Fall M.F.A. Dance Thesis Concert

Fall M.F.A. Dance Thesis Concert

October 15-17, 2021 . 2PM & 7:30PM
Principal People: 

Amber Daniels, choreographer

Christina Robson, choreographer

Event Attributes


For more information regarding accessible accommodations, please click here.

Estimated Length: 
This performance will last approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.

Risk of Play by Amber Daniels

In Risk of Play, Daniels invites the audience to partner in the storytelling process. This gripping hybrid of performance, dance theater and play generates a full-bodied experience that thwarts expectations of conventional storytelling. Each performance results in a different outcome, creating a charge of spontaneity and raw performance that is crafted in the moment by performers and audiences together. Chance is the name of the game and, in this work, everybody wins.

Overscore by Christina Robson

In a spirit of curious investigation, Overscore works with visual diagrams from dance, music and design to disrupt creative impulses and habits. The interdisciplinary collaborators of this piece question pre-existing artistic structures and create new, multi-layered variations of visual expression. This work challenges the ego and conventional rule systems to mediate exchange processes between dance and other art forms.

Health + Safety

There may be COVID safety policies such as mask requirements in place when you attend this event. Please see our health & safety page for the most up to date information about attendance!




Choreographer: Christina Robson

Scenic Designer: Andrés Poch

Lighting Designer: J. Mitchell Cronin

Costume Designer: Stephanie Parks

Sound Designer: Veronica J. Lancaster

Projection Designer: Zavier Augustus Lee Taylor

Stage Manager: Eileen Cover

Performers: Nana Edu (dancer), Lily Gelfand (cellist), Tristan Koepke (dancer), Christina Robson (dancer)

Music Credits: Original score by Lily Gelfand


Choreographer: Amber Daniels

Scenic Designer: Andrés Poch

Lighting Designer: Eric Pitney

Costume Designers: Channing Tucker, Cody Von Ruden

Sound Designer: Veronica J. Lancaster

Projection Designer: Taylor Kennedy Verrett

Stage Manager: Kathleen Cawley

Performers: Amber Daniels, Renee Gerardo, Elta Goldstein, Krissy Harris, Chelsea Hilding (video projection), Raquel Ziolkowski

Music Credits: Readings and narrations: Liliana Albano, Andalucia: Sergio Assad, Nadja Alerno-Sonnenberg, Sergio, and Odair Assad, Cedar Smoke: Sea Wolf, Valencia: Caroline Shaw and Attacca Quartet, 7 234: Michael Wall, Drifting Circles: Attacca Quartet

Assistant Lighting Designer: Emily Pan
Assistant Projection Designers: Deja Collins, Mark Williams
Assistant Stage Manager: Sam Lincoln


Drapers: Lisa Parkel Burgess, Susan Chiang, Tessa Lew
First Hand: Amy Vander Staay
Wardrobe Supervisor: Kristina Martin
Graduate Assistants: Clare Lillig, Connor Locke
Stitchers: Katie Rees, Robbi Duncan, Amelia Yasuda, Anabel Lee
THET 284 Students: Celia Richardson, Jade Hull, Nicole Panebianco, Mel Mader, Leilani Clendenin, Anabel Lee, Katy Cawley, Tien Tran, Ariella Cohn, Nicholas McQuain, Lisa Myerovich

Scenic Artists: Andrea Ball
Student Scenic Painters: Nicole Panebianco, Jalen Wilhite

Show Crew
Dresser: Jasmine Caffee
Light Board Operator: Amelia Talbot
Sound and Projection Board Operator: Ryan Smith
Run Crew: Josie Danckaert

This performance will last approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes with a 10-minute intermission.


Choreographer's Notes

Choreographer’s Note for OVERSCORE

Overscore is a 30-minute interdisciplinary performance piece that explores the concept of breaking habit. Over her three-year graduate career, director Christina Robson accumulated a portfolio of short choreographic studies focused on interrupting habitual movement patterns and challenging compositional structures. Utilizing visual information from diagrams such as classical staff-based music notation, computer source code, quantum field theory, morse code and written philosophies of performance theory, Robson constructed rule-based approaches to diagrammatic representation to compose interdisciplinary performance. Overscore is a carefully collaged chronology of habit breaking studies that weaves dance, film, projection, light, sound, costume and scenic design in a wandering installation that thwarts expectation. Most of the choreographic studies that comprise Overscore transpired amidst a global pandemic, resourcefulness and adaptation became mechanisms for tenacity, braiding function alongside transparency as cornerstones of process-oriented performance. While revealing human error and referencing the humor, devotion and absurdism embedded in creative process and live performance, Overscore demonstrates the physical effort, mental stamina and nimble improvisation of multiple artists committing to high stakes performance structures. 

