Pawasauskas, Jayne [faculty advisor, College of Pharmacy]




Ballroom, dance, choreography


I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn’t dancing. Since I was four, I’ve experimented with different styles, including ballet, tap, modern, and theater. Dancing to me has always been an art and a form of self-expression. In college, I started dancing Ballroom and Latin and fell in love with dancing all over again. For my Honors project, my goal was to try something that I hadn’t done before. I chose to create dances, to choreograph and perform ballroom dances with my peers.

The process of bringing dances to the stage started with doing selection and talking with other performers. The two styles chosen were the Viennese Waltz and Cha-Cha, because they are challenging, entertaining, and contrast each other. The next part was research, by watching videos online of professional dancers, which inspired many ideas. Then, I started stringing figures together in a way that would best fit the music, so that it would flow smoothly. After teaching my peers both songs, I worked on making them ready for a performance, by working out directions, fixing arm angles, and running though it until everyone was comfortable with the dance. There was also preparatory work for the shows, including music editing, costuming, and makeup. The performances were held early in December, at the URI Dance Company Winter Recital, and the URI Ballroom Dancing Club’s Winter Social dance. Both shows were filmed for the project.

The final product was the dances, but just as important were the lessons learned from the experience of choreographing. Some lessons can be taken anywhere, such as scheduling, teaching, and managing the stress that comes with a looming deadline. Bumps inevitably show up in the road, such as my dance partner developing mononucleosis halfway through the semester. Lessons were learned about flexibility with the choreography, and accepting that it will evolve on its own, and usually for the better. The dance might not have resembled its original intentions, yet when we look back, it was exactly the way it was meant to be.