It’s that time in the semester when our seniors are hard at work on their various projects and research. Our senior dance majors have one of the first opportunities to showcase their work to the community.
Reesa Artz ’22 and Meenakshi Verma ’22 will present their senior dance concert pieces live Thursday, Feb. 10 and Friday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Upper Dance Studio Theatre in the Babcock Performing Arts Center. Limited chair seating is available. Bring your own pillow or cushion to more comfortably sit on the floor. Masks are required to be worn by all audience members. Meanwhile, Kaylin Patterson ’22 will present her senior dance concert pieces virtually on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. The public is welcome to watch and no registration is needed, you can join the performance here.
We asked the three dancers about their pieces and dancing experiences at Sweet Briar and you can read the Q&A below.
Q: Tell us about your dance pieces.
Reesa: My theme for my pieces is the different parts of myself. In each piece, I wanted to include various emotions and aspects of myself, shown through the language of dance. Additionally, as a ballet dancer my whole life, so much of my original dance style was based on classical training. However, after a few years of modern classes, I have reinvented my dance style from both backgrounds. Therefore, not only does my half of the concert represent the internal parts of myself, but also my history of dance. Some various moods that I am hoping to emulate throughout my performance are contemplation, community, whimsy and joy.
Meenakshi: The theme for my pieces is based on my life. All of my pieces share different parts of my time here at Sweet Briar, through a story or a strong emotion. The sub-theme is diversity. As you will see in my pieces, I have worked with a lot of different styles including Indian classical, hip hop, modern, tutting and vogue. I like experimenting and have tried to push my limits further with this concert, especially with the ways I portray my theme. Each piece gives you an emotion, a different type of dance form and portrays a story.
Kaylin: My theme for my pieces is Return to Nature. I love being in nature and I want my pieces to center around nature. I have included the elements water and earth, light and darkness. This is pretty much a challenge for me to return to natural movement, rather than something that I have learned over the years.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories with the Sweet Briar Dance Department?
Reesa: Some of my favorite memories within the Sweet Briar Dance Department have been getting to know and dance with fellow students. Dance isn’t just taking classes, but the whole community feel of the department. I am so thankful to have gotten to know so many incredible individuals over the years. I would not be the dancer I am today without the constant support, kindness and encouragement from both my fellow dancers, Mark and Ella Magruder and Betty Skeen. SBC dance has been an incredible environment to not only feel motivated but also to grow into the best version of myself. Every day I know I am learning and improving.
Meenakshi: Every single day spent in the dance studio is a memory. With the wonderful professors like Mark Magruder, Ella Magruder and Betty Skeen, and amazing talented fellow mates, I have learned and grown a lot over the past four years. With my dancing grounded to my roots back in India––and having no idea, whatsoever––about modern, contemporary, jazz or ballet, I have still always felt welcomed in the dance community here and people have appreciated my style and movement. I am incredibly grateful to every single person in the department that has helped me make great memories that will stay with me forever.
Kaylin: My favorite memories of dancing in Sweet Briar are the master classes. I never had the opportunity to work with professional dancers before coming here. Orange Grove and BodyVox made a strong impact on me, especially BodyVox because they revitalized my love for the performing arts.
Q: What are your plans for after graduation?
Reesa: I am currently applying for various graduate programs in psychology, counseling, nursing and naturopathic medicine. My ultimate goal is to work within Indian Health Services and open up a sliding-scale healthcare practice. On-campus, I have been involved with orientation, admissions, Campus Events Organization, Student Events Committee and various other clubs and organizations.
Meenakshi: I am planning on taking the MCAT this year and will be applying to medical schools. I ultimately want to be a doctor, especially a neurosurgeon. I am also looking for jobs and opportunities in the performing arts, which is a plus because of my double major. I work for IT as an assistant and I am involved in the AAC, ARC and multiple other clubs and organizations.
Kaylin: My plan after graduation is attending the University of Maryland. I love researching about different cultures through music and dance, so I want to center my career around educating the public about music and dance around the world, as well as focusing on the history of music and dance of the African Diaspora.
Q: What do you hope the audience gets from your performance?
Reesa: I hope this concert shows the audience that dance is multifaceted. What you might have watched growing up is only a tiny sliver of the magic the performing arts world has to offer. Anything can be dance, and everyone can be a dancer. I hope the audience leaves the concert inspired and motivated to see art in their everyday lives.
Meenakshi: I hope that people appreciate the various dance forms I have presented and maybe get motivated to try some out themselves! As I tell all my friends, ABCD (Any Body Can Dance).
Kaylin: My hope is that the audience will gain a deeper appreciation of nature and allow it to spark imagination and creativity.
For more information, email Betty Skeen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured are two Dance Concert posters with photos of Reesa (l) and Meenakshi (r)