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School of Dance recognizes exceptional young choreographers creating dance for social justice and equity

Published: November 29, 2021 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts and the School of Dance are pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural 2021 High School Choreography Competition, recognizing six exceptional students for their unique short choreographic solos, submitted as video recorded performances in the spring. 

These young choreographers demonstrate exceptional talent and creative engagement with the body as a site for activism and awareness toward social justice and equity including, but not limited to, race, gender, class and allyship. 

They received $5,000 and $10,000 scholarship awards, feedback from dance professionals, mentorship from junior and senior dance majors, and earned the opportunity to perform the solo in one of the school’s annual concerts. The School of Dance has also offered a full scholarship to join the next Summer Dance Intensive program with the internationally renowned Dayton Contemporary Dance Company planned for June 2022.

“We look forward to these students attending the School of Dance where their choreographic voice will be supported and fostered as they prepare for working meaningfully in the field of dance,” said Travis Gatling, director of the School of Dance. 

The four top award winners include Katrina Theth of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, whose lyrical performance was a response to the hatred and injustice towards people of color and embodies hope in the face of loss, and Brooke Boynar of North Ridgeville, Ohio, now a first-year dance major at OHIO, who submitted “Shine on you,” a performance expressing unity and the everyday struggles people face. The top award winners also included Moriba Francis of Trinidad and Tobago, who is currently studying dance at the University of the West Indies (UWI) where Francis studies dance and dance education, and Dominic Roberts of Galloway, New Jersey, submitted a work about the need for self-love as a prerequisite to loving others.

Honorable mentions include Mallory Godwin of Sidney, Ohio, whose work embodies a struggle “to find myself and how I view things” as an “ally to all people no matter their religion, gender, or anything that could stereotype or categorize them,” and Jessica Dodds of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, whose piece “Piano Man” embraces a positive upbeat message embracing diversity in a time of tension. 

The School of Dance is now accepting submissions to the 2022 Ohio University School of Dance Choreography Competition from those currently in or recently graduated from high school. This year, the competition seeks short choreographic solos that highlight unique and interesting choreographic voices around themes of mental health and wellness, lockdown or isolation (due to the pandemic), social media-inspired works, or social justice and equity, including, but not limited to, race, gender, class and allyship. 

The submission deadline is Jan. 18. Find out more about this opportunity here.