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Welcoming Back Our Dance Alumni

Three dance company alumni return to NC State for residencies with the Panoramic Dance Project and the State Dance Company.

Panoramic Dance Project alumna Solteria Ross sets her piece, Our Light, on current members of the company.

The first week of the Spring 2024 semester was extra special for two academic dance companies in the Department of Performing Arts and Technology. Three dance company alumni returned to campus to help facilitate residencies with both the Panoramic Dance Project (PDP) and the State Dance Company.

Panoramic Dance Project

Solteria Ross spent five days setting a piece titled Our Light, an extended version of a piece she choreographed as a student at NC State, on the Panoramic Dance Project. Ross participated in PDP for four years before graduating in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and a minor in English and Women and Gender Studies. She currently lives in Chicago, Illinois working as a spacecraft systems engineer.

Returning to campus “feels like a Homecoming,” according to Ross. “To me, it is the ultimate form of giving back to a program that poured so much into me during my undergraduate career. It feels like a release to share my lived experiences through the movement and see it take shape on the incredible dancers,” she described. “It makes me emotional to have the capability and support to continue my love of dance through the NC State. I’m honored to teach and educate company members based on my experience in PDP and who I am as an artist now. I look forward to continuing to make dance a focal piece of my life.”

Solteria Ross, Aerospace Engineering ’22

Haley Curtis, another PDP alumna, served as Solteria’s rehearsal assistant for this residency. Curtis graduated from NC State in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Human Biology and a minor in Dance and Women and Gender Studies. She currently works at WakeMed Hospital while applying to Physician’s Assistant programs. She was thrilled to return for this residency.

“A part of this experience that surprised me is how teaching has provided me with a new outlook and motivation to continue having dance in my life. I know that I will be leaving here feeling inspired to create more in the future. I am so proud of these dancers and their willingness to push themselves to grow,” Curtis said.

Haley Curtis, Biological Sciences ’22

State Dance Company

Madison Johnson returned to the Carmichael dance studios for three-day residency with dancer Flannery Gregg of Monica Bill Barnes and Company, a New York-based company founded in 1997 whose mission is “bringing dance to where it doesn’t belong.”

As an undergraduate student, Johnson performed as a member of the State Dance Company before graduating in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She currently resides in New York City, working as a freelance dancer and production assistant. Johnson spent the weekend as Gregg’s rehearsal assistant, helping to set a piece on her former company. The piece is titled Many Happy Returns, which is described as “similar to a memory play but with dancing.”

“I am thrilled to return to my alma mater and share this experience with the dancers of the State Dance Company,” Johnson said about the experience. “I learned so much throughout my time as a student in the company, and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to continue learning and growing with them now as an alum.”

Madison Johnson, Psychology ’20

You can see Our Light at the Panoramic Dance Project Concert on March 21 and 22, and Many Happy Returns at the State Dance Company Concert on April 4 and 5.

Moments From the Residencies