Many undergraduate and graduate programs require completion of a thesis before graduation. After many years of taking countless credits, attending dozens of labs and writing paper after paper, each student gets his or her chance to exhibit what he or she has learned and show it off to the world. For the students in the master’s program for dance, “Unthreaded & Raveled” is this moment.
Lindsey Worley is one of the master’s of fine arts candidates who will present her thesis show as a segment of “Unthreaded & Raveled” on May 7 and 8. Her piece tells the story of a girl who is torn between two lovers. One is dangerous and adventurous, the other safe and secure, and each represents one half of the girl’s identity that she cannot choose between.
Her indecisiveness takes her on a physical and mental journey as she tries to decide between the two sides of herself that represented through these two romantic interests. Worley considers herself obsessed with fantasy and loves Disney fairy tales, so while on vacation in San Diego, she wrote this story with her thesis in mind.
“I’m trying to convey a whole narrative solely based on movement,” Worley said. “There’s no spoken words. There’s gestures and acting, but the main focus is how am I going to tell a story with my movement.”
Worley began working on her thesis at the start of the fall 2015 semester and went through the arduous process of putting together a performance. Casting dancers, choosing music, choreographing the show, planning costume and set design and helping with the logistics of the show are some of the things Worley did over the past year for her thesis.
The work may have begun early last fall, but Worley said the project has been in the back of her mind since her first day in the program.
“It’s this massive representation of you … and says so much about you as a choreographer and a person,” she said.
She explained that she wanted her piece to be more upbeat and to show off her love of fantasy because she feels that is something everyone knows her for.
The piece, titled “The Girl,” features 20 dancers who perform various dance styles, depending on the evolving story line. These styles include modern, jazz and lyrical, among others. With about a month left before opening night, Worley said one of the most challenging aspects of putting together her performance was getting her entire cast present for a rehearsal. At the beginning of the month, Worley had yet to have a single rehearsal with her full cast.
Worley is working on completing her master’s degree in dance so she can become a higher education dance professor, but there was a time when she didn’t believe she would be able to find a career in her field.
Worley was introduced to dance as a child by her mother, who went to school for dance, and her aunt, who owned a studio in California for 30 years. She continued to dance competitively throughout her childhood and teenage years, but when she began looking at college she didn’t imagine dance would be a viable area of study for her to pursue.
Her mother suggested she look into the dance program at University of California, Irvine, where Worley completed her undergraduate degree in dance. After graduating, Worley married her long-time boyfriend and began coaching a competition team at a studio she attended as a child.
“The studio life is pretty rough,” Worley said. “Being a young teacher and choreographer, you have a lot of parents who like things a certain way and I dealt with a lot of that.” After seven years of being a studio instructor, Worley decided that she wanted to teach at a higher level and be a college dance professor, so she went back to school to earn her master’s degree.
During these last few weeks before the final performance, Worley is putting the finishing touches on her dancers’ performances, running through dress rehearsals and making sure everything is in order.
After all her years of hard work, she is truly going all out for her thesis and is giving her all to ensure that her segment of “Unthreaded & Raveled” is her best work yet.
“Unthreaded & Raveled” will be performed on May 7 and 8 in the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre.
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