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choreographic projects


Summits of Beauty and Love

Premiere: 2023

Form. Line. Color. Art dictates life...or does it? Maybe we should ask that famous goddess on the mountaintop—or Sandro Botticelli himself! Inspired by the iconic "Birth of Venus" and the many depictions of the goddess in popular culture, "Summits of Beauty and Love" invites you to take in classical images and challenge how we interpret and talk about them. 

Choreography: Madeline Kurtz, in collaboration with performers

Dancers: Hannah Bowker, Alexa Clowers, Evan Fair, Jillian Sternick

Music: Bach and Bananarama 

Lighting Design: Alex Amyot

Hellenistic Gems

Premiere: 2023

Created in collaboration with students at Utah Tech University, "Hellenistic Gems" was created as a sister piece to "Summits of Beauty and Love." Pulling choreographic strategies and prompts from the previous process, this piece aims to create a different perspective on Venus in her many iterations, proving both the versatility in her character, as well as the power of agency within the creative process. 

Dancers: Alexis Christensen. Kayli Shumway, Taylor Taft, Rylee Timm, Cambree Watkins, Zoe Willard, Ashly Barraclough

Music: Vivaldi

Video courtesy of UMAC at Utah Tech University



Well, Well, Well You

Premiere: 2022

It’s that all-too familiar moment—the one when you walk into the room and size up the competition. It’s the audition, the job interview, the sports match, the class. Your self-talk builds, as you ponder, “Am I the strongest one here?” “What if I fail?” “How’s my hair?” Well, Well, Well You picks apart and pokes fun at these moments, ultimately making a caricature of our innate absurdity. 

Choreography: Madeline Kurtz, in collaboration with performers

Dancers: Victoria DeLaurentis and Kelsey Rainville

Music: Hall and Oates

Lighting Design: Alex Amyot


Just for Kicks for Now 

Premiere: 2020

Considering our embodied histories as performers in various spaces, Just for Kicks... seeks to unpack how we navigate our ever-shifting individual and collective relationships to the form and the field. With a backdrop of bright lights, sparkly pants, nostalgic stories, and a hint of narcissism to frame a range of sweeping movement phrases and meticulously patterned gestures, the work allows memories--of both viewers and performers--to flood to the forefront and take center stage.

Choreography: Madeline Kurtz, in collaboration with performers

Dancers: Hannah Bowker, Maria Brigidi, Jeanne Marie Branch, Amanda Lipton, Matea Smith, Elizabeth Thompson

Music: The Bee Gees

Original Text: Hannah Bowker

Lighting Design: Alex Amyot

Still Lingers Here

Premiere: 2018
Still Lingers Here teeters on the cusp of commercial dance pageantry and concert contemporary parody as a means by which to shed light on a serious methodological divide. My roots in both concert and commercial contemporary dance serve as the basis for my thesis research on bridging the gap between these two facets of the field. Through popular music, movement vocabulary pulled from competitive and academic dance realms, spoken and sung text, and just a little bit of sparkle, the work seeks to illuminate the ways in which concert and commercial dance can coexist and inform one another. 
Choreography: Madeline Kurtz, in collaboration with performers
Dancers: Sarah Baresh, Carissa Bishop, Emma Cohen, Emily Conn, Meghan Mariotti, Rebecca Oberstadt, Rachel Steinkamp
Music: Bonnie Tyler, Celine Dion, Cher, Evanescence, Prince
Original Text: Madeline Kurtz, Rebecca Oberstadt, Rachel Steinkamp
Lighting Design: Cassie Burns

A One-woman Show

Premiere: 2018
Red tape, gold crop tops, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Britney Spears. What do these things have in common? At first glance, the answer is probably "nothing," but this work seeks to bring them together, posing high art against low, spoken pop song lyrics against classical music, and attention to space via a red tape ring. Through movement vocabulary that ranges from small and precise backup dancing to loud, sweeping phrase material, A One-Woman Show shifts our focus to the “center of the ring,” diverting expectations and posing the question: "why not?"
Choreography: Madeline Kurtz, in collaboration with performers
Dancers: Carissa Bishop, Emilia Bunich, Meghan Mariotti
Music: Johann Sebastian Bach
Lighting and Costume Design: Cassie Burns

Hidden Agendas

Premiere: 2017
Hidden Agendas asks questions about how we define "virtuosity," both within dance making and more broadly. What are our goals when we employ movement vocabulary that we believe to be virtuosic, and how does demonstration of mastery of skill serve us in performance? This work is comical to some, while others describe it as "touching" and "incredibly human." At its core, Hidden Agendas is postmodern in its abstraction and episodic nature, as the work flips between images that arguably each demonstrate attention to virtuosity differently, including sweeping movement phrases, careful posing, complicated footwork, and highly specific, stylized walking patterns.
Choreography: Madeline Kurtz, in collaboration with performers
Dancers: Emilia Bunich and Dutch DeCarvalho
Music: Carly Rae Jepsen
Lighting Design: Sara Palmisano 

We Are All a Star

Premiere: 2016
We Are All A Star examines the binary between academic, contemporary concert dance and commercial competition dance. The work looks at the blending of these two worlds and researches how the movement vocabularies can coexist and even merge. Additionally, the dance begs questions surrounding the critical language of competitive dance as it relates to postmodern and contemporary movement material.
Choreography: Madeline Kurtz, in collaboration with performers
Dancers: Alexis Cordella, Dutch DeCarvalho, Rebecca Oberstadt
Music: Prince
​Original Text: Madeline Kurtz
Lighting Design: Maureen Gorman
Costume Design: Chloe London

We Woke up Like This

Premiere: 2016
We Woke Up Like This is a study in how context affects content and how various performance qualities create said context. Within the bizarre world that the dancers inhabit--which is accompanied by a sound score of high frequency pitches and clicks--they tap into various performative states, ranging from overly-dramatized to mechanical and monotonous, as they deliver quotes from Beyoncé songs. By pulling Beyoncé's lyrics out of the context of the songs from which they came, the work aims to give the audience a task...a puzzle to figure out: why are these lines so familiar? How does the theatrical delivery of the text alter its reception? The work also begs questions surrounding popular culture, as four white women recite lyrics that belong to a black female icon. 
Choreography: Madeline Kurtz, in collaboration with performers
Dancers: Emma Cohen, Alanna Gilson, Rachel Steinkamp, Malena Sullivan
Musical Composition: Luke Martin 

I Agree with You, But...

Premiere: 2015
I Agree… looks at communication and attentiveness. The work asks questions about what it means to listen actively, both in the literal, aural sense, as well as physically. Are we ever fully paying attention, or are we too wrapped up in our selves to be invested in the ideas of others? 
Choreography: Madeline Kurtz, in collaboration with performers
Dancers: Madison Fitzgibbons, Caroline Labreche, M.K. Murphy
Musical Composition: Luke Martin

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