Music by Dolly Parton
12 minutes
This sextet, originally performed by University of Rochester students, takes viewers on a journey from angst to sadness to hope, mirroring the emotional progression of the Covid-19 pandemic. Alone, the dancers cannot make it across the stage, but once they come together, the poetry begins. Set to Dolly Parton's inimitable sage words, uplifting melodies and energizing rhythms, "Chiaroscuro" offers light amid the darkness.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:
Original music composed and performed by Yoshiko Arahata
22 minutes
"Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:" was performed live on Zoom in November 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Using a Webinar format, the dancers performed simultaneously from their homes in Oakland, San Francisco and Boston, while the music was played from Rochester, and audience members tuned in from all over the world. The piece as a whole seeks to re-imagine the aesthetic possibilities of Zoom as a stage: each section develops a different approach to creating a visual experience that depends on the unique qualities of Zoom and thus can only be performed online.
My Life in Sweaters
Original music composed and performed by Yoshiko Arahata
30 minutes
"My Life in Sweaters" is a memoir told through movement, text and numerous outfits. Moments of humor, pathos and serendipity converge to create an intimate portrait of the defining relationships within one life and the way clothing mediates our memories and experiences of change.
Original music composed by Yoshiko Arahata,
Text Editing by Mariah Steele
13 minutes
This sextet investigates the scientific and ethical dimensions of the use of CRISPR technology to create the first genetically modified human babies in November 2018. Originally set on University of Rochester dancers, each section explores a different angle of this complex issue, such as modeling the science of DNA and Cas9 proteins, suggesting what a world of “super humans” might be like, and then imagining the potential consequences of such a world, including increased inequality and discrimination.
From the Faraway Nearby
Live soundscape performed by the dancers
Versions range from 10–20 minutes
The iconic painter Georgia O'Keefe was known for her ability to distill what she saw into expressive, yet simplified, forms. This structured improvisation uses a dozen O'Keefe paintings as scores to explore similar ideas of creating rich landscapes out of simplified movement directions.
Children of Hobbes
Music by Arvo Pärt, Guy Klucevsek, Kourosh Dini and Orange Mighty Trio
55 minutes
An intimate dystopia responding to the 2016 election, this quartet begins with a portrait of society as it is, and ends with a vision for what it could be. As the dancers expose the darker side of human nature through visceral movement narratives of power, control and survival, the audience and performers alike stare these shadows in the face and then choose a more humane path forward.
Music by Edvard Grieg
21 minutes
Set to Edvard Grieg’s “Holberg Suite,” this sumptuous quartet in five sections delves into the many types of relationships that help us find our wings in new and challenging situations. Full-bodied movements take on the precise, light qualities of birds as the self transforms through relationships with others.
The Memory Closet
Soundscapes by Hans Rinderknecht; texts recorded by Mariah Steele
20 minutes
This installation with live performance explores how, throughout its history, Western fashion has shaped both women’s bodies and the environment in devastating ways. Audience members are invited to walk through a museum-exhibit-like space filled with mixed-media displays, amidst which the dancers perform.
Music by the Rolf Lislevand Ensemble; poems by Pablo Neruda
12 minutes
Poetry, music, props and dance come together in this piece for nine dancers to mourn the drought in California, to highlight humans’ role in the catastrophe and to cultivate a reverence for water. First created on students at Santa Clara University, the dance developed out of discussions about the cast’s relationships to water and their emotions surrounding the drought.
Music composed, performed and recorded by Ryan Edwards
15 minutes
“Habitus” explores the idea of interdependence on both a physical and metaphorical level in relationship to our environments, both natural and man-made. Accompanied by a music and text soundscape, the five dancers come together and fall apart in a constantly moving network of inter-relationships.
Star: Struck
Music by La Nef
12 minutes
“Star: Struck” is based around an interactive sculpture with five elastic bands designed by visual artist Anne Loyer. As the six dancers manipulate the bands and become caught in the sculpture’s webs, they explore the psychic and spiritual struggles of maintaining one’s way of life in the face of forces beyond one’s control.
14 Variations
Music by Bela Bartok
4 minutes
This duet is a comic deconstruction of ballroom dances, set to varying renditions of Bela Bartok’s “Sash Dance” in his suite of Romanian Folk Dances.
The Constant Effort of Beginning
Music composed, performed and recorded by Ryan Edwards
8 minutes
In this abstract dance for seven dancers, individuals segue in and out of dancing together among constantly shifting groupings. The fabric of the imaginary world disintegrates and then reforms, repeatedly, growing more robust with each rebirth. As a result, the dance becomes a celebration of the cycle of life.