Acknowledgements for OVERSCORE

A massive thank you to the incredible team, Nana Edu, Lily Gelfand, Tristan Koepke, Stephanie Parks, Andrés Poch, Mitchell Cronin, Zavier Taylor, Roni Lancaster and Eileen Cover for their artistic brilliance and dedication in collaboration. I would also like to thank my committee Crystal Davis, Kendra Portier, and Maura Keefe, the UMD dance faculty and the production team for their generous support and mentorship in the creation of this project.

  --CHRISTINA ROBSON, choreographer


Choreographer’s Note for RISK OF PLAY

Risk of Play is a large collaborative effort of those listed within this program and countless others. I first and foremost want to thank my incredible dancers and production team for their immense talent and curiosity within this research. To my supportive committee members Crystal Davis, Kendra Portier, Marielis Garcia, Alvin Mayes and the entire faculty and staff of TDPS: I greatly appreciate your discussions, guidance and push to test the boundaries in Risk of Play. To my many mentors outside of UMD’s walls such as Rebecca Levy, Katie McCaughan, Winter Marvillas, Maryanne Aycock and Rosemary Fletcher: I thank you for your constant support from afar. Eternal thanks and gratitude goes to my wonderful cohort Becky Hill, Christina Robson and Tristan Koepke. Our special bond, dedication to each other’s work and support are incredibly important to the work you will witness this evening. Lastly, I would like to thank Richard Watson for his constant collaborations and thoughtful discussions of this work within the realms of theater. Without the connection of these wonderful individuals, the interwoven work you will witness this evening would not have been possible. 

Risk of Play is dedicated to those who have never felt welcomed to the theatre. We invite all to investigate, question, invent and participate in the movement that unfolds throughout the performance.

--AMBER DANIELS, choreographer

About the Artists


Kathleen Cawley (stage manager, Risk of Play) Katy is in her senior year at UMD after transferring in January 2020. She has been stage managing for local productions at theater companies around Frederick, MD and within the university. She is thankful to have gone through this process with wonderful dancers, crew and advisors and is looking forward to next year’s endeavors within and outside of the University of Maryland.

Deja Collins (assistant projection designer) M.F.A. candidate in projection and media design at the University of Maryland, College Park. Specializing in multimedia art, with a keen interest in film, photography, screen printing and 3D modeling. Recent work includes: The Revolutionists (media design assistant), After Hours (co-designer) and The Real James Bond Was Dominican (co-designer).

Eileen Cover (stage manager, Overscore) is a super senior dance and accounting double major. In her final year at UMD, she is excited to step off the stage into her first role in stage management.

J. Mitchell Cronin (lighting designer, Overscore) third-year M.F.A. candidate in lighting design. He has designed over 100 fully-produced projects in his hometown of Houston, Texas with companies such as The Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Prague Shakespeare Company, The Ensemble Theatre, Main Street Theater, Stages Repertory Theatre, The Catastrophic Theatre, A.D. Players, Classical Theatre Company, Horsehead Theatre, Opera In The Heights and others. www.JMCdesigns.info

Amber Daniels (choreographer and performer, Risk of Play) is an M.F.A. dance candidate at the University of Maryland at College Park with extensive experience in dance education and performance. Her creative research focuses on the unpredictable nature of improvisational play and the structural predictability of narrative movement. She served as assistant coordinator of the American College Dance Festival at UMD, a panelist of the Maryland Arts Council, a guest artist at the Maryland Thespian Festival and associate company manager of Bard SummerScape 2021. She is also the founder and executive director of Beer and Ballet.

Nana Edu (dancer, Overscore; he/him/his) is a DMV-based multidisciplinary creative and educator. He has worked with various local choreographers like Bre Seals/Breathe Dance Project, Ronya-Lee Anderson, Shannon Quinn and Alvin Mayes. His choreography has also been seen at Montgomery College, Northwestern High School, and University of Maryland, College Park. He is excited to do this brain-puzzle of a dance work and is thankful to Christina for bringing him into this work.

