Dancing Digitally: Summer Spotlight Series

In this time of isolation and distance, VDA mourns the loss of public dance performances, particularly our 2020 Gala and the chance to witness innovative choreographic work. Rather than lose out on this wonderful opportunity to enrich our community, we are creating an alternative digital project to connect, expand, and keep dancing together.

Beginning in July, we will feature an artist interview series, focusing each week on a single Gala choreographer’s creative process. Each artist will highlight a certain movement score, choreographic exercise, or creative tool that has been meaningful to them in recent months. We invite anyone interested in participating to follow the artists’ prompts and try them for yourself. Then, engage back with the VDA community through a short written or filmed response of your experience.

On the VDA website, each artist spotlight page will include a written interview and video version of these creative practices. Live interviews with VDA intern, Maia Sauer, will occur on VDA’s Instagram page on Thursday evenings to introduce that week’s artist and their particular score or movement practice. Finally, after the series is complete, Maia will compile a video of responses from community members as a way to commemorate the project and honor the resilience and strength of the Vermont dance community.


Artist 1: Laurel Jenkins
July 6 - Newsletter & website feature
July 9 at 7p - Instagram Live conversation

Artist 2: Elizabeth Kurylo
July 13 - Newsletter & website feature
July 16 at 7p - Instagram Live conversation

Artist 3: Nicole Dagesse
July 20 - Newsletter & website feature
July 23 at 7p - Instagram Live conversation

Artist 4: Julie Peoples-Clark
July 27 - Newsletter & website feature
July 30 at 7p - Instagram Live conversation

Artist 5: Bridget Struthers
Aug 3 - Newsletter & website feature
Aug 6 at 7p - Instagram Live conversation

Aug 15 - Deadline for community response videos
(emailed to msauer@middlebury.edu)

Aug 23- Time TBA- Facebook Watch Party of "Dancing Digitally Community Showcase"

We are pleased to announce that this project is supported in part by the Vermont Humanities Council. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed do not necessarily represent those of Vermont Humanities Council.

Posted by

Maia Sauer is a dancer and writer driven by a deep love of the body and its poetry. She is interested in the change-making capacity of storytelling through movement, words, and the untidy categories in between. Through her artistic work, she seeks to infuse audiences with a renewed curiosity about the nature and practice of their own presence and relationships. She is fascinated by embodied exchanges—how we shape and are shaped by our environments, how we learn collectively, and how we construct networks of empathy and care. Maia currently studies Dance and English & American Literatures at Middlebury College and is a Summer 2020 VDA Intern.

Participating artists

Born and raised in France, Elizabeth studied ballet, Russian character and modern dance in Paris. In the 80’s, she moved to New York City and study with Merce Cunningham, Viola Farber, Maggy Black. After 15 years hiatus to raise a family and work as a physical therapist, she returned to her former passion. Since, she danced with the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble in Hanover, NH and What’s Written Within in Edgartown, MA. She choreographed most of her work with the latter with productions for Built on Stilts, the Yard and the Hebrew Center in Martha’s Vineyard, and for the 2019 Vermont Dance Alliance Winter Gala . She is a passionate of baroque dance and performed with Ken Pierce Baroque group in Boston MA. My choreographies are the result of a close collaboration with the dancers. With them, and depending on their skills and abilities, I shape an initial concept into a finished product by using simple step phrases and modifying their patterns, directions, timing and speed, resulting in a multilayered composition. My motto? "Everyone can dance"

Julie Peoples-Clark, originally from Baltimore, MD, has been a go-go dancer in a cage in a night club, a showgirl in Atlantic City, a backup dancer for Richard Marx, a magician’s assistant, a teeny bopper in 3 John Waters’s films, a tap dancing book on television, creator of dance programing for at-risk youth through the Drug Enforcement Administration and a professional modern dancer. She moved to Vermont 12 Years ago with her husband Dave and daughter Ella. She is on the dance faculty at University of Vermont teaching contemporary, ballet, tap, musical theatre dance and pilates. She is part of Dance Tramp a collective of Vermont-based experimental dance artists. Most importantly, she is mother to Ella the Great and Emanuel Blessing.

Laurel Jenkins’ choreography emerges from rigorous experimentation and interdisciplinary dialogues in the realms of contemporary dance, opera, music and theater. She engages with the choreographic process as a radical space for reimagining our collective human experience. Her work has been presented by Lincoln Center, Disney Hall, REDCAT, Automata, the Getty Center, Show Box LA, Danspace, Berlin’s Performing Presence Festival, and Tokyo’s Sezane Gallery. She recently choreographed Bernstein’s MASS with the LA Phil and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. In addition, she has choreographed for LA Contemporary Dance Company, The Wooden Floor, California State University, Long Beach, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Jenkins was a member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company from 2007-2012, and developed original roles in Brown’s final works. Jenkins also danced in New York with Vicky Shick and Sara Rudner. She performed the role of Ismene in Peter Sellars’ staging of Oedipus Rex conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. This spring she will perform solos by Merce Cunningham in Los Angeles as a part of the Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event. Jenkins is the recipient of a Vermont Arts Council Grant, an Asian Cultural Council Grant, holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence, and an MFA from UCLA....

Nicole Dagesse is a Vermont native whose rural upbringing in the forests and fields is a direct inspiration for her movement style and choreographic desires. Combining her training in Modern Dance, Contact Improvisation, and Aerial Dance, Nicole approaches each new site with inquisitive play and rigorous movement research. Nicole earned her BFA in Dance and BS in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she was immersed in the creativity of the local dance scene. Nicole cites Wire Monkey Dance as a major influence in her work. It was while playing on the scaffolding that her 3-dimensional movement patterns began to develop, and her love of partnering work took flight. After several years dancing in the Boston area, Nicole felt it was time to continue her dance education as an artist and teacher, and moved to Boulder, Co. to pursue an MFA in Site Dance and Somatic Practices. The rugged terrain and the endless blue skies provided the perfect opportunity to hone her voice as a site artist. The grounding and balancing study of the Alexander Technique was a necessary complement to her physically demanding work, and Nicole was increasingly interested...


Founded in 1976, BSD is known for its quality dance education and productions in Southern Vermont. We welcome students of all ages and abilities, and believe dance is a transformative art that enhances the lives of everyone.


July 6 – August 15, 2020




Published June 22, 2020