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Dance Graduate Research Symposium 

November 2, 2022 - 12:30pm
audience members wave their arms and wiggle their bodies as part of graduate symposium lecture.

Join the University of Washington Department of Dance to hear research presentations by second year MFA candidates in dance. This event is free and open to all UW and Seattle community members! Presentations will include:

Hip Hop Dance: A Multi-Referential Label with Controversial Considerations
Gary Champi, MFA Candidate UW Department of Dance

Party Environments and the Development of the Hustle: How Dance Party Spaces Foster Creativity and Community Connection Past and Present
Abdiel Jacobsen, MFA Candidate UW Department of Dance

Unlocking Creativity: Community Engaged Dance & Storytelling for Senior Adults
Jenn Pray, MFA Candidate UW Department of Dance

About the Grad Students

Gary Champi is a dance artist originally from San Diego, CA. He performs between New York and Seattle, drawing on experience with a variety of choreographers, touring nationally and abroad. As an educator, he teaches commercial dance and contemporary modern at the University of Washington, and has taught master classes and workshops for various institutions throughout the country. As a choreographer, Gary has presented work at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club (NY), Base Experimental Arts+Space (WA), On the Boards (WA), and Seattle Theater Group. He currently has projects with Men in Dance (WA), sjDANCEco (CA), and Chamber Dance Company (WA). He is authorized to teach Cunningham Technique® by the Merce Cunningham Trust (MCT) and also has experience restaging dance choreography. Gary worked in many capacities for MCT from 2011-2020, holds a degree in Cognitive Science from Stanford University, and is an MFA candidate at UW.

Jenn Pray is a dance artist whose career includes choreography, community engaged performance, and international touring of solo and ensemble work. Originally from central Iowa, Jenn holds a B.A. with a double major in dance and international studies from the University of Iowa. Based in Minneapolis for nine years, from 2017-2021 Jenn toured nationally as a company artist with Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater. Additional performance credits include Threads Dance Project, STRONGmovement, Live Action Set, Ballet Minnesota and works by Camille A. Brown, Shapiro & Smith, Joe Goode, Martha Clarke, José Limón, Leyya Tawil and James Sewell. Jenn’s choreography is a blend of dynamic movement, theater and social commentary. Her performance works have been presented by Tanzwerkstatt Europa in Munich, the Henny Jurriëns Stichting in Amsterdam and the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. Commissions include Threads Dance Project, Iowa Dance Theatre, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, and the Phipps Dance Company. A passionate educator, Jenn has taught yoga and dance for over twelve years.

Abdiel Jacobsen, is former Principal Dancer of the Martha Graham Dance Company and has performed in works by Nacho Duato, Robert Wilson, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Sonya Tayeh, Luca Veggetti, Andonis Foniadakis, Michelle Dorrance, Larry Keigwin, Doug Varone, Richard Move, and more. They have been a guest artist with the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Buglisi Dance Theater, and Cecilia Marta Dance Company. In 2019, Abdiel and their dance partner Kristine made history becoming the world’s first professional “male-female” ballroom couple to compete as Gender Neutral in DanceSport (mainstream ballroom competition) swapping roles of lead and follow equally in all five dances of the American Rhythm division. They have been teaching their gender neutral approach to partner touch dance at The Juilliard School, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of California Irvine, and more. Abdiel is currently a Fulbright Specialist with the US Department of State's Office of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Global Learning, with a 3-year tenure. Abdiel is an avid Hustle dancer and is dedicated and committed to the cultural preservation of the roots of New York Hustle dance and the expansion of its creative expression. They are currently directing a feature documentary on the history of Hustle called 6 Step Story. Their greatest passion is igniting and uniting all people through social dance as a form of collective healing, transformation, and celebration.