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Senior Thesis Spotlight: Libby Nelson

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What sort of project are you doing for your thesis?

My thesis topic is dance and performance and how you can create movement from emotion and communicate that to the audience. It is two-fold, I have choreographed a contemporary ballet piece on five Carthage dancers. I am also performing a solo choreographed by Valerie Gonzalez, a guest artist for Vanishing Point. In addition, I am researching synesthesia and its effects on choreography and performing.

How does one use choreography to promote peace?

I think anyone can use any type of art form to promote peace. The piece I have choreographed for Vanishing Point tells the audience that we need to change for the better and stop the senseless acts of terror and violence that the world seems to have grown accustomed to. While the piece I have written for my thesis promotes peace, I think any piece can promote it. The great thing about dance and theater is that it can be an escape for the audience, to forget about the stresses of life and just enjoy what is happening on the stage. If an audience member walks away thinking about something they were not previously thinking about, I think that is good as well. Either case can help promote peace.

How do you get ideas for choreography?

Is there any sort of process involved? It varies for each piece I choreograph. I mostly draw my inspiration from the music I am using and come up with a concept from that. Other times, I will read a news story that inspires me.

Do you have synesthesia? How does it help you with choreography?

I recently discovered that I have synesthesia. I see colors in my head when I am choreographing a piece. To find the movement, I must dig into the color and flush it out. I have never known another way of choreographing. When I was 12 years old I would see colors in the space and not know what they meant.

Do you have a goal for this project beyond it simply being your thesis?

My goal coming into college was to become a versatile theater person and explore all aspects of it, I think that my thesis is helping me achieve that. I would also like to include my performance and choreography in my portfolio and website as something to show future employers. My goal after graduation is to become a professional dancer and ultimately become a Radio City Rockette in New York City. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!


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