On the Threshold of Memory
Music composed, performed and recorded by Ryan Edwards
10.5 minutes
Asking questions of how we access and experience memories, this dance for seven follows a woman struggling to face and come to terms with remembered pasts. As she pieces together memory fragments altered by inner turmoil and re-scribings of self-history, the dance investigates the hazy space between knowing/not-knowing, sensing/perceiving, visualizing/remembering the internal world of our memories.
If Picasso Were God
Film/Live Dance Collaboration with Video Designer Sarah Outhwaite
Music composed and performed by Hans Rinderknecht
6.5 minutes
Blurring boundaries between visual art and live-dance-and-film performance, “If Picasso Were God” plays with gravity and visual perception to evoke a state of curiosity in the viewer. The film follows two dancers in three lush but industrial habitats (pool of water surrounded by concrete; blue sky & red iron sculpture; a wheat field next to glazed windows). Through seamless juxtapositions, shifts, spins and invisible technological feats, reality distorts in a whimsical way to play with viewers’ senses. Meanwhile, a live dancer interacts via shadow with the world onscreen to manipulate, break and scatter images, exploring questions of who, where, when and why we are seen in society.
In The Dark
Music by Jamie Jaffe, Karen Burciaga, Josh Schreiber Shalem & Christina Patton
4 minutes
This solo unveils the tensions between our deepest fears and our deepest hopes when we are alone with ourselves, depicting the struggle to find internal freedom.
Festivals and Visions
Music by Manuel de Falla
43 minutes
From 1911-1919, the Spanish impressionist painter Joaquin Sorolla produced 14 grand murals for the Hispanic Society of America called "Vision of Spain." Each mural depicts the distinctive styles, festivals, economies and essences of a different region of the artist's homeland. Using the paintings as a score combined with extensive research, this dance delves into the spirit that infused the lives, rituals and festivities of Sorolla's Spain to weave a timeless vision of struggle and hope.
Epoch Tales
Music by Geinoh Yamashirogumi
20 minutes
In "Epoch Tales," eight dancers combine dance and science to explore the process of evolution. Echoing the movement of early lifeforms, the piece illuminates how the world may have moved in different evolutionary epochs.
Art | Facts
Text by Mariah Steele
11 minutes
This humorous, multimedia trio combining dance, spoken word, powerpoint and shadow-plays, imagines how an Archaeology classroom in 2413 will look back at the early 21st century, using advertisements as "artifacts."
Caesar and Cleopatra
Music by Aaron Jackson
7 minutes
Cleopatra reigns in the minds of many as the great seductress and femme fatale of the most powerful men of her time: Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. However, a biography by Stacey Schiff paints a different Cleopatra: a strong and dedicated ruler, a smart and capable woman trying to protect the sovereignty of her country and her family amidst a clash of cultures between Rome - with military might on the rise and women as second class citizens - and Cleopatra’s home of Alexandria, the intellectual and cultural center of the world. This dance begins with Cleopatra’s audacious entrance into the scene of world power: smuggling herself in a burlap sack into the palace to meet Caesar, who had been helping her brother wage civil war against her. The dance imagines how the storied relationship may have developed into partnership and romance, while always remaining equals.
Muses Anonymous
Music by Simon and Garfunkel
22 minutes
Through all the love, heartbreak and good times represented in the songs of Simon and Garfunkel, have you ever wondered about the women’s side of the story? "Muses Anonymous" re-imagines five of the women depicted in Simon and Garfunkel lyrics, imbuing them with new life and plenty of mischief. The witty, ironic, and poignant stories of Cecilia, Anji, Emily and others develop in surprising ways during this dance, complete with high-energy dancing and rollicking good fun. Choreographed through a collaborative process, each dancer brings her own personality and technical strengths to the table, contributing not only to the development of each character, but also to the eclectic, multi-voiced aesthetic of the whole piece.
No Sugar, Please
Text by Mariah Steele
8 minutes
“No Sugar, Please” is Mariah's first solo to combine spoken text and movement, while exploring the cultural history of tea. From China to Japan to England to her own living room, Mariah investigates the contrast between how tea fosters friendship and peace among individuals and how the global tea trade has exploited many for centuries. Extensive research into traditional tea ceremonies informs much of the movement and ideas, bringing viewers around the world in 8 minutes.
