Fall Dance Concert 2019

Friday, November 8, 2019 at 7:30
Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 2:00 & 7:30

Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre, Swope Music Building


University Dance Company (UDC)

The focus of the UDC is to promote dance as an art form at West Chester University and to provide students with interests in arts administration, choreography, design, performance, and stage management the opportunity to create and shape their voice within this art form. As a member of this organization, students will receive a complete understanding of the workings of a dance company as well as the aspects of being involved in a University organization. UDC has two concerts every season; the fall concert focuses on faculty and guest artist work, while the spring concert mainly presents student choreography and design. Students work with both faculty and guest artists in the creation and management of new choreography and design. Community outreach and service is a component of membership to this organization as it currently is for all professional arts organizations. UDC also offers students the opportunities to attend, present and perform at various conferences annually to add to their dance and movement education.

The University Dance Company is an SSI-sponsored organization.




Gretchen PhotoGretchen-Studlien-Webb, faculty director

Gretchen Studlien-Webb, faculty director and choreographer, holds an M.F.A. from Temple University and a B.F.A. from The Ohio State University's Department of Dance. She is the dance minor coordinator in the Department of Theatre and Dance at West Chester University and has a private yoga practice. Studlien-Webb’s recent adventures in teaching have taken her internationally to the Ladek Zdroj International Dance Festival in Poland (2013 and 2008) and Claremont Project in London England (2014). Studlien-Webb’s scholarly research for the past ten years focuses on environmental sustainability. This scholarship translates into her choreographic compositions; E.A.R.T.H. (Evolution Arises Revealing True Humanity) (2007), Shared Ignorance (2011), Re[F]use (2013), Continuous Cycle (2015), and Environmental Intervention (2016). Her newest project, Carnival of Ruin, is a multi-disciplinary, collaborative, full-length performance with set and costumes created entirely out of post-consumer waste. It will premiere as part of the West Chester Summer Classics in May 2020.

Liz photoLiz Staruch, faculty, choreographer

Liz Staruch , faculty, choreographer, works with both the dance and theatre programs and coordinates the musical theatre concentration in the West Chester University Department of Theatre and Dance. In January 2019, A THING IS DETERMINED BY ITS NATURE, a new dance for camera and art installation premiered in the Knauer Gallery at WCU. The installation, a collaboration with designer Mark O’Maley, examines the interdisciplinary practices and theories of the Bauhaus art movement on its 100th anniversary. The installation is currently under consideration at galleries within the US. The site-specific dance for camera, The Camera Betrays You, which she co-conceived and directed with O'Maley, was selected and shown at the Philadelphia ScreenDance Festival. Among her WCU musical theatre credits as director/choreographer are Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill produced on campus, at the Uptown Knauer Performing Arts Center and in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, all in 2018; The Rocky Horror Show, Godspell and Once Upon a Mattress. Staruch currently serves on the American College Dance Association (ACDA) national board of directors as Regional Director for the Mid-Atlantic North. Before coming to WCU, she was on faculty at DeSales University, Elon University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she received her M.F.A. in Dance/Choreography.

Shannon BramhamShannon Bramham, guest artist, choreographer

Shannon Bramham, guest artist/choreographer, originally from Virginia, Shannon graduated with her BFA in Dance Performance from East Carolina University. She joined Koresh Dance Company in 2008. During her ten years with the company, she had the opportunity to perform Ronen Koresh’s vast repertoire in addition choreography by guest choreographers Paul Selywyn Norton and Ohad Naharin. Shannon currently manages Koresh Dance Company’s robust touring, educational and outreach programs as Program Manager. In addition, she is among the few dancers chosen to regularly set Koresh choreography. Shannon is also regularly invited to teach and set her own work across the country. Recent locations include Wright State University, Erie Dance Conservatory, South Dayton Dance Theater, Highpoint University, We are Artists, East Carolina University , Brand Performing Arts Center and Nina's School of Dance/Multiple Choices:A Benefit Concert. Her work has also been showcased at ACDFA, The International Ballet Competition, and Regional Dance America(Monticello Award and The National Choreographic Award Winner). Shannon currently teaches at Jamie’s Dance Odyssey and The Institute of Dance Artistry. In addition to teaching she also is the program coordinator for High Demand Dance Competition.

