Arts & Culture

UK Theatre and Dance to Present 'Materialized: In the Arboretum' April 15-16

Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 13, 2022) — The University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance will present “Materialized: in the Arboretum,” at 6 p.m. Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16, at The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky. 

“Materialized: in the Arboretum” is a site-specific concert, in which the venue is intrinsic to the work. There are eight student choreographed dances and one faculty work. Among the incredible sites at The Arboretum, dances will be performed in Shawnee Hills, the horticulture gardens and displays, and in front of the visitor center. The audience will move from location to location. Topics include climate change, Greek mythology, the environment and gratitude for the land and ecosystems. The dancers are thrilled to share with communities in new spaces and to present new choreography based on location. 

“Every new dance event the UK Department of Theatre and Dance creates is an exciting and gratifying innovative journey,” said Susie Thiel, director of the dance program. “We are proud to partner with The Arboretum State Botanical Garden of Kentucky to produce a site-specific performance that highlights the Arboretum landscapes and Kentucky's native ecosystems.” 

The student dancers include:

Sylvannah Regalado, a senior dance and pre-pharmacy major. This is her third time choreographing for the annual “Materialized” concert. Her newest creation, "Displaced,” is a collaborative work regarding the challenges of adapting and adjusting to a new environment. It is inspired by the diverse plants from all around the world that have made their way to Lexington. The work centers around the process of moving from one location to a completely different one, incorporating all the emotions that can arise from it.  

Kate Walker, a sophomore dance major with a minor in interdisciplinary arts. Her work, “Layering Time,” is a movement exploration informed by the Shawnee Hills region of Kentucky. The beautiful sandstone boulders in The Arboretum are the inspiration for movement that mimics the rolling, stacking and tipping of natural material. “Layering Time,” much like the formation of sandstone, developed with generous time, and the layering of contents compressed into a unique composition with a lifecycle of its own.  

Jasmine Singer, a freshman dance major, has created “Persephone." The work follows the loving relationship of the Greek goddess of spring, Persephone, and her mother, Demeter, the goddess of the harvest. As Persephone brings about the spring season, the flower nymphs joyously celebrate the rebirth of the earth.

Willow Rose, a senior dance major. Her performance, “Life In The Rough,” is about climate change and how it impacts Kentucky. Rose has abstracted mother nature and climate change to be personified. This demonstrates the dynamic between the two to be collaborative along with showing the power imbalance they share.

Mary Caite Briggs, a senior dance major, will present “Veraison.” This performance is inspired by the extensive process of growing, harvesting and crafting grapes into fine wines. From the three to five years it can take to cultivate a wine vineyard to different vineyard growth patterns, the choreography explores these ideas and more through dance and movement improvisation.  

Kelsey Hutchinson, a senior dance major, has created "Counterclockwise," a piece that brings awareness to the ways that time can either help or hinder one’s progress within themselves. This piece delves into the world of mental health and brings not only Kelsey’s own feelings, but her dancers’ and also simply human feelings, especially when living in the world we live in. 

Madi Moorhead, a junior, will perform "Right Where You Should Be." This dance is about taking a step back and realizing that you are exactly where you need to be at this moment. As a junior, Moorhead says she is always asked about her future, which can be stressful to think about as she is unclear about her path after graduation. This work is a reminder that you are doing fine, and you should focus on the present. The open field represents her stress-free youth. “Right Where You Should Be” connects deeply with her and she hopes everyone can grab a little peace from this performance in a way they need. 

Haley Shaver, a sophomore, has choreographed "Blossoming," with her dancers to the song “Warm Glow” by Hippo Campus. This site-specific work embodies the spirit of blossoming into one’s own and defining the meaning of individuality within the bounds of one’s community.   

The faculty presenter will be Halie Bahr, lecturer in dance. She will present a new dance “Myself Through You,” created in collaboration with nine students. She is inspired by the way public parks organically craft a visitor’s experience — sidewalks change where we physically walk in space, pathways open to large fields that allow us to disburse, benches are places to rest or contemplate. “Myself Through You” is an immersive dance that weaves the audience members through it, just like the way trail would weave a visitor through the park on their morning jog.  

View a digital program here.

Performances of “Materialized: In the Arboretum” run April 15 and 16 at 6 p.m. Rain dates are April 21 and 22 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 available through the Singletary Center for the Arts ticket office,, 859-257-4929. Once tickets are purchased, audience members will receive meet-up details. 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.