Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dawn's back at it!

By Anne Wharton

One of Dawn's soloists, Lindsey Gerson, in rehearsal.

There’s a homey feel in the ACC studio as Dawn Roberts watches her dancers take a stab at running her 

freshly choreographed piece. She shouts out musical cues as the dancers alternatively move in a group, 

solos and duets. No stranger to the Rio Grande dance studio, Dawn first began taking classes back in 2009. Taking 

breaks here and there as situations shifted, Dawn keeps finding her way back home.

Dawn watches her dancers in rehearsal. 

“It’s the atmosphere that Darla (dance faculty at ACC) provides,” Dawn explains, “you learn about who you are and 

discover your pathway to be an artist. It’s the only place I have to release my creative side.” ACC’s been lucky 

enough to have her present work on the stage several times before, and this semester she has a fresh 

piece to show for the Choreographers’ Showcase

“Initially I created a really literal piece about the systems in our lives: politics, religion, education,” Dawn 

says. She looked at the monotony and universalism that robs people of their individuality. “Why do we 

have to follow everyone else, is anyone even happy?” Dawn says reflecting on social systems. 

ACC dancer Lindsey Gerson is surrounded by dancers representing system followers.

Dawn created word banks summarizing her ideas and then asked her dances to come up with two 

movements that they associated with the systems she had listed. She kept adding layers of abstraction 

to allow the piece to develop away from her literal concept. “I let things collide together,” she says 

about structuring the phrases within the piece and setting the movement to music.  

One of the many gestures that Dawn built her piece upon.

This is Dawn’s first large ensemble piece so she had to tweak her process. Used to working within a 

heavily improvised structure that allowed her dancers to greatly contribute to the overall piece, she had 

to took a step back and provided more instruction to engage the group. “It was kind of scary,” she admits. 

But her process paid off and her dance took shape. “It’s about what feels right – when I see it I know it’s 


Dawn’s choreography will be presented at the ACC Choreographers’ Showcase Dec. 4 & 5 at the Rio 

Grande Mainstage. Tickets on sale at the door: $10 general admission and $5 for students and 


Photos by Anne Wharton.