Student dancers connect with program alumni in New York

Undergraduate dancers forge new relationships, gain perspective that their passion does not have to end when they move on from Lexington

Elizabeth Underwood

Members of the Washington and Lee University Repertory Dance Company had the opportunity to perform in New York City alongside W&L alumni at the end of January.

“I love taking my students to New York because just being in New York is such a complete and total departure from being in Lexington,” Jenefer Davies, the director of W&L’s dance program, said. “Being in New York is so inspiring because there is so much art around you, it’s so normal.”

Twenty students from the dance company performed modern dance pieces at the Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn with alumni members from across the country.

“It was really cool to meet the alumni because it was nice to see that dance is still a part of their lives,” company member Kana White, ’20, said.

Davies said that she thinks performing with alumni is an important way for current members of the dance company to network as they begin to think about their futures.

“They gave a lot of advice about careers and living in New York and the juniors and seniors were able to network with the alums,” she said.

The modern dance concert featured pieces by alumni and current W&L students, including students Sara Dotterer, ’18, Cate Peabody, ’19, Julia Udicious, ’19, Davis Straske, ’19, and Kitty Lambrechts, ‘19.

Julia Udicious explained how a member of the student-choreographed quintet dance piece was studying abroad this term, so alum Elliot Emadian stepped in and learned the dance by only watching a video.

“When the dance company arrived in New York, he was completely prepared to perform with the group,” she said.

Davies said that the trip gave students many new opportunities, including the chance to perform in a different theater with a different tech crew.

“Performing in a different space has its own host of challenges and then you solve them and grow from that experience,” she said.

Outside of practicing and performing, the dance company also had the opportunity to see a professional dance company perform at the Joyce Theater, as well as explore Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

“I took away from the trip that dance won’t end when I graduate,” Udicious said. “Seeing that all of these alumni came back and are still dancing made me realize that dance is something that I will have for the rest of my life.”

The dance company’s next performance will be at their Winter Concert March 15-17 at 7:30 pm in the Keller Theatre.