Senior Thesis and MFA Thesis Dance Concert

Friday, April 23 & Saturday, April 24, 2021 | 7:00 PM PDT
Presented by Mills College Dance and Theater Studies Department.

An evening of online thesis dance, split into two programs.

These concerts are dedicated to the memory of our extraordinary and deeply missed friend Katherine McGinity.

Click image to view video:

7PM — 2021 Senior Undergrad Thesis Concert

Liquid Sunshine
Choreographed and performed by: Sophie Conroy
Original Music by: Miles Lassi and Christian Li

Sophie Conroy is a graduating senior at Mills College with majors in both dance and biology. She has danced most of her life being trained in a variety of techniques and styles. Despite her years of training this is her first choreographed piece to grace a stage, regardless of the means.
Liquid Sunshine is about the dualities in life. It is a reflection on noticing the positive and negatives but choosing to not let the negative dictate the entirety of life. This commentary is made through the use of light and color; following the ups and downs that can be faced at one location, but emphasizing each new location is a reset. Despite this being my reasoning for creating this piece, there is no intention to imprint this meaning on every audience member. It should be taken with an open mind and meaning should be pulled based off of what each individual retains. 
Thesis advisor: Sheldon Smith

7:30PM — 2021 MFA Thesis Dance Concert

Improvisational scores by Joey Hernandez and dancers

Cast: Arielle Cole, Joey Hernandez, Trevor Polcyn, Wade Reynolds, Caitlin Vanderveen 
Freestylers: Justin Algee, Brandon Dorsey, Cedric Gardener, James Gavins, Caleb Goebel, Johnny Harkey, Alex Laya, Tou Ger Digit Lee, Vanessa Rae De Leon, Valeska Pasta, Jasper Sanchez, Sam Swazey, Jason Turner
Editing: Marisa Dolan & Carlos Garland - DanceLook LLC

Thank you to everyone who has helped contribute to my journey the past two years at Mills College. This piece would not have been possible without the hard and dedication of all the performers as we navigated creating a Screen Dance during a pandemic.

Choreography: Arielle Cole in collaboration with the dancers

Performers: Arielle Cole, Joseph Hernandez, Sara Lavalley, Rebecca Morris, Elijah Munoz, Trevor Polcyn, Alexandra Tiscareno, Stephanie Tobon
Music: Samuel Regan
Costumes: Arielle Cole, Marlene Cole
Filming: Trevor Polcyn, Sara Lavalley
Editing: Arielle Cole

“They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time - but their greatest misfortune was to be born women.” - Hallie Rubenhold

This piece is dedicated to Katherine McGinity.

virtual x e.femme.URL
Choreographed, performed, filmed and edited by Joe Nuno

Music: Pointer Sisters Jump and Nina Simone Suzanne

Afrocity: The Beauty in Horror
Choreography: Jazmine R. Freeman

Performers: Brittany Mathis, Gabrielle Slaughter, Jazmine R. Freeman, Kaela Lawrence, Kaylah Smith, Kristy Echols, Lauryn Lawrence, Olivia Musoke 
Filming: Jazmine R. Freeman, Justin Allison
Editing: Jazmine R. Freeman, Jasmine Rene McCaskill 
Music: Antebellum - Opening by Nate Wonder & Roman GianArthur, In a Sentimental Mood - by Duke Ellington & John Coltrane Drummer Greg Hutchinson Drum Solo (by Greg Hutchinson), Softest Register - by Sam Reagan, Hey Black Ballerina - by Lynae Bogues
Costume color scheme: Jazmine R. Freeman
Lighting Design: Jazmine R. Freeman (lighting assistance from Lauren Dixon)
"Breonna is not a meme, or a headline, or a hashtag...she was someone's daughter, grand-baby, friend, and future fiancee. Her humanity is our humanity. Her justice is our justice. And the collective trauma fatigue is only heightening by the day. To equate her murder with a petty crime exacerbates why #BlackLivesMatter is our rallying cry and why it will continue until the pain stops." - Elaine Welteroth, author and former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue 

I would like to thank God for bringing me this far, and Professor Kate who saw the twinkle in my eye--- for what we do. 

