Freshworks Fuses Movement and Powerful Themes

The 2024 DTG dance concert.

Photo by A. Pierce Bounds '71.

Dance concert showcases dynamic capstone works 

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Powerfully emotional works propel this spring’s Freshworks dance concert, which features compelling choreography rooted in universally relatable themes. Opening Friday, April 19, at Mathers Theatre and continuing through Sunday, April 21, Freshworks: An Evening of Student Choreography spotlights new works by students studying advanced choreography, performed by the student-led Dance Theatre Group. Students studying theatre design create lighting and costumes for each work.

This spring, student choreographers Caroline Hollander ’26 (educational studies, English), Chloe Moore ’24 (dance), Alethea Cladis ’25 (quantitative economics) and Emery Newton ’24 (dance) tap into concepts and experiences relating to friendship, beauty, time and isolation. The concert also features two senior projects diving deep into family legacies in distinct and affecting ways.

Empowering and personal

Chakra Sokhomsan's (dance) senior project, Beyond Courage, conveys family stories of life before and during the Khmer Rouge civil war in Cambodia (1975-79). Through it, he shines light on how his family members escaped their homeland and on the war’s lasting imprints on his family and on his identity and lived experiences.

“Being able to share my family’s story is truly liberating,” Sokhomsan says, noting that both the effects of generational trauma and the triumph of resilience are baked into the work.

Sophia Acquista ’24 (dance and political science) captures the love, work and dedication it takes to establish and run a successful family business. Her capstone work, The Daily Grind, is named after her family’s restaurant in western-Massachusetts, in operation for 27 years.

Through dance, Acquista demonstrates that family businesses are typically all-family affairs, as children often spend a good deal of time at their parents’ business and contribute to the family economy as a way of life. Consequently, often, children of business owners feel a sense of pride and ownership in the business they may one day lead. (Or, as Acquista explains it, “My senior project is all about my restaurant and my life.”)

Diverse inspirations

Works like these exemplify the "marriage of interdisciplinary learning and creativity,” says Director of Dance Sarah Skaggs, because they draw from and connect diverse influences in articulate and original ways.

For example, as Sokhomsan reveals both a major moment in world and national history as well as a subjective experience of it, he also crosses artistic boundaries, incorporating ceramic vessels crafted through an independent-study course in ceramics and performance art. Sokhomsan’s choreography also portrays his Cambodian-American identity by combining elements of Cambodian classical ballet with modern dance.

“You’ll get to see a pretty unique fusion of styles and techniques,” says Sokhomsan, who’s been studying Cambodian ballet for a decade and began training in modern dance and ballet during his first year at Dickinson. “I have always wanted to bring my training in Cambodian ballet to Dickinson and this opportunity has allowed me to do exactly that.”

The 2024 Freshworks concert runs Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20, at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, April 21 at 2 p.m. in Mathers Theatre. Tickets, reserved by donation, start at $5.


Published April 18, 2024