Lily Gelfand (cellist, Overscore)

Renee Gerardo (performer, Risk of Play) Renee hails from the Midwest and moved to NYC to pursue her dream as a 10-year-old dancer to perform in Cats someday. Instead, she created and performed works as Renee Gerardo/ Dances and collaborated and performed with many amazing companies and choreographers in those 18 years. Renee is currently on faculty in the Department of Theater and Dance at Washington College. She received her M.F.A. in dance from UMD. She is honored to be dancing in Risk of Play.

Elta Goldstein (performer, Risk of Play) senior dance major at UMD. Elta is a jazz dance instructor at the Greenbelt Dance Studio in Greenbelt, MD. UMD credits: Veiled choreographed by Amber Daniels and Becky Hill.

Krissy Harris (performer, Risk of Play) Krissy Harris is a DMV-based LGBTQIA+ dance artist, and recent TDPS MFA alum. Her dance research is anchored in women’s studies, queer theory and challenging abuses of power and social capital within dance communities. Recent choreographic projects include Frequency Machines, HERed and Responsive Wild. Currently, Krissy is a commissioned choreographer at Washington College and performed at the recent D.C. District Dance Festival with PEARSONWIDRIG Dance Theatre. Krissy previously lived in Brooklyn, NY where she performed and collaborated with a variety of artists, showed her choreography at Movement Research, Gibney Dance, Triskelion Arts and Dixon Place, and taught at Adelphi University.

Tristan Koepke (dancer, Overscore)

Veronica J. Lancaster (sound designer, Risk of Play and Overscore)

Sam Lincoln (assistant stage manager)

Emily Pan (assistant lighting designer) is a third-year undergraduate studying lighting and sound design at the University of Maryland, College Park. UMD credits: Someway, Somehow (lighting designer), Spring Dance Concert 2021 (sound designer), Martius (sound designer).

Stephanie Parks (costume designer, Overscore) is a second year M.F.A. candidate in costume design. Stephanie’s UMD credits include Fabulosity. Her professional credits include The Hippodrome State Theatre, Submersive productions, The Washington National Opera, and Centerstage.

Eric Pitney (lighting designer, Risk of Play) third year M.F.A. candidate. UMD credits: Subject to Change (LD), Ghost Bride at the Fall MFA Dance Thesis Concert 2020 (LD), Ariodante (LD), A Doll House (ALD), The Visit (ALD). Training: Abilene Christian University, B.F.A. theatre: design/tech.

Andrés Poch (scenic designer, Risk of Play and Overscore; he/him/his) is a Colombian live entertainment artist and designer. He is currently a third-year M.F.A. design candidate, serves as senior designer for ViDCo, and art director and producer of The Juke Joint Live. Design credits include WORD.SOUND.POWER (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Someone Else’s House (Geffen Playhouse), Fabulosity (UMD), The Flick (Crites Hall) and The Mad Mad Scientist (13th Street Repertory Theater).

Christina Robson (choreographer and dancer, Overscore) is an M.F.A. candidate in dance at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has performed with artists such as Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, David Dorfman Dance, The Sean Curran Company, Monica Bill Barnes, Heidi Henderson, Kendra Portier and many others. She is equally lured by order and wildness. In her choreographic work she tries to braid together a combination of exactitude, untamed eccentricity and ordinary human behavior to produce poignant glimpses of effort and humanity. She is grateful to her collaborators, cohort, committee and family for their support in creating Overscore.

Zavier Augustus Lee Taylor (projections designer, Risk of Play) is a third-year M.F.A. candidate in design at UMD. He specializes in live performance, motion graphics, visual art and videography. The creation of new work is one of his greatest joys. Credits: The Talk / Black Madonna & Miss America / Responsive Wild / Ghost Bride / The Miraculous and Mundane / Unpacking Longview / YOUR HEALING IS KILLING ME. You can find more of his work at zavier.myportfolio.com & #ZALTproductions.

Channing Tucker (costume designer, Risk of Play)

Taylor Kennedy Verrett (projections designer, Risk of Play)

Cody Von Ruden (costume designer, Risk of Play; he/him/his) a first-year graduate student studying costume design at the University of Maryland. He received his B.A. in theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and has worked with Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago, IL) and Berkeley Repertory Theatre (Berkeley, CA).

Raquel Ziolkowski (performer, Risk of Play) second-year dance and kinesiology double major. She is excited for her first UMD performance at The Clarice. r