— Brief Intermission —

Choreography: Stephanie Tobon 

Performers: Alexandra Tiscareno Alexandria Walters Arielle Cole Callie A. Hernandez Ella Mae Mougeot Julianne Bromstead Kayla Romano Stacey Fong Tawni Pizzagoni 
Filming: Adrian Diaz and Stephanie Tobon 
Editing: Stephanie Tobon
Music: Stephanie F. Valadez

Choreographed and performed by: Peiyu Yao

Filming: Kezhong Ding, Min Zhang, and Lei Wang
Editing: Ding Xue
Music: The Chinese Temple- Yin Que Shi Ting, Chinese Tea House-Yin Que Shi Ting, Impression of Yunnan-Yin Que Shi Ting, Missing Through Time and Space-Bin Yang
Costumes: Zi Yun Mo Yun Fashion Design Studio, Red Dance Shoes Dance Costume Rental Yunnan Nationality Village Tourist Attraction Company

The Trevor Polcyn Project
Choreography: Trevor Polcyn & The Cast

Performers: Angel Acuña, Lucas Aguilar, Brooke Bokmuller, Sophie Conroy, Billie Lockett, Alexis Lockett, Darlynn Lockett, Sequoia Pedersen, Laura Polcyn,Taryn Polcyn, Trent Polcyn, Trevor Polcyn, Tyler Polcyn, Anthony Roccoforte, Margaret Saint-Germain, Alex Shier, Mikaili Thomas, Alex Tiscareno, and Jenna Wilson
Filming: individually shot by members of the cast
Editing: Trevor Polcyn
Music:  Bolero - Ravel

Thank you to The Cast - it wouldn't have been the same without your creativity and participation.

Please view additional materials for this piece at:
TIKTOK: @thetrevorpolcynproject


Arielle Cole: For the thesis concert I am presenting a teaser for an evening-length, immersive theater experience titled, “Ripped,” which will be produced post-COVID-19. Though based on the lives of Jack the Ripper’s victims, this piece brings attention to the struggle of womxn to thrive in patriarchal culture.
I am Arielle Cole, born and raised in the Bay Area. Since graduating with my BFA in Dance from the University at Buffalo in 2011, I have been developing work for my company, ArcTangent Dance. Drawing from jazz, ballet, and musical theater influences, my work is also inspired by Pina Bausch’s philosophy of repetition and abstraction as well as the chance dance practices of Merce Cunningham. While earning my MFA in Dance at Mills College, I focused my interest in experimental performance forms, particularly screendance and immersive performance. My work explores the emotions that drive us to our actions and choices in life. As author and poet C. Joybell C. said, “Empathy is the ability to step outside your own bubble and into the bubbles of other people.” When experiencing my work, audience members are encouraged to step into other bubbles, and as a result, to examine their own lives and those around them.

Jazmine Freeman: My thesis film utilizes dance and poetry to artfully expose the marginalized hardships Black women carry. Movement is derived from emotions and physicalized through dance and improvisational movement. Dance will derive from within the body, and emotions will be physicalized through movement. One might want to see this, because “_______________” brings the beauty out of horror. 
My name is Jazmine Rachel Freeman, named after the music genre and my maternal great-grandmother. I have been a mover, dance translator, and choreographer for over the last two decades. I make dances because movement can articulate what words cannot express. There is a language within the body, and this is what compels me to this artform. I have stayed committed to dance in my post-secondary education because I have learned that dance is more than an extra-curricular hobby and sport. Dance is the intersection between mind and body. “The body is the siren that rings loudly when trauma is experienced. It is the bodily signals that tell a person that trouble is near.” My work generally falls between the forms of jazz, contemporary, and modern. Many of the pieces I have created before have deep significance. The essence of dance is storytelling, and my artistry can soon be compared to the works of Alvin AileyCamille A. Brown, Danielle Swatzie, or even LaTanya Tigner. 

