Choreographer’s Gallery: The Legacy of Dance at Gustavus Posted on November 9th, 2023 by

The Gustavus Theatre & Dance Department is proud to present this year’s Choreography Gallery. This will take place in the Rob and Judy Gardner Laboratory Theatre on Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18 2023 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, November 19 at 2 p.m.

The program is being directed by Associate Professor Melissa Rolnick, with Ainsley Cox ‘24 being the stage manager for this production. This year’s gallery features work by student choreographers Emma Forsyth ‘25, Elise Gahart ‘25, Mary Juelich ‘24, Dana Marquis ‘25, Karmen Peter ‘23, Kelsi Rygg ‘25, and Ella Schwakopf ‘25.

Melissa Rolnick and dancer Kieran Connolly ‘26 both spoke about their time working on the production and on what they have learned from their different perspectives.

Melissa, when speaking about the role that she plays for the students, says that she “gives feedback to students” and compares it to her work as a composition teacher, adding that she “gives students a lot of space to explore and discover, with there always being room for conversation.” She creates a collaborative environment where her students can express themselves through their choreography and introduce new perspectives.

Kieran Connolly ‘26 spoke from the perspective of being a dancer in Choreographer’s Gallery, with her working on the piece done by Dana Marquis ‘25.

“It has been incredibly fun. I really enjoy dancing with Dana and I really enjoy watching her grow as a choreographer and teacher and it is lovely to be a part of that process.”

As Kieran puts it, “my role here is to serve my choreographer in this mission and she is joining this legacy of dancers.”

The Choreographer’s Gallery is a beloved tradition within the dance community at Gustavus, and speaks to the importance of dance as a whole.

“Dance is integral to who we are as human beings” said Melissa Rolnick. “It brings us back to our body, which connects us to our humanity.”


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