Student-dancers prepare to take the stage for this year's fall dance performance

Student-dancers prepare to take the stage for this year's fall dance performance

We hope to see you at our annual fall dance performance, "Art Inspired By Art," in the Knight Fine Arts Center theater.

Friday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 10, at 8 p.m.


Taking inspiration from artists like Claude Monet, Yayoi Kusama and Augusta Savage, this year's fall dance program will be filled with ballet, modern, jazz and hip hop choreography and a diverse collection of classical, folk, jazz and electronic dance music.

On Friday and Saturday evening, five classes comprised of 70 dancers will take to the stage in the Knight Fine Arts Center, bringing both slower and controlled pieces and hard-hitting and dynamic numbers. All of the choreography was designed by Associate Dean of Student Life and Fine & Performing Arts faulty Emily Barth and Fine & Performing Arts faculty Katie Velbeck.

So what does "Art Inspired By Art" look like?

Barth and Velbeck revealed some of the famous paintings, drawings, sculptures and photography that inspired, and will be featured in, the upcoming show.

Prior to the beginning of each dance, the audience will see the actual works of art projected out to the crowd, followed by a dance inspired by the work such as Water Lilies by Claude Monet, Rage The Flower Thrower by Banksy, La Citadelle: Freedom by Augusta Savage and Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity by Yayoi Kusama. This last piece is especially relevant as this exhibition recently had a three-month run at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Depending on the dance, there will be additional set pieces to set the scenes too — street lights, mirrors and a maypole — plus extensive lighting work by Technical Theater Director Tom West.

"When the arts collaborate together, there is nothing more beautiful and powerful," said Barth, reflecting on the choreography process. "The texture, directions of the brush strokes or the layering are just a few details we looked for within some of the pieces of art. It is art inspired by art. The beauty is that art can visually speak in meaningful ways."

Working on a performance with 70 young students is an easier task when it is a team effort. After they chose the theme, Barth and Velbeck selected their artwork together then decided what they wanted the choreography to reflect.

"Our process was pretty organic," said Barth. "After the music was chosen, we start the choreography and often returned to the message we were trying to convey. Whether it is the artist's interpretation or our own, there are dances in this performance that speak to relevant topics of today and the students have done a really great job."

You won't see any big solos in this show. Each piece was choreographed to include the dancers by their class.

"It is a group effort, which always requires communication, collaboration, patience, time and hard work," Barth noted. "Students rehearse during their class times. Just like all academic classes, dancers meet four times per cycle which is equivalent to five hours per cycle. Students are also required to practice on their own and there are extra rehearsals outside of class time. WRA dance students are very committed to the dance program and they understand the importance of not only their individual performance, but their class performance as well."

And there are no favorite performances here!

When asked if anyone has a favorite dance, Velbeck said, "I end up loving each dance for different reasons. Sometimes it will be the way the dancers interpret the choreography and how they perform it. Other times, it will be overcoming different hardships and just seeing the end result that makes me proud. Often for me it will be seeing the elements come together as a whole — costumes, lighting and use of props."

There's no doubt Velbeck and Barth are immensely proud of the 70 young dancers.

"Art is extremely powerful and when two join together to create more art, the end result can speak louder than a person standing at a microphone," said Barth.

"The dancers have learned and retained all of their different pieces of choreography so well," Velback added. "We are so proud of them and hope everyone will come to the performance and show their support!"

And they'll be waiting to hear what the audience has to say about the show, too.

"I can't wait for the takeaway from the members of the audience," said Velbeck. "It's really satisfying as both a teacher and choreographer to hear if something stands out to them and remains with them after they leave the theater."

Best of luck to the cast of "Art Inspired by Art." Learn more about Reserve's Fine & Performing Arts Department by visiting