Jon PhotoJon Degaetano, lighting designer

Jon DeGaetano, lighting designer, is a scenographer working in many different mediums for theatre, dance, and performance. Most recently his work includes Love’s Labour's Lost, set and lighting (Atlantic Stage2/NYU) Ludwig and Bertie, set and projection (Theater for the New City), If Then Else, lighting (MITU580), and EXHAUSTED, creator, designer, performer (The Tank). EXHAUSTED is a developing piece using entirely green energy generated and performed from a bicycle. Explorations in experimental work like EXHAUSTED often lead to new methods in his theatrical collaborations. West Chester University BA Brooklyn College MFA.

Jillian GlaceJillian Glace, guest artist, choreographer

Jillian Glace, guest artist/choreographer, is a Philadelphia and surrounding area-based choreographer, teacher, and master’s level registered dance/movement therapist (R-DMT). Choreographic credits include collaborative and self-produced shows for the Philly Fringe Festival (2011, 2016); reprised work set on WCU University Dance Company chosen for the American College Dance Festival Northeast Regional Gala (2009); and commissioned choreography set on students from local university, high school, and studio companies (2008-present). Professional International credit includes performing originally choreographed solo for the Ladek Zdroj International Dance Festival in Poland (2006). As a choreographer, Jillian’s intention is to create meaningful and provocative work which elicits authentic emotion that resonates with performers and audience members. Jillian is also a passionate advocate for dance and movement as a clinical creative art therapy and therapeutic artistic medium to foster a sense of wellness through physical/mental health integration, and a profounder connection with self and others.

Kareem PhotoKareem B. Goodwin, guest artist, choreographer

Kareem B. Goodwin, guest artist/choreographer, a native of Philadelphia, PA began his dance training in 1998.  He attended The University of the Arts where he studied Jazz Dance with an emphasis in Choreography and Composition. Kareem was awarded the 2011 Choreography prize from the University of the Arts School of Dance.  Kareem is a principal dancer of Grace Dance Theater of Philadelphia where he also is rehearsal director for Grace 2. Kareem is currently on faculty at Dance Institute of Philadelphia, The Pointe! Dance Studio and Premiere Dance Academy, LePhoenix Dance Institute Mr. Goodwin is also the Co-Founder and Director of the Expressions Summer Dance Intensive. Kareem has choreographed for dance companies throughout the Tri-State Area and beyond. Kareem serves as the Dance Ministry Leader of Victory Christian Center of Philadelphia, In early 2017, Kareem was most recently selected as the inaugural Resident Choreographer for Dissonance Dance Theatre in Washington D.C. for the 2019-2020 season and is a 2020 Fellow for the International Association for Blacks in Dance (IABD).

Denise MurphyDenise J. Murphy, guest artist, choreographer

Denise J. Murphy, guest artist/choreographer, is a choreographer and educator who has taught a variety of theory, technique, performance and seminar courses at the University of the Arts (UArts), University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) and the Ailey School. Denise received an MFA in Choreography from UNCG and a BS in Dance Education from New York University. She received a Library Research Award through Barnard College and is engaged in archival research, exploring the relationship between research and composition. Her interests lie in the choreographic process and how students can expand their creative methods through self-directed study and collaboration. Denise is thrilled to create a new work with students at Westchester University and will collaborate with students at High Point University this spring on a work rooted in collaboration and their engagement with history.


DenNira Whitley photoDenNira Whitley

DenNira Whitley, President, student choreographer, is a senior business management major with a business law and dance minor. She has been a part of the University Dance Company for six semesters. DenNira began studying dance at the age of three at D’Shay School of Dance. She then furthered her studies at The Pointe Dance Studio. She was also a member of Straight to the Pointe Dance Company where she served as the company’s captain. This will be her second semester as a choreographer for UDC. She is overwhelmingly grateful for the friendships and opportunities that UDC has given her. DenNira thanks her family and friends for their endless support and love. Barbara J. Lappano Dance Scholarship winner 2019-2020

Grace PhotoGrace Ten Broeck

Grace Ten Broeck, Vice President, is a senior psychology major with a minor in dance. This is her seventh semester as a member of the University Dance Company. She is excited to continue her third year serving on the executive board. Grace previously trained at the Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts.  She will be graduating in December and is appreciative for all the friendships and memories UDC has given her. Grace thanks her family and friends for their support over the years. Barbara J. Lappano Dance Scholarship winner 2018-2019

Zoe photoZoe Weiss

Zoe Weiss, Vice President and student choreographer, is a senior psychology major. She has been a part of UDC for six semesters and has been allowed the opportunity to choreograph her third group piece this semester! Being able to share her passion with other UDC dancers has been a wonderful experience. Zoe is grateful for her family and friends who support her in her love of dance and congratulates the cast on another amazing show!

