MFA Dance Thesis Concert

Published February 16, 2021

MFA Thesis Concert.


April 16 – 17, 2021 @ 7:30pm

April 18, 2021 @ 2pm & 7:30pm

Online via UB Center for the Arts YouTube

Free of charge | Donations suggested

The fourth annual MFA Dance Thesis Concert will feature new works by MFA student choreographers Kate Mackey and Phil Wackerfuss, with undergraduate dancers Anna Caison Boyd, Lily Colligan, Alexis Corletta, Zuriel Enoe, Devon Hard, Katy Maddalina, Delia Mandik, Leah Mcnerney, Mia Pierce, Haley Sanders, and Natasha Skidmore, plus collaborator/editor Michael Spears. The faculty supervisor is assistant professor and director of graduate dance, Dr. Ariel Nereson.

The production showcases the work of the department’s graduating MFA students and features collaborations with other media artists and students. It is an opportunity to see the culmination of three years of creative research by the next generation of choreographers, teachers, and researchers in the dance field.

Dance MFA candidate and choreographer Phil Wackerfuss collaborates with undergraduate dancers Corletta, Sanders, and Maddalina to create a technologically-enhanced practice of communal dancing. “Acknowledging the role technology plays in our social connectivity, we commit to society’s exchange of physical presence for a digital one,” explained Wackerfuss.

The challenges of Covid-19 have provided an opportunity to build a unique space where functional health precautions are also a site of aesthetic research. The rehearsal process began on Zoom, where the “digital self” is at the forefront. “With improvisation we attempted to include these images in our conception of self as we remember what it is that makes us dance,” said Wackerfuss. On stage, live projections function as extensions of the dancers’ bodies and question the separation between self/other, mind/body, and past/present/future.

Kate Mackey’s thesis work is a collaborative dance film that explores the familiar world of home-offices and socially-distanced dance spaces through portals made of plastic pools and a variety of filming methods. Mackey's piece will be choreographed entirely through Zoom and includes a fully dancer-filmed opening section.

UB’s dance program is built on the belief that dance is a fundamental expression of humanity with the ability to inform, reflect upon, lead, and transform local and global change in the 21st century. With close faculty mentorship and numerous opportunities to create and present work, MFA Dance students engage in advanced practical, theoretical, and critical inquiry while honing their abilities as artists, dance makers, educators, innovators, and leaders. Students create a research path that fits their interests, culminating in an MFA creative thesis project and the MFA Thesis Concert. For more information or to apply to the UB Dance MFA please visit:

Special thanks to our 2020-2021 Season Sponsor: