Taking on the big stage in the Big Apple

W&L Repertory Dance Company performs in Brooklyn with W&L alumni and guest professional dancers


Dance Company members Laura Stagno, ‘18, Elliot Emadian, ‘17, Inga Wells, ‘16 and Emily Danzig, ‘16 rehearse on the Brooklyn’s Center for Performance Research stage. Photo by Faith Isbell, ‘19.

Faith Isbell

Members of Washington and Lee University’s Repertory Dance Company travelled to New York City last weekend to perform at Brooklyn’s Center for Performance Research.

The show was held on the evening of Jan. 30. The event space, the Center for Performance Research, is a contemporary performance laboratory located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg.

Preparations for the show started about nine months earlier with Artistic Director Jenefer Davies at the forefront.

Not only did Davies choreograph for the show, she handled all of the administrative decisions, including researching and creating a performance agreement with CPR, coordinating with W&L for travel permissions, setting up housing for the students and overseeing both the Dance Company rehearsal process and the alums’ choreographic progress.

“It was a massive amount of work, but one that is immensely satisfying,” Davies said. “I got to witness the academic growth of the students, as they not only witnessed but participated in dance scholarship in the capital of dance creation and performance in this country—New York City.”

The show featured dances from the W&L Repertory Dance Company, Progeny Dance, W&L alumni and other guest professional dancers. It lasted an hour and a half, and about 50 people attended the show.

Choreographers included Jennifer Ritter, ‘13, Erin Sullivan, ‘13, Sophie Xiong, ‘10, Emily Danzig, ‘16, Sara Dotterer, ‘18, Elliot Emadian, ’17 and Inga Wells, ‘16.

Representing the W&L alumni were Tory Dickerson, ‘12, David Doobin, ‘11, Shamira Ibrahim, ‘11, Jennifer Ritter, ‘13, Erin Sullivan, ‘13 and Sophie Xiong, ‘10.

Following the showcase was a reception at The Richardson, a nearby East Williamsburg bar. The reception was hosted by W&L’s New York City Alumni Chapter. The New York City chapter is one of the biggest and most active, with over 800 W&L alumni from Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx.

To kick off the weekend in New York, the Dance Company attended a performance by Parsons Dance at The Joyce Theatre on Friday evening. The contemporary dance company is based in New York City and tours nationally and internationally.

The performance was a chance for the members of the Dance Company, such as Julia Udicious, ‘19, to experience the professional world of dance.

“The dancers were incredibly talented,” Udicious said. “I was inspired by their technique and artistry.”

A new member to the Dance Company, Udicious appreciated the opportunity to travel to New York and perform.

“Especially since we go to school in such a small town,” Udicious added.

Unlike Udicious, Gretchen Sengelmann, ‘16, had performed in New York with the Dance Company before. While Saturday evening’s show was her last, Sengelmann remarked on just how different performing in New York was compared to performing back on campus.

“It feels almost more legitimate,” Sengelmann said. “It’s much more of an intimate setting. It’s almost exhilarating.”