Sam is a Charlotte-based arts marketer and freelance dance artist. In 2017, she graduated magna cum laude from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a BSBA in Marketing and a BA in Dance with a concentration in Performance, Choreography & Theory. She’s performed prestigious works by Martha Graham and Paul Taylor and performed on renowned stages such as the Joyce Theater in NY and the Knight Theater in NC. She's spent summers training in Italy, Key West, and in New York at Martha Graham Contemporary Dance on full scholarship. In 2015, she conducted undergraduate research to reconstruct a lost 1962 work entitled Tracer for choreographer, Paul Taylor, presenting at five undergraduate symposiums and performing in the work, which was added to the company repertoire. Sam is the marketing manager for Charlotte Ballet and a freelance designer working with local, emerging companies. She is currently working on dance projects with choreographers Megan Payne and Sarah Council.
As a dance artist, I value the intellectual study of theory and scholarship, the channel of training to performance, and the exploration of kinesthetic energy and the creative voice. But, most significantly, I value how dance can enhance our society. I am passionate not only in being the performer, but in supporting dancers and what they contribute to our world. I believe the exposure of art and dance, followed then by its acceptance and the experiences that resonate with the viewer, can positively impact the way in which we live. I believe the art of dance is the most truly human experience an individual can partake in and that movement is the purest form of communication that all people, regardless of their differences, can understand.
I am interested in exploring the connection between art making and technology. As a performance art, dance is ephemeral in nature, experiencing it only in the present moment. In our technologically dependent society, craving instant entertainment, I want to create an avenue to expose everyone to dance if they are unable or unwilling to get to a local theatre. Current technology gives dancers a new possibility to share their artistry; however, they can’t make an impact if their inspiration has no reach. By studying both dance and marketing as an undergraduate, I plan to combine the two disciplines to investigate how video dance can be used as promotional content for dancers and dance companies. Through my art making, I hope to challenge the notion on how dance can reach the public.
As a dance artist, I am interested in choreographic works that create an environment of shared identity between the audience and performer through the presented experience. I am intrigued by works that explore current or past social movements, the depth of psychological relationships between people or ideas, and concepts that are relatable to life experiences. I value works that require the performer to be so present that audiences can’t help but be engaged in that moment, and are left questioning what they just participated in.
In the beginning stages of exploring my choreographic voice, the most important aspect of my dance making takes place in the process itself. I choreograph with the intent to create a physical embodiment of my personal reflections on certain concepts, emotions, or events. I am less concerned with displaying an easy to follow storyline and more interested in challenging audiences to find something they can relate to and question. I value working in an equal environment of dancer and choreographer, where dancers feel open to explore their own identity through assigned movements. Collaborating by adding individual visions allow a greater scope of connections to the piece. I am interested in exploring dancers’ kinesthetic energy and how it resonates in their movements. No moving body is the same, and an approach from one dancer will not always match that of another. I aim to capture the individuality of my dancers and focus on their strengths to convey a work’s meaning. My process begins with finding a topic and investigating the ideas it encompasses. I utilize choreographic tools, scores and improvisation to generate movement, and then try different approaches to manipulate these phrases. As I explore further in my dance making, I hope to investigate more unique movement and pass current boundaries in how I create.
I am interested in sharing my choreography through digital media to challenge the notion on how art can reach the public. I choreograph to bring awareness to certain concepts, for audiences to appreciate the beauty of what the human body is capable of and for viewers to realize humanity can be brought together through the commonality of movement. My ultimate goal in my choreography is for the audience and dancers to experience this humanness, and connect further with each other and reflect deeper within themselves.
2013 - 2017 | University of North Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
Ballet: Delia Neil, Gretchen Alterowitz,and Melissa Coyle
Modern: Kim Jones (Graham,) Rachel Tucker (Horton,) Ethan Emanuel Balcos, Rachel Barker (Release,) and Bianca Morgan (Umfundalai.)
Dance related studies: contemporary, hip-hop, Improvisation, Anatomy for Dancers, Choreography I/II, Vintage Jazz, Lighting Design, Production Practicum - Stage Lighting, Running Crew - lighting board operator
Guest Artists: Ruth Andrien, Taylor 2 Dance Company, Tim Glenn, April Berry, Denise Vale, Tadej Brdnik, Whitney Hunter, Ben Schultz, Anthony Javier Savoy, Rene Oliver, Pablo Francisco Ruvalcaba, Jennifer Archibald, Germal Barnes.
2007 - 2013 | Destiny Dance Institute, Wake Forest, NC
Styles: ballet (Ruth Leney-Midkiff, Hong Yang, Michael Doerner, Terry Lehmen,) pointe, contemporary, modern, lyrical, jazz, hip-hop, tap (Mark Goodman) and competition dance.
Intensives | Master Classes
Martha Graham Summer Intensive (July 2016): 2 weeks, level 2, full technique scholarship
NYC Field Studies (Spring 2015/16): Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Theatre, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance Company, Martha Graham Dance Company
Key West Modern Dance (July 2015): 1 week. Teachers from Shen Wei, Bill, T. Jones, and The Martha Graham Dance Company.
Martha Graham Summer Intensive (June 2015): 1 week, level 2American College Dance Association (March 2015): 1 week, variety of dance styles
Arkè Danza (July 2014): 3 week study abroad in Italy. Graham, Horton, Humphrey, Baroque.