Friday, April 12, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.

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.



Faculty and Guest Artists

Gretchen PhotoGretchen-Studlien-Webb, faculty director

Gretchen Studlien-Webb, faculty director, 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 Dance 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). In the last year, her research has taken on a multi-disciplinary approach to include costuming and set materials created out of discarded trash. Studlien-Webb has performed and created work in Central Ohio and Greater Philadelphia areas.

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 arts movement on its 100th anniversary. The installation is currently under consideration at galleries and film festivals within the US. The site-specific dance film, The Camera Betrays You, which she co-conceived and directed with O'Maley, was selected and shown at the 2016 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. 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.

maria photomaria urrutia, faculty, choreographer

maria urrutia, faculty, choreographer, Cuban Born maria urrutia is a performer with Cardell Dance Theater, which is currently on an international and national tour. In addition to her performance work with Cardell Dance Theater Ms. urrutia performed with Guggenheim Fellow artist Reggie Wilson of Fist and Heel on the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage funded work Re-Placing Philadelphia, as well as continue to create solo performances that focus on her Latina self in America. These works including In Absence, Empty Moments and Contrast, which have been performed at the University of London in England, The Art Trust gallery in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Fringe Festival Topas Topios, Movement Research NYC and The Coral Gables Museum CMA Performance series in Miami, Florida. Ms urrutia holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College, an EdM from Temple University and a BFA in Dance from University of the Arts. Ms urrutia is a professor at West Chester University’s Department of Theater and Dance. Her scholarly work, which focuses on Cuban rumba, has been presented in London, Toronto, Montreal, Trondheim, Angers and Edinburgh.

Jon PhotoJon Degaetano, lighting designer

Jon DeGaetano, lighting designer, is a West Chester University Theatre and Dance alumnus currently finishing his MFA in Design for Theatre at Brooklyn College. He designs lighting, sets, and projections for theatre, dance, and installations, while occasionally devising, writing, and performing with a small collective. Recent credits include I Will Be Gone, Uncle Vanya by Annie Baker, Loves Labour’s Lost at Atlantic Theatre Stage 2 (set and lights). Upcoming work if then else with Brooklyn College Pima in May, Exhausted an original piece in Darkfest at The Tank. Jon spends all of his free time playing and learning with his one year old son Dax. He is really happy and grateful to be home with UDC.



Jenica PhotoJenica Narducci

Jenica Narducci, President, student choreographer, is an elementary and special education major. She has been dancing since she was three and has received training at Lionville School of Dance. She has been a part of the University Dance Company for eight semesters now. She is thrilled to be on the executive board this year and even more excited to take the stage for her final time with UDC! Jenica is extremely thankful for her family and friends who have supported her in continuing her dance career at West Chester University. - It takes a village.

Grace PhotoGrace Ten Broeck

Grace Ten Broeck, Vice-President, is a third-year psychology major with a minor in dance. This is her sixth semester performing with UDC. Grace is excited to continue serving on the executive board as she was the social chair last year. She has performed in Javier Padilla’s piece at the American College Dance Association Mid-Atlantic North regional conference, where it was selected for the gala concert. She has previously trained at Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts. Grace thanks her family and friends who have supported over the years in her love of dance.

DenNira PhotoDenNira Whitley

DenNira Whitley, Secretary, student choreographer, is a third-year business management major with a business law and dance minor. She has been a part of the University Dance Company for five 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. 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

Rachael photoRachael Murphy

Rachael Murphy, Treasurer, is a sophomore communications studies major. She has been dancing since she was three years old, and received training at McHenry Dance Center/Dain Dance Academy. She has been a part of the University Dance Company for four 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 treasurer, 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!

Zoe photoZoe Weiss

Zoe Weiss, Social Media/Historian, student choreographer, is a third-year psychology major. She has been a part of UDC for five semesters and has been allowed the opportunity to choreograph her second group piece this semester! Being on the executive board and having the opportunity to give back to UDC, as well as sharing her passion with other dancers has been a wonderful experience. Zoe is grateful for her family and friends who support her in her love of dance and would like to congratulate the cast on another amazing show

Kaylee photoKaylee Hall

Kaylee Hall, Social/Service Chair, is a fourth-year psychology major. She danced at Release Dance Academy in Levittown, PA, growing up. She is grateful for the opportunity to dance with UDC for another semester. Kaylee is also involved with the Abbe Society and is a Resident Assistant. She thanks her friends & family for their love and support.

