Student Dance Project presents original student choreography Dec. 2-3

Hye-Won Hwang (far right) with the 22 choreographers presenting work at the Student Dance Project on Dec. 2-3. Photo by Daniel Ikpeama.
Hye-Won Hwang (far right) with the 22 choreographers presenting work at the Student Dance Project on Dec. 2-3. Photo by Daniel Ikpeama.

Student Dance Project presents original student choreography Dec. 2-3

calendar icon18 Nov 2022    user iconBy Kathe C. Andersen

Lincoln, Neb.--The 19th annual Student Dance Project, directed by Associate Professor of Practice in Dance Hye-Won Hwang, will be Dec. 2-3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Temple Building’s Howell Theatre.

The annual Student Dance Project is a program of original work by student choreographers in the Glenn Korff School of Music’s dance program. 

“This is an important concert for our student choreographers because it offers them the opportunity to develop their own artistic style, foster responsibility in their rehearsal space, ponder on the role of the artist in society, and collaborate with students from different disciplines,” Hwang said. “It is also a valuable event for dance students to increase their visibility in public."

Tickets for the performance are $7 general admission and $5 for students/seniors and are available online or over the phone in advance only at or (800) 595-4849. Please note that tickets will not be available at the door. The Friday, Dec. 2 performance will also be live webcast. Visit the day of the performance for the link.

This year’s program features work by 22 choreographers from Hwang’s dance composition course and will be performed by 45 dance majors and minors, from freshmen to seniors. The dances are all unique and express a wide variety and intensity of motions and emotions. 

In addition, graduate and undergraduate student lighting designers studying with Assistant Professor of Theatre Michelle Harvey, as well as undergraduate stage managers studying with Production Stage Manager Brad Buffum, in the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film will be lighting and stage-managing the concert.

Lanie Allen, a senior dance major, will present her piece, “Grasping Nostalgia and Dreadful Progress.” The cast includes eight dancers: Kobe Brown, Taylor Butterfield, Grace Gilroy, Bekah Kehr, Joseph Tighi, Anna Tupa Clark, Claire Walls and Addi Weeder. 

“This piece is an exploration of burden and fear of recovery,” Allen said. “I wanted to find a way to represent the burden of mental illness physically.”

She said there were many aspects that went into creating the piece.

“I started with my concept and discussed it with my dancers during the first week of rehearsals,” Allen said. “Then we explored movement inspired by the concept in some improvisational phrases. Drawing from those, I created a base choreographic phrase for the piece. This choreography is inspired by the idea of battling with an unseen/seen enemy. Once I have that base choreography, I like to deconstruct it and manipulate it throughout the piece. Throughout the year, we also have several informal showings in our Dance Composition class where we receive feedback from professors and peers.” 

Taylor Butterfield, a senior dance major, has choreographed “to be willing to be dazzled—and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world,” which contains two excerpts from Mary Oliver’s poem “The Ponds.”

“The piece is about navigating the drastic juxtapositions of life, and in my case, that stage of life being referenced in the piece is young adulthood—trying to find moments of freedom and happiness amongst all of these very serious, life-altering decisions young adults have to make at this point in their lives, and trying to find moments of joy in the days many of us used to look forward to,” Butterfield said. “It’s about chaos, silence, self-expression, and the inherent loneliness and interconnectedness of being a young adult. Just embracing the depth and feelings of it all.”

Butterfield said the Student Dance Project is fundamental in developing her skills as a choreographer and performer.

“Many of our rehearsals for the performance require a high skill of collaboration and communication, which preps everyone for whatever our post-grad plans may be,” she said. “So not only is it fun and gratifying, but it also immerses us in an experience similar to putting on a professional show with a real company.”

The Student Dance Project is an important milestone for these choreographers.

“Student Dance Project is important to me because it gives us tangible experience in choreographing and directing a dance work,” Allen said. “It gives a space for our individual artistic voices to be heard. It also creates a reliable performance opportunity for the incredible dancers in and outside the program."

Auditions are held for this concert, and each choreographer selects their casts. While largely modern-based, students also draw from their backgrounds in contemporary, jazz, street dance styles and ballet to create their pieces.

“There are so many different experiences and stories being expressed in this show. Some are light-hearted and funny; others explore real issues. There’s something for everyone to enjoy,” Allen said.

Butterfield hopes people will attend the concert.

“There is so much goodness and artistry in every single piece,” she said. “And all of it deserves to be witnessed.”

The Temple Building is located at 12th and R streets on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln city campus.