Loyola Dance Senior Molly Kaiser Presents “The Dreamer’s Ball” in Mainstage Dance Concert
When Molly Kaiser entered Loyola University Chicago as a freshman, she was a business major with a minor in dance. Now a senior, Molly is not only a dance and psychology double major, but the student choreographer for the 2022 mainstage dance concert, The Dream of Home. The last four years with the Loyola dance program provided her with the training to become a strong performer and an artist with her own creative movement style.
Molly first choreographed “The Dreamer’s Ball” in Spring 2022 as part of a semester-long project for DANC 370: Dance Composition. All Loyola dance majors are required to take Dance Composition for the program coursework and choreograph an original piece to be shown in a final performance at the end of the semester.
The work grew from Molly’s desire to explore the subconscious, the dream world we visit in the night. “I always have interesting dreams that make me think about their relationship to my life,” she remarks. “I thought dance would be a great opportunity to tap into that dreamland.” In its early creation, the piece portrayed dreams in a literal way though haphazard scenes, from teeth falling out to fights with an enemy, but it progressed without a clear plotline.
Once Molly was selected from the Dance Composition course to be the student choreographer for the 2022 mainstage dance concert, she discovered a story to explore in the next stage of the piece. In the fall, with her original cast plus a few new additions, Molly and the dancers created a bigger, more complex dreamscape featuring a sleeping girl, unaware of her fantastical creations upon first snooze. The dreamer, portrayed by senior dance major Gretchen Plinke, soon gains consciousness and enters a lucid state, controlling the characters and story within her dream. To support the narrative of self-invention, Molly inserted audio clips from the 1962 horror film, “Carnival of Souls,” and a reimagined silhouette of “The Creation of Adam.” The final performance, full of bubblegum pink costumes and a matching crescent moon, entertained audiences with a total knockout, a grand waltz, and a train ride into the morning sunrise.
Prior to the Dance Composition course and her work in the mainstage dance concert, Molly choreographed an independent study piece in the winter of 2021 titled “Glossolalia.” The project was inspired by an internship with a doctor studying chronic pain, and the dance portrayed the experiences and feelings of individuals living with the condition. When choreographing “Glossolalia” as part of the coursework for DANC 398: Research in Dance, Molly was without tools or resources to create movement and relied on her existing knowledge as a dance student to inform what she thought looked good in rehearsal. Later, during the Dance Composition course, she learned methods to approach choreography with skill and purpose. The course, taught by dance faculty Dr. Amy Wilkinson, discussed choreographic methods like reorganizing phrases, adjusting the tempo, and merging sequences to add texture.
With strong foundations in classical ballet technique, Molly was interested in exploring a new, less comfortable realm of movement during her choreography process. The Loyola Dance program coursework, specifically Dance Composition (DANC 370) and Dance Pedagogy (DANC 360), provided her with basic structures as a foundation for choreography and leading at the front of the room. Throughout the process, she recalled the various lessons in these lecture and lab courses and applied them to her work and rehearsal space. “Throughout the semester in Dance Composition, I developed my movement to be stylistic and personal with a touch of technicality,” Molly reflects. As she looks to her personal life and career after the Loyola Dance program, she hopes to continue choreographing and exploring complex topics through movement.
The mainstage dance concert student choreography piece is a unique opportunity for Loyola dancers to create a fully realized work together. “I loved working with my peers who also happen to be my best friends,” reflects Molly. “I wanted to give them a piece where they would shine and feel a sense of pride to perform. They did the same for me, putting in so much hard work and supported my vision being brought to life.”