Hannah PhotoHannah Boland

Hannah Boland, student choreographer, is a senior middle grades education major with math and dance minors, graduating in December. She grew up training at the Barn Studio of Dance in Souderton PA, where she now teaches. This is Hannah’s third-year dancing with UDC and third semester choreographing. Hannah also had the privilege of presenting her choreography at the 2019 American College Dance Association conference. She is grateful for all the opportunities that UDC and the dance faculty have given her during the past three years and also thanks her family and friends for supporting her passion of dance and encouraging her to follow it.

Ashley photoAshley Hillis

Ashley Hillis, student choreographer, is a sophomore in professional studies with a minor in dance and nutrition. This is her fourth semester performing with UDC. She has been dancing since she was two years old at The Dance Academy in Holland, PA. She has performed in several shows at The Academy of Music with the Pennsylvania Ballet. Ashley has made many dance appearances in commercials, TV shows, and films. She wishes to pursue dancing and choreographing after college. Ashley wants to thank all of her dance teachers, family, and friends for all of their support for the past 18 years.

Genevieve PhotoGenevieve Jacoby

Genevieve Jacoby, student choreographer, is a freshman political science major with a dance and law, politics, and society minor. This is her second semester in UDC and her first time co-choreographing. She began dancing at the age of two at Dance Arts then continued her studies with the Conservatory of Music and Dance. She would like to thank her friends and family for their endless support throughout her dance career.

Kourtney photoKourtney Kukowski

Kourtney Kukowski, student choreographer, is a junior mathematics major with a dance performance minor. This is her sixth semester performing with UDC. Kourtney is also a member of Students Promoting Excellence in Mathematics Education. She is very excited to present her choreography for her first group piece with UDC. Kourtney would like to thank Liz, Gretchen, and Maria for giving her a deeper appreciation for the art of dance, and for always assembling a great show. She would also like to thank her family for their constant love and support.

Olivia PhotoOlivia Mailey

Olivia Mailey, student choreographer, is a senior nutrition and dietetics major. She has been a part of UDC for six semesters during which she has choreographed three times. Recently, she was the featured dancer in River Pier’s “Who Am I” official music video. She was given the opportunity to dance under Nickerson-Rossi Dance, assist Brandon Bryant and Sasha Forde from So You Think You Can Dance, and be the choreography assistant for Cody Green’s Hollywood Dance Shoot. She teaches and choreographs at On Edge Movement, Angela Bates Dance Academy, and Chesco Dance Center.

Jessica PhotoJessica Powell

Jessica Powell, student choreographer, is a senior business management major with a minor in dance. This is her 8th semester as a member of the University Dance Company. For the past several years, she has performed in several dance festivals and productions locally and on the west coast. She has previously trained at Paul Klocke Studio of Dance, where she now teaches. She is delighted to be choreographing for the first time with UDC this semester. Special thanks to Gretchen, Maria, and Liz for this exciting opportunity. Jessica would also like to thank her family and friends for supporting and encouraging her passion for the arts.

Ruby photoRuby Rhoad

Ruby Rhoad, student choreographer, is a senior business management major with a minor in dance and minor in business GIS. This is her 8th and last, semester being a part of the University Dance Company. Ruby has danced in grade school at One Broadway Dance & Performing Arts Centre. Ruby is grateful to be able to communicate her thoughts and feelings of dancing on the stage. She is thankful to her friends and family for supporting her through each choice she makes as her college dance experience comes to a close.

Julia PhotoJulia Rizzo

Julia Rizzo, student choreographer, is a junior professional studies major in business, technical writing and dance. She grew up dancing at Kicks Academy of Dance in Glenn Mills, PA. This is Julia's third year in UDC and first 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.

Whitmire PhotoCJ Whitmire

CJ Whitmire, student choreographer, is a senior with a major in communication sciences and disorders and a minor in dance. He has been a part of University Dance Company for the past two years and has been a choreographer for the past 5 semesters. He hopes to continue is studies in dance after graduation, by pursuing an dance.

Katie photoKatie Coyle

Katie Coyle, Stage Manager, is a third year communications major with a minor in theatre. She started working with University Dance Company her freshman year. She is so excited to be stage managing her fifth production with UDC. She also serves as a Leadership Consultant with the WCU Office of Student Leadership & Involvement, and as a tutor at Coatesville Area Senior High School. She sends a big thank you to the cast and crew, you are beautiful as always!

Scholarship Donations

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

  • The Barbara J. Lappano '67, M'73 Dance Scholarship Fund
  • The Emerging Dance Minor Scholarship

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 2475-85
P.O. Box 541
West Chester, PA 19381

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