Dance continues to inspire UB students

UB holds annual Emerging Choreographers Showcase


Haley Bjorn realized she couldn’t live without dance when she was a teenager. It was her passion, her outlet. She wanted to see it come to life.

She decided to come to UB and since then, her vision has flourished through an annual showcase.

The Emerging Choreographers Showcase on Friday night highlighted many dance majors’ talents and helped them explore what will soon be their career. The showcase is held every year as an opportunity for undergraduates to choreograph their own pieces that are performed by other dance majors. The event shows students what it’s like to work with advanced dancers and put together their own pieces.

Last year’s showcase was Bjorn’s first time putting together a full dance routine. This year, the senior BFA dance major choreographed both a group routine and a solo that she performed herself.

“My group cast was an absolute dream, constantly working their hardest and providing their own artistic perspectives throughout the rehearsal process,” she said.

Bjorn explored new choreographing techniques while creating her group dance. Instead of planning the whole dance out ahead of time, Bjorn came to each rehearsal with little to no material prepared.

She used her time to play with the music and the cast and see what came together and was “extremely proud” of the outcome.

Before Bjorn had an idea of becoming a choreographer, she was a dancer who performed throughout her entire childhood. Dancing from an early age up until going away to college, she knew that dance was her passion.

The art of dance remains extremely important in Bjorn’s life.

As she finishes up her senior year at UB and continues to look toward her future, Bjorn feels extremely lucky to be a part of the dance field.

“I look forward to what lies ahead with the strong foundation that the UB Dance Department has provided me,” she said.

Jessica Caraciolo, a junior dance major, was another choreographer featured in the showcase. Caraciolo fell in love with dance at an early age and danced at her studio back home.

“It was a place to escape everything else that was going on around me and put all of my focus and energy into one place,” Caraciolo said.

She had never choreographed her own piece for a cast before, but when she was given the opportunity to create a routine for the showcase, she took it.

Caraciolo found inspiration for her group dance through her Modern 3 class UB where she learned about improvisation.

“I was fascinated by the different ways two bodies could move together and started noticing it in all different styles of dance,” Caraciolo said.

Caraciolo has always thought of being a performer in her future. After this experience, she seriously considers choreographing as a career. Whichever path she chooses, she knows that she will remain in dance.

“I would love to continue to make pieces and watch my ideas and visions come to life,” Caraciolo said.

Madison Rutherford, a junior dance major, decided dance is something that she really wants to pursue.

“Growing up, I actually fell in and out of love for dance, as everything has its good and bad,” Rutherford said. “In college, I realized that I knew I could do this and be successful, although that is a back and forth struggle that I deal with every day.”

Rutherford decided that she wanted to take the opportunity to choreograph a piece for the showcase because she did not have much choreographing experience.

“The piece that I have created for this show is about growing up and embracing who we are as women,” she said.

Finding confidence in her work was a challenge for Rutherford. She struggled with doubting herself and wondered if her creation was good enough.

“[As choreographers] we're constantly worried about what the audience is going to think, our teachers and mentors, and if the dancers themselves like the movement,” Rutherford said.

Working through the struggles, Rutherford created a piece she is proud of and shows her love for dance. Her passion will remain as she looks ahead into her future as a dancer.

The showcase has opened Rutherford’s eyes to the world of choreography.

“I'd love to be living in LA or NYC or Chicago someday dancing professionally and perhaps teaching as well,” she said. “Dance is the number one priority in my life and has completely shaped the person I am today.”

Miranda Albini is a staff writer and can be reached at