December 8th – 9th, 8:00pm

The Proscenium Theatre, UMBC 



Senior Capstone Works
New Repertory Work by Faculty Member Brandon Russell


Guadaloupe Kone | Keep Going

Sometimes it may be hard to conceptualize how the different parts of our brain work together to help us get through the day. Some people may see gears spinning, and others might see nothing at all. For me, I see little worker people inside my mind running around completing their tasks. There are many up-and-down moments scattered throughout, but at the end of the day, everything just keeps going. 

Guadaloupe Kone is a senior at UMBC pursuing a B.A. in Dance. She has been dancing for 9 years with her main focus of studies being in the modern and contemporary area. While at UMBC, she has performed in many student-choreographed pieces and performed at the South-Atlantic American College Dance Association Conference in 2022. She also had the opportunity to perform in Boundless, a repertory piece choreographed by Shaness D. Kemp. Guadaloupe presented her First Works piece, titled Feel It in the Spring of 2023, which explored different textures and qualities one can find when dancing.


Artist Statement

In my life, there are many moments when I feel antsy, and dancing helps alleviate this feeling. Creating dances is a way to get the jitters out of my system. My creative process begins with a gestural phrase that leads me to build more material until I have something that feels satisfying in my body when I move. Arms are the first thing to move, and everything else is secondary. I like to think of it as descending a flight of stairs. I start at the top with my arms and then slowly make my way down to my torso, pelvis, legs, and feet until I have something that moves my whole body. My movement is not always conventional, which is my strength as a choreographer, and my artistic drive involves identifying interesting and complex shapes. By using the medium of dance to see the physicality of my movement ideas being moved and manipulated by other bodies instead of mine, I celebrate the unexpected and diversity of self-expression.


Eva McLaughlin | Episodic Abrasion

“an area damaged by scraping or wearing away”

Misophonia, or “the hatred of sound” when translated from Latin, is a neurological condition characterized by an intense aversion to certain auditory stimuli. In this case, the term abrasion can be used to describe the figuratively painful scraping and wearing away at the brain when exposed to a “trigger noise”. The amygdala, the center of the brain responsible for the activation of the physiological “fight or flight” response, is frequently triggered at extremely intense levels in a person living with the condition, resulting in various symptoms, such as verbal and physical aggression, sudden panic attacks, disgust and hatred towards the source of the noise, or partial, or even complete social isolation. This work forces the audience to experience, even for a short time, what it’s like to constantly feel bombarded by these unwanted, abrasive noises and how those with Misophonia still continue to find ways to cope with and live through these extreme circumstances, and not be defined by their condition.

Eva McLaughlin is a dancer and choreographer from Silver Spring, Maryland. She is a dance major and has trained in various techniques for 12+ years. She credits most of her dance training pre-undergrad to her high school dance company teachers, Corinne Luetje and Meredith Lazarro, as well as her Varsity Poms team coach, Daniella Hagan. While at UMBC, Eva performed in various student works, as well as a repertory work entitled Boundless, choreographed by UMBC professor Shaness D. Kemp. Eva choreographed her first undergraduate work, entitled Artemis and Callisto, during UMBC’s 2023 Spring Dance Showcase. Eva had the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam during the summer of 2023 after receiving the Undergraduate Research Award grant and there studied the William Forsythe improvisation technique under Tamas Moricz. Eva serves as the President of UMBC’s Dance Council of Majors and has been involved in her community in this way since 2021.


Artist Statement

My goal as a dancer and choreographer is to expand upon the general understanding of what dance is, and what dance has the ability to become. From an early age, I have used movement and expression to convey thoughts and feelings in my mind that could otherwise be strange or difficult to share verbally. For this reason, I focus my choreographic choices on reflecting the human experiences of myself and those around me, the subjects of my works, or the various energies within the movement itself. I heavily rely on theatrical-based concepts, and physical contact in movement to emphasize this human quality within dance. I have always felt that this ability is strong, partially due to my lack of rigorous dance training in adolescence. I used to consider this wholly unlucky as a dancer stepping into my own in adulthood, but because of my usage of movement as primarily an emotional outlet throughout my formative years, I’ve been able to find my true style of choreography, which is strong because of its emphasis on the feelings the movement induces.


Rebecca Mwendwa | Outside the Hive

This piece delves into the fascinating realm of bee communication, inspired by the elaborate dances executed by bees to convey information about food sources and the collection to production needs of the colony. Specifically, the figure-eight dance pattern called the waggle dance, provides details about the distance, direction, and quality of a food source. Each movement is purposeful and symbolic, showcasing the remarkable ability of bees to communicate complex information through motion – naturally, all performed on the hive’s designated “dance floor.”