Good Soil
Music by Lev Zhurbin
Guest choreography by Hans Rinderknecht
5 minutes
In a tribute to one of Hans’ most inspiring teachers, he explores the metaphor of teachers as gardeners – planting seeds of knowledge and reveling in the new landscapes they produce. The dance captures the joy of watching the fruits of one’s labor come to life and thrive in an ever-changing environment.
Tern's Landing
Music by Ravi Shankar & traditional Indian ragas
11 minutes
"Tern’s Landing" follows a young woman through the transition from a carefree young adulthood surrounded by warm, female friends to the uncertainties of an arranged marriage. Depicted in subtle body tensions and intricate partnering with flavors of Indian culture, the couple learns to live together and negotiate intimate space. The dance is inspired by Jhumpa Lahiri's book, Unaccustomed Earth.
Looking Through Windows
Music by Jane Morgan & Georgia Gibbs
4 minutes 45 seconds
In this witty and romantic duet, Mariah dances with an unusual partner: her laptop computer. With 1950's pop tunes, table acrobatics and a compelling mix of sensual and daring movements, the humorous satire raises questions about our relationships with technology in an increasingly digital world.
Music by Edgar Meyer with Béla Fleck & Mike Mitchell
11 minutes 30 seconds
This buoyant coming-of-age dance follows a girl's self-discovery in relationship first to a brother, then to herself, and finally to a lover. The light and playful movement quality paints scenes of childhood forests, open fields and breathtaking ocean bluffs. The girl overcomes her fears, molds her environment and makes her own decisions in order to take her place as an independent woman in celebration and triumph.
Music by Steve Reich
8 minutes 30 seconds
Inspired by Mariah's global travels and anthropological work, this septet examines the myriad interactions that occur when two different cultures meet. While experiencing assimilation and rejection, hostility and love, the characters seek to learn about each other through each group's unique movement vocabulary. In the end, a final amalgamation of movements exposes our common humanity.
Hedgehog's Dilemma
Guest Choreography by Hans Rinderknecht
Music by Arthur Solari
7 minutes
German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer describes a human dilemma with a metaphor: two hedgehogs wish to become close to one another, for comfort and understanding; however the closer they become, the more vulnerable each is to hurt by the other's spines. This intimate duet explores a budding romantic relationship and the conflicting urges that draw us to one another and push us apart. Dynamic partnering results as the two dancers struggle with these forces while never losing touch with each other.
Galatea's Awakening
Music by Alan Hovhaness
6 minutes 30 seconds
This duet re-imagines Ovid's myth of Pygmalion. What happens after Pygmalion's beautiful statue comes to life? Surely not everything went smoothly as Galatea became a person with her own thoughts, feelings and desires separate from, and sometimes in contradiction to, Pygmalion's ideas. The dance includes acrobatic partnering and a tale of discovering the real people beneath our own expectations of those we love.
Live music by mandolinist Hans Rinderknecht
7 minutes
This contemplative, airy and expansive solo started with Robert Frost's poem "Choose Something Like a Star" and the question, what does it feel like to be a star in the sky? Mariah's answer: lonely and burning. The piece thus becomes a quest for the vulnerable, yet majestic, soloist to accept herself in relation to the immense galaxy around her. Choreographically, the dance plays with how much a soloist can expand and contract the three-dimensional stage space and explores the interplay between revealing and concealing both emotion and gesture.
Music by Badma Khanda Ensemble
11 minutes
How are stories passed down in families, and how do the relatives we never met affect our lives through these stories? "Heirlooms" investigates this question by showing the change as well as the continuity of traditions – expressed in movement – from one generation to the next.
Stone to Silicon
Music by Edgar Meyer, Yo-Yo Ma & Mark O'Connor
5 minutes 30 seconds
This solo celebrates humanity's spirit of invention throughout the ages. What inspired people to build the Pyramids and cathedrals, skyscrapers and computers? What essence of humanity urges people onward to invent, create, craft and engineer the world around us? Drawing ideas from the Aztecs to anvils to Apple, this piece displays agile strength as the dancer carves a building out of thin air.
That Which Drums
Music by EarthTribe Rhythms
8 minutes
An in-depth exploration of rhythm, this piece for nine dancers offers an abstract depiction of the daily sights and sounds of a rural Ghanaian village where Mariah lived in 2003.

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Last Modified: 21 Aug 2022
Designed By: Will Pickeral
Photos By: Eli Akerstein