Dance and music shape each other in annual Locally Grown Dance performance

By: Lindsey White,  Department of Performing and Media Arts
February 15, 2018

When: March 1–3, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Kiplinger Theatre, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts

BUY TICKETS, or BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE only at the Schwartz Center box office, Monday–Saturday, 1:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.

For Cornell University senior Danielle LaGrua, the intertwining of music and dance can lead to unexpected results. “As a performer, music definitely influences the dynamic with which I am moving. Especially when improvising, music can serve as inspiration,” says LaGrua.

Cornell University dancers will take the stage at the Schwartz Center March 1–3 for the Department of Performing and Media Arts’ annual Locally Grown Dance concert. The performance comprises three dances set to unique music, from live improvisational music, to electronica, to a manipulated collage soundtrack that features music from the television series “Dallas,” among other excerpts.

Choreographer Nic Ceynowa says his music choice and dancers guide the direction of his work. “I always start with music. If I can't visualize something happening in space immediately upon hearing music, I won't use it,” says Ceynowa. He adds, “My dancers served as constant inspiration and challenge because of their high level of technical ability.”

In a different approach to choreography, Jumay Chu asks the dancers to work with live music improvised in the moment of performance, keeping the tension of the dance taut with surprises and unanticipated partnerships among dancers and musicians. 

Directors and choreographers Ceynowa, Chu, and Byron Suber are faculty members in the Department of Performing and Media Arts, as are collaborators Ed Intemann, visual and lighting designer, and Warren Cross, sound designer. Annie Lewandowski, a senior lecturer in the Department of Music, directs and performs live with musicians from her Music Improvisation Ensemble for Chu’s piece.   

Locally Grown Dance is funded in part by a grant from the Cornell Council for the Arts.

Performances are in the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts’ Kiplinger Theatre March 1, 2, and 3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students, seniors, and the Cornell community, and are available at, or buy one, get one free only at the Schwartz Center box office, Monday–Saturday, 1:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. The Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts is located at 430 College Avenue in Ithaca.