Friday, August 19, 2016

A class on imagination and curiosity

Composition students from fall 2015: Caitlin Austin and Joel Davila
There’s something powerful about making your own movement, giving into your curiosity and seeing just how far your imagination can take you. 

Last year, Professor Catherine Solaas encouraged her composition students to let the choreography process take them beyond technique, challenging them to find their own meaning of dance. Creating a supportive environment in the dance studio, Catherine helped students use movement to showcase their unique identities, thoughts and experiences.
Caitlin Austin in rehearsal.
“Stillness is really important,” Caitlin Austin said about her choreography process, “the world is crazy and hectic, and you need to come back to stillness, to find balance.” Austin’s solo was inspired by a 10-day silent meditation she participated in that semester. Working with in class assignments, written reflections and feedback from classmates and Professor Solaas, Austin created a solo showcasing “the role of stillness in life.”

Joel Davila also responded to in class assignments and feedback during his process. Using personal writings to find inspiration for his choreography, he summed up the semester-long process as a “manifestations of thoughts.” 

Professor Catherine Solaas is teaching her Introduction to Composition class again this fall. Welcoming beginner and advanced students, she’s looking forward to tailoring the class to fit everyone’s individual level; whether it’s a first time choreographer or an advanced student wanting to dive into a new choreographic genre or medium. 

Introduction to Composition is a class that opens up space for the kind of artistic exploration that allows dancers to nourish their aesthetic and discover how to engage through movement. In December, the explorations of the semester will be collected, polished and presented to the public for the Fall Choreographers’ Showcase. 

Joel Davila in rehearsal.
Join Catherine on Mondays and Wednesday from 12:30 – 2:15 pm in the Rio Grande Campus Dance Studio. Let your imagination take over this fall and give in to your curiosity!

Apply online and register for Introduction to Dance Composition: DANC 1101 Section 08924. 

For questions or more information, email Catherine Solaas at

Photos by Anne Wharton.