Dance Majors Jewel Cameron and Analise LaRiviere to Perform in Capstone Recitals


Analise LaRiviere

College fourth-years Analise LaRiviere and Jewel Cameron will perform in their joint capstone dance recital March 11–12.

On March 11 and 12, fourth-year Dance majors Jewel Cameron and Analise LaRiviere will perform their capstone dance recitals in Warner Main Space. LaRiviere’s piece is titled Au Milieu and Cameron’s, Dance Stories. While the performances are the culmination of LaRiviere and Cameron’s dance careers at Oberlin, both performers also hope to communicate their love and dedication to the College’s Dance department. 

A labor of love that has taken months of preparation, the show is being put on with the help of a grant from XARTS, an Oberlin fund created to support the development and execution of collaborative, multi-disciplinary artistic projects. When asked about their preparative creative processes, LaRiviere and Cameron discussed the vital transformation of their choreographic skills.

“This is very different from other shows because it’s not as much sitting back as it can be with other departments’ shows with a lot of shorter dances all by different people,” Cameron said. “This is almost an hour of my own choreography, which is like nothing I’ve ever done before. So it was a little bit daunting. But it was a wonderful experience. I feel like I learned a lot.”

Both Cameron and LaRiviere used experimental ideas to help form their final outcome. While LaRiviere prefers to showcase her work in non-trditional spaces, she highlighted the sentimental aspect of showcasing her capstone project in Warner Main Space.

“I’ve always been interested in site-specific dance, which is dance that happens outside of a regular stage theater,” LaRiviere said. “But in my heart of hearts, I knew that I needed to dance my senior show in Main Space, which is just such a gorgeous, beautiful space that holds such a place in my heart.”

LaRiviere chose to create an installation for her performance. A series of decorated cloth-like pieces will be draped around the stage for the duration of her performance, transforming the traditional stage in Warner into an otherworldly space. 

“I was craving a new and interesting space to create and move in,” LaRiviere said. “The installation mainly consists of large sheets of cheesecloth that are 40-50 feet long. It also includes two films that I made over Winter Term. One was an installation in a hallway in the basement of Warner called ‘Stuck.’ The other is called ‘Masked Play.’ I made the installation using chairs and partner dance work. It’s very much an interdisciplinary show of movement, art, film, and projection.”

Cameron’s performance will combine her two passions: dance and psychology. In the last few months, she conducted a department-wide survey, the results of which inform the structure and narrative of her piece. 

“First, I conducted a campus-wide dance survey of the entire Oberlin dance community,” Cameron said. “I collected about 60 responses, which I think was the final number. And there were eight open-ended questions all pertaining to dance. From those written words that people sent me, I created the almost 40-minute-long show that we’re putting on this weekend.”

Although Cameron and LaRiviere will be showcasing their pieces for the same event, the performances differ greatly from each other. 

“The shows are completely opposite aesthetically,” La Riviere said. “Jewel’s is 100 percent on a different page than my show. But I think it’ll be really fun for the audience to be able to see two such different but engaging pieces.” 

In reflecting on the ethos of the Dance department, LaRiviere noted that the faculty prioritizes student choreography.

“The department really pushes student creation,” LaRiviere said. “I feel like every year that I get older, I get more and more courage and knowledge and experience to create my own work. It feels very supported by the department.” 

Associate Professor of Dance Alysia Ramos described the Dance department as a non-prescriptive, open environment where students are encouraged to design their own paths. 

“I was really interested in teaching dance in a liberal arts environment, rather than a conservatory,” Ramos said. “I am really interested in students who do interdisciplinary work or who have other interests outside of dance, too.”

Ramos’ statement highlights the life-blood of Oberlin’s Dance department, as it primarily serves students who do not commit to a major. In fact, there are currently only a handful of Dance majors in the department. However, many students who dabble in the Dance department regard their experience as one of the most memorable throughout their college career.

“There’s a lot of people who end up accidentally minoring in the Dance department because it’s really easy to pick up a dance minor,” LaRiviere said. “One of my friends had taken samba, hip hop, ballet, and contemporary twice and ended up with a minor just because she kind of fell backwards into the Dance department and had never really taken a dance class before coming here.”

For LaRiviere and Cameron, majoring in Dance was always the plan, though both are multi-disciplinary students. LaRiviere shares her major with Biochemistry and Cameron with Psychology, a shining example of the Dance department’s interdisciplinary principles. 

Au Milieu and Dance Stories are set to begin at 8 p.m this Friday and Saturday. They are sure to be a beautiful and original showcasing of the hard work and passion that runs throughout Oberlin’s Dance department.