Joseph Hernandez: I will be presenting a screen dance piece that investigates and examines the influence of authentic freestyle Hip Hop movement upon current Contemporary Modern dance. For lovers of dance movement, this piece strives to be informative, expose hybridity, and display the innovative possibilities created when fusion practitioners of Hip Hop and Contemporary explore their physical artistry.
I, Joey Hernandez, am a dancer, choreographer, and educator originally from Wisconsin, now residing in California's Bay Area. As an artist, my driving force to create is from an educational perspective. To be utilized for teaching purposes to inform and progress students' physical capabilities while challenging their critical thinking skills. Another angle I create work from is an explorative perspective to investigate a thought, idea, or feeling for the simple need to express. At the core, I am attracted to dance because of my inherent need to move, express, and interact with music. The through-line with my work is variance within each project, creating choreography with a distinguishable voice. My work's main themes are musicality and the fusion of multiple movement genres pushing the interplay between classical techniques, gesture, and the Hip Hop diaspora. An individual should take the time to see my work because each project is a separate entity with a unique process generated by current influences within my life. Overall, I believe as an artist, the present work I am creating can only be manifested at this current moment in time. 
Stephanie Tobon: is from the Bay Area. Growing up, Steph trained in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, and Contemporary. She moved on to perform and choreograph at Diablo Valley College, where she obtained her AA in dance. She has danced and performed in dance festivals around the Bay Area. Stephanie received her BA in dance and psychology in May of 2020 from Mills College. She is currently a dance educator and continuing to choreograph whenever she can! Recently she has taken an interest in screen dance and hopes to continue to explore further during her time as an MFA candidate in dance at Mills College.

The initial need to create and move comes from my desire to express my views on the world in hopes that will evoke a response in another person. My background in dance includes many years in the competition world, and this taught me a particular view on how to create choreography. As I continue to explore and learn about my creative process, I have realized that there are many ways to share experiencing and creating movement. I want to embrace the use of reliable technique and performance but also embrace the abstract. I’ve enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone and experimenting with new processes.

I believe what makes art important is that it gives people a platform to share their experiences. With this upcoming show, I would like to share the platform and provide a voice to other’s experiences. I want to make a collaborative piece with my dancers that highlight their individual stories. I want to embrace their strengths in hopes that we will create a montage of relatable sensations and feelings. I am putting aside the idea of a “big show” and creating an intimate setting where the audience and performers can feel a sense of community.  

Trevor Polcyn: Trevor Polcyn (unofficially Lockett-Polcyn because changing all those IDs sound like a pain in the ass) is a visual & performer Artist from San Diego, CA who dearly misses wearing his Rainbow sandals, skateboarding down the Mission Beach boardwalk, and getting sunburnt in the sand. He dances because it felt right to pursue something that brought him passion and joy, even if he was "late" to the dancing world. His work is still developing, taking many shapes, styles, and forms - but he's leaning more and more towards the screendance realm because it interfaces well with his graphic design and computer literate background. Watch his stuff if you're interested in high quality randomness, clever cuts, and internet meme cameos and references.

Peiyu Yao: My piece is choreographed around the five elements of China: "gold", "wood", "water", "fire" and "earth", and interspersed with modern dance and different ethnic elements.

I’m Peiyu Yao, a second-year graduate student at Mills, and I come from Yunnan, the province with the most ethnic minorities in China.

Dance is a way to express my heart and exercise willpower, so I chose to dance.

My usual works are mainly based on the style of Chinese classical dance, which is softer and euphemistic.

I came to grow up in an environment with diverse ethnic cultures and my hometown is the province with the most colorful ethnic culture in China, so in my work this time I will choose to show some ethnic culture and combine it with a certain modern dance culture.

Thesis advisors: Abby Crain and Sheldon Smith

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