theater major with a focus in lighting design, sets the scene for each piece. Her lighting design gives the concert another unifying factor, while still giving each piece its own distinct world, as she explores the intersection of color, shape, and time on a moving landscape with the power to reveal or conceal space. Pynne also worked with Miller in close collaboration on Miller’s solo “Resurrection,” designing the lighting as Miller choreographed the piece.

Giesche, Miller, Morel, and Pynne unite their choreographic work by presenting a quartet that, at its most basic level, examines relationship between four people—Pynne decides how their atmosphere must differ. The result promises to be a dynamic, introspective, embodied journey.

Tickets for  the senior dance concert are $10 for general admission, $8 for faculty, staff, alumni, and children under 12, and $6 for students. For tickets, call the Middlebury College Box Office at 802-443-6433 or order online at

Photos Alan Kimara Dixon

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax