Assistant Professor of Dance Olivia Sabee Receives Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant

Melissa Lineburg and Hanna Joo '16

Melissa Lineburg and Hannah Joo '16 in The Kind of Thing That Would Happen, choreographed by Assistant Professor of Dance Olivia Sabee. Photo by Sasha Fornari.

The recipient of a prestigious grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Assistant Professor of Dance Olivia Sabee will stage a Swarthmore-centric production in April on campus and in Washington, D.C.

Sabee’s production, The Wedding Guest, is one of 71 projects recognized by the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Project Stream this year. It will be previewed at Swarthmore on April 22 and performed at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage on April 27.

“I'm excited and honored to be chosen among this pool of Pennsylvania artists,” says Sabee, also interim director of dance. “This is the first time I’ve worked on a really detailed narrative, so it is an exciting challenge.”

Helping her rise to it are Swarthmore faculty, students, and alumni. Among them is Daniel Underhill Professor of Music and Chair Thomas Whitman ’82, who composed the score, which will be performed by recent alumni, and theater artist Tara Webb ’94, who is designing the costumes.

The cast of The Wedding Guest brings together members of Agora Dance, a Washington, D.C.,-based contemporary dance company Sabee directs, with Swarthmore students.

“It has been really rewarding to work with students on this piece — learning from what they each bring to the rehearsal studio and watching them grow as they push through particularly athletic or quick sections of choreography,” says Sabee.

“I'm really looking forward to our joint rehearsals with the company later this semester, which will be an exciting opportunity for the students to move alongside professional dancers,” she adds. “And I’m thrilled for our students to have the opportunity to perform alongside the company at the Kennedy Center.”

The performance will also feature a premiere by Tarik O’Meally and an all-new 3 Minutes Max — a piece for which Sabee received Project Stream support last year — curated and contributed to by an array of theater artists. 

“This interest in accessibility really aligns with Agora’s goals and mission,” she says, “and we’re especially excited to perform in a venue that shares these interests.”

 

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