Dance students receive Dorothy Madden grants for winter intensives

February 2, 2017

Congratulations to Dance students Gabriella Di Giuseppe (BA), Gabrielle Welsh (BA), and Shawn Stone (MFA) on receiving Dorothy Madden grants to support their attendance at dance intensives over the winter break. The grants were made possible through Professor Sara Pearson, the Dorothy Madden Professor for 2016-2018. Pearson says, “ These grants give our students  a bridge to the professional world, to being independent emerging artists navigating not only classes and workshops, but performances, museums, the subway!... A week’s experience of living in NYC in a community of people dedicated to creative dance research and practice.”


Senior Gabriella Di Giuseppe attended the Bates/Gibney Connect dance intensive in New York City. The intensive was four days long and included two modern technique classes and one composition class each day. Gabriella said,

“Not only did I get great technique training over the week, but I was again reminded of why I dance and why I want to and DO make it my life. Without the Madden grant, I would not have been able to attend this stunning intensive and I hope that more students have this amazing opportunity in the future.”

Gabriella Di Giuseppe and Kendra Portier (main technique instructor at Bates/Gibney Connect)

Senior Gabrielle Welsh and MFA Dance candidate Shawn Stone both attended MELT, Movement Research’s two-week winter intensive in New York City. They took classes with world-renowned instructors Gwen Welliver, Chris Aiken, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Eva Karczag and Keith Hennessy, each of whom pushed the students out of their physical, artistic, and intellectual comfort zones. For example, Chris Aiken’s class, An Eco-Poetic Approach to Dance Improvisation and Performance, challenged students to combine concepts from both dance and biology, introducing new modes of kinesthetic exploration. Shawn found inspiration in learning new styles, techniques, and research methods while in the company of an eclectic group of artists. He said,

“I feel the tools and knowledge, both embodied and embrained, discovered from this workshop will serve my current interests as well as take me to places I would have never researched or explored otherwise…[such as] uniquely used methods of technique, embracing/exploring new connections and applications within improvisation and learning the benefits of simple comprehension and isolation in the body.”


Shawn Stone and Gabrielle Welsh with fellow UMD dance undergrads Anna Liddle and Sydney Lemelin at MELT


Being in New York City also allowed the students to view the work of professional dance artists and engage in discussions with them about their creative process. Gabrielle was also excited to take advantage of the city’s resources at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, where she leafed through the newspaper archives to find critiques of famous modern dance choreographers.

Gabrielle said,

“This entire experience was a valuable supplement to my education at UMD, and it helped me synthesize a lot of the information that I have gained throughout my college experience.”

By Kate Spanos