Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program

Dance

Project Advisor 1

Jean Churchill

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Emma Clarke Artist Statement

My senior project in Dance has required that I examine my field in its many dimensions. I am majoring in Dance with a concentration in Performance. I am required to complete a research paper as well as perform two solo dance works from established choreographers. I performed one work in the December Senior Dance Concert and will perform my second solo in May, as part of the May Senior Concert.

My paper entitled “Abstract American Ballet: George Balanchine and Other Artists Following the Great Depression” investigates connections I view between ballet choreographer George Balanchine and American Abstract Expressionist visual artists, during a transitional period in American history. I see the work of these artists as possessing a quality of abstraction that relates to the human identity.

For my performance in the December Senior Dance Concert, Amalgam, I performed a women’s solo excerpted from Merce Cunningham’s 1967 work, Scramble. I received the permission to perform the work for that concert courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust. I learned the work from and was coached by former Merce Cunningham Dance Company dancers and teaching artists Melissa Toogood and Daniel Squire. In the May concert, TransFigures, I will perform a solo choreographed by Jean Churchill, Snow. This piece was choreographed in 1990. I have been learning the work from and rehearsing it with Jean Churchill.

Learning both Scramble and Snow have been rewarding experiences. I have been challenged to develop technically as well as a performer. The works being previously established and performed have required me to concentrate on and execute the details and total choreography as intended. I do not have the option to alter work based on my personal strengths and weakness; I have had to develop the ability and tools to conquer challenges presented. I have enjoyed this aspect and it has provided me with valuable skills for learning work and building upon my capabilities.

Writing a research paper has led me to examine my field in a scholarly way. I was interested in the academic side of dance previously, and now I further understand how dance has endless possibility for academic exploration, in addition to the infinite technical and choreographic opportunities for articulation. While my paper topic became more concentrated in its scope, I drew inspiration from many sources.

The Senior Project in Dance has demanded and challenged me to develop as an artist and thinker. I have been able to grow in my technical, performing, creative, and analytical abilities. I aim to continue to grow as a performer and explore the multi-dimensional nature of my chosen field.

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