Rebecca Mwendwa is a senior at UMBC pursuing a B.A. in Dance with a minor in Linguistics. Prior to studying at UMBC, she received an A.A. in Music Composition and Performance at Frederick Community College. During her time at UMBC, she has choreographed and performed in department showcases, as well as worked under UMBC Dance Department Technical Director Brian Jones as a lighting operator for the Baltimore Dance Project. Spring semester of 2023, she choreographed and composed music for her First Works piece titled “Semiotics” in addition to being a sound collaborator for Deven Fuller’s senior piece. This year, she is currently working on her senior piece and will graduate in the spring of 2024.


Artist Statement

What I like most about creating dance is the way it allows me to make visual and physical sense of the chaotic ideas constantly looping around my head – looking for ways to accurately articulate what I see. I end up getting inspiration from unusual places – sometimes even a joke will spark an idea for me. Start with something funny and gimmicky and translate it to something less funny, is what I tell myself. Choreography almost feels like a Twister game board, putting together different combinations of hands and feet at different distances from one another, sometimes random and tricky – sometimes just right. While it can be daunting to create through that unpredictability, I generate some of my most interesting ideas out of that lack of a starting place. Dance lets me create in the most natural way possible, in the way I move everyday. I love the ability to make something out of nothing in dance, to make meaning out of the pedestrian movements that exist in everyone.


Katelyn O’Connor | Literally Figurative

“Literally Figurative: An Exploration of the Interpretation of Idiomatic Phrases in the English Language”
When Life Gives You LEMONS
My Hands Are TIED
Caught in a WEB of Lies

The motivation for this research stems from interacting with a variety of people with English as their second (or nonprimary) language. There are an estimated 25,000 idioms in the English language, and while there are idioms in other languages as well, research has shown it is not nearly as extensive as in the English language. Idioms are defined by Mildred Larson as, “string(s) of words whose meaning is different from the meaning conveyed by the individual words,” in her book, “Meaning-based Translation: A Guide to Cross-language Equivalence.” The aspect I chose to focus on in this research is the interpretation of these idioms in both a literal and figurative sense, presented in the form of a choreographic project. In addition to the movement, this piece was created in synthesis with musical composer, Stanley Evans. This research was made possible through the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Undergraduate Research Award with my research mentor, Professor Ann Sofie Clemmensen.

This piece is dedicated to my late father, Kevin O’Connor.
“Do good, kick butt, let me know how it goes” ~Dad

Katelyn O’Connor is a Linehan Artist Scholar pursuing two bachelors’ degrees in Dance and Political Science. During her professional and collegiate experience, she has performed in venues including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Baltimore Dance Project, and the Eubie Blake National Jazz and Cultural Center, with organizations such as the National Symphony Orchestra, the Kennedy Center, and Hope Boykin Dance. She is a recipient of numerous scholarships and grants from organizations such as the Linehan Artist Scholarship, the Kennedy Center, and Emily’s Gift Artists Grant, and is currently researching as a recipient of UMBC’s Undergraduate Research Award grant.


Artist Statement

My work is a fusion of all the dance styles that throughout my life have shaped the way I communicate through movement. This fusion draws from a lifelong engagement with classical styles, contemporary, commercial dance, and some cultural dance, I thrive in the collaborative process. Sourcing inspiration from my dancers and their strengths aids the development of a piece that is a synthesis of my movement quality with what makes sense for my dancers and their individualized abilities. I work narratively based on experience as well as based on emotion and feeling. The narrative does not have to drive a whole story, but rather a question I am asking myself, or even a question I am asking the audience. This, in synthesis with music composed specifically with the final product in mind, I seek to create an all-encompassing experience for myself, my dancers, and the audience on all physical, mental, and emotional levels.


Ren Reiter | DISemBODIED

For a lot of people, their gender matches with their skeleton. That is not always the case. In many case, people will discover that their gender does not match their biological skeleton. How can people cope with that if they are not always going to be accepted for that…

Ren Reiter grew up training in Ellicott City, and is now a senior at UMBC, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Dance. During their time at UMBC, they branched out to Howard Community College’s Student Dance Company and performed six works choreographed by various choreographers such as Elizabeth Higgins, Alex J. Krebs, Darion Smith, and Amanda Fair. While studying at UMBC, they choreographed two other works entitled “Element” and “Dissociated.” They are also a part of Kinetics Dance Company under the direction of Liz Quiñones.


Artist Statement

Dance traditionally was considered to be something graceful, and moving your body in certain ways in order to achieve a certain shape or storyline. Being a dancer as well as human, I strongly value incorporating humanity into all of my dance works. My choreography represents humans who have emotions, values, and experiences; represented by humans who are doing the dancing, choreographed by humans. We all treat emotions, experiences, values, and opinions differently, hence no person is the same, everyone expresses themselves in their own individual ways. I use that mindset when working with my dancers. When creating a work about a theme, I consider how my dancers work with the theme, and explore what feels natural when they are given a phrase or a prompt. In my process, I mostly generate on the spot during rehearsals with my dancers, allowing us to experiment together. I emphasize pedestrian ideas at first, and then incorporate the shapes into the movements.