Stephanie Russell PhotoStephanie Russell

Stephanie Russell, Secretary, is a senior social work major and dance minor. She started training at Dance Design Studio when she was five, and continued studying dance at Art of Dance Studios. This is her seventh semester as a member of UDC and she’s happy to serve on the executive board for her last year in the company. Steph is thankful for her family for supporting her since she started dancing. She values all the friends and memories she’s made over the years, and wishes the best of luck to all the cast members.

Elizabeth PowellElizabeth Powell

Elizabeth Powell, Treasurer, is a sophomore dual majoring in business management and theatre with a music theatre concentration. She started studying dance at the age of three at the Paul Klocke Studio of Dance and has continued her passion by dancing with the University Dance Company for the past three semesters. When she is not dancing with UDC, Elizabeth is choreographing for the University Theatre. Elizabeth is beyond grateful for the amazing people UDC has brought into her life. She thanks them and her family for their support throughout her dance career. Break legs to the talented cast of Continuity.

Lexie SegallaLexie Segalla

Lexie Segalla, UDC Historian, is a senior communications major with a minor in dance and has been a part of UDC for four semester. Growing up, Lexie had minimal dance training and it was not until her teenager years that she received formal training at Dancers Warehouse. After taking a break from dance at age fifteen, Lexie returned to her dance training as a sophomore in college, where she has rediscovered her love and passion for dance. She is extremely grateful for the dance program offered here at West Chester University, her dance professors, and her supportive friends that have provided her with so many opportunities to grow as a dancer and further ignite her passion for dance.

Rachel PhotoRachael Murphy

Rachael Murphy, Service/Social Chair, is a junior communications studies major. She has been dancing since the age of three, and previously trained at McHenry Dance Center/Dain Dance Academy. She has been a part of the University Dance Company for five semesters. Rachael is also a member of the WCU Dance Team, and holds an executive board position. She is excited to be able to serve as this years’ service/social chair, and is looking forward to her future endeavors with UDC. Rachael is thankful for the support of her friends and family as she continues on with her passion for dance, and is grateful for all of the amazing people UDC has brought into her life!

Kourtney KukowskiKourtney Kukowski

Kourtney Kukowski, student choreographer, is a senior mathematics major with a dance performance minor. This is her seventh semester performing with UDC and her third semester choreographing. Kourtney is also a member of Students Promoting Excellence in Mathematics Education, and a recipient of the 2019-2020 BJ Lappano Dance Scholarship. She is very excited to present her choreography with UDC. Kourtney thanks Liz, Gretchen, and Maria for giving her a deeper appreciation for the art of dance, and for always assembling a great show. She thanks her family for their constant love and support. Barbara J. Lappano Dance Scholarship winner 2019-2020

Julia PhotoJulia Rizzo

Julia Rizzo, student choreographer, is a senior professional studies major in business, technical writing and dance. She grew up dancing at Kicks Academy of Dance in Glen Mills, PA. This is Julia's fourth year in UDC and second time choreographing for the show. She is so excited for this opportunity to show her work and continue her dance studies at West Chester University.

Scholarship Donations

The WCU Dance program in the Department of Theatre and Dance currently offers three scholarships:

  • The Barbara J. Lappano ’67, M’73 Dance Scholarship
    • 2019-2020 Recipients: Kourtney Kukowski and DenNira Whitley
  • The Emerging Dance Minor Scholarship
    • 2020 Recipients: Olivia Mills and Myah Sarwar
  • The Lila Berkovich Achuff Memorial Scholarship
    • 2019-2020 Recipient: Cassandra Roberts

Donations received would increase the amount of funds awarded to students each year. Contact the WCU Foundation at 610-436-2868 for more information or mail a check to:

WCU Foundation
Dance Program Endowment Fund
P.O. Box 541
West Chester, PA 19381

Please include Dance Program Endowment Fund 2475-852 on the memo line.