Loyola University Chicago

Department of Fine and Performing Arts


Student Dance Composition Featured in the Fall 2021 Mainstage Dance Concert

Student Dance Composition Featured in the Fall 2021 Mainstage Dance Concert

The Loyola Mainstage Dance ConcertNevertheless, She Persisted, will feature Dialed In, a student composition by B.A. Dance senior Emily Carroccio.

At Loyola, Emily was granted the autonomy to pursue various interests without the pressure to specialize in a singular discipline. The Loyola University Chicago Dance Program encourages students to double major in other areas of study, and the majority of B.A. Dance students take advantage of this unique opportunity. For the past three years, Emily has delved into artistic expression in the dance major and scientific studies in a biology major with a molecular emphasis.

DANC 370: Dance Composition is a required course for B.A. Dance students and offered to dance minor students. Taught by Senior Lecturer Amy Wilkinson, M.Ed., the course runs each spring and concludes with a public performance. The Dance Composition Showcase features pieces choreographed by each student enrolled in the course, performed by fellow dance majors, minors, and other Loyola students.

While many students enter the class with a running list of choreographic and conceptual ideas, Emilly came into the course as a junior without a clear idea for her composition. During winter break, she listened to a podcast that explored the intersection of new religious movements and discussed the concept of black and white thinking. This podcast, Emily recalls, “was the origin of my desire to explore purity and its disruptive, destructive, consuming power.” 

In her final composition, Dialed In, three dancers scrub themselves with foaming soap to portray a physical expression of purity. The moment also makes a connection between the physical and spiritual cleansing practices within several religious traditions. 


click image to view an excerpt from Dialed In

 Movement generation combined trial and error and word association. Emily routinely utilized her phone to record and review clips of various movement phrases set to different music pieces. “If I made something and outgrew it, I would use it for scraps later,” Emily explained in her refusal to throw out movement content. She also credits her cast, current juniors Caitlin Dyer, Sydney Osborne, and Gretchen Plinke, for their dedication and responsiveness to remembering the constant phrase changes and contributing their own movement through improvisational tasks.  

Due to the university’s Covid-19 protocols, the final Dance Composition Showcase was moved to an online platform during Spring 2021. Rather than choreographing a piece for the stage, students redirected their creative process to dance film. As dance film gained popularity in the greater community due to the pandemic, Emily and other students adopted the various roles of director, camera operator, sound mixer, and editor. While the digital medium had its challenges, the documentation abilities of technology proved to be greatly beneficial from the start of the movement generation process and into the finalnshoot days.


As the Department of Fine and Performing Arts returns to on-stage performances, so will Dialed In. The piece, conceptualized and choreographed as a dance film, will undergo several changes to be staged for the Newhart Family Theater. The process of transitioning a two-dimensional work to three-dimensional space requires phrase sequencing, setting formations, and moving the dancers across the stage. 

With the fall semester underway and preparations for the dance concert in full swing, Emily and the cast began rehearsals as an ensemble for the first time in the creative process. As the rehearsal and restaging process continues, Emily hopes to “bring attention to the layers of purity while maintaining the integrity of the original work.”  

Emily Carroccio will present a restaged version of her original dance film composition Dialed In in Nevertheless, She Persisted at the Newhart Family Theater on November 18-21, 2021. Visit our website for ticketing information.