SUU Dance Takes Center Stage in the Big Apple

Published: January 29, 2024 | Author: Kol Gibson | Read Time: 4 minutes

Elley White performing Ofliminal Noise, choreographed by Danielle Lydia Sheater. Photo by Asher Swan.

Southern Utah University’s Department of Theatre, Dance, & Arts Administration (TDAA) proudly announces that the innovative choreographic talents of Dance Professor Danielle Lydia Sheather and senior Dance major Taylor Tumminia will be showcased at the esteemed SoloDuo Dance Festival presented by WHITE WAVE DANCE on February 9, 2024 at Dixon Place in New York City. Sheather and Tumminia are two of only 30 dancemakers from around the globe selected by a panel of distinguished presenters and dance artists. The Cedar City and SUU communities are invited to attend a special Dress Rehearsal performance of their pieces which will take place on February 2, 2024 at 6:15 p.m. in SUU’s Multipurpose Center, room 116A. This performance is free and open to all.

The SoloDuo Dance Festival presented by WHITE WAVE DANCE was founded in 2016 by WHITE WAVE’s Artistic Director Young Soon Kim to discover and nurture young talent. The Festival creates opportunities for emerging and mid-career choreographers to display their work and offer vivid experiences for audiences. The Festival’s venue, Dixon Place, is a one-of-a-kind, intimate venue that perfectly showcases the artistic elements of solo and duet performances.

Danielle Lydia Sheather Headshot. Photo by Alan Vincent.“I am a huge advocate for mentoring and developing students’ portfolios and the network of individuals they can interact with in order to receive support throughout their dance careers,” says Professor Sheather. “WHITE WAVE’s SoloDuo Dance Festival is one of those avenues to support students outside of the larger context of the education they receive at SUU. This helps them contemplate and clarify their visions along the way and throughout their time in college.”

Danielle’s piece entitled “I Knew a Man” will be performed by Taylor Tumminia, but it was originally choreographed with former SUU Dance professor and associate chair, Nick Blaylock who performed it at SUU’s inaugural Juneteenth Celebration in 2021. Revisiting this repertoire has allowed Sheather to reevaluate her work and consider changes or ideas that could not have been possible in its first iteration because of the life experiences she has gained since then. Danielle shares, “Working through the ideas, the context, and the story for an entirely new body is pure bliss. [Adapting] is the most thrilling part of dance because it changes, it evolves, and it lives!”

Taylor Tumminia Headshot. Photo by Asher Swan.“I Knew a Man” has called to Tumminia since she witnessed its original performance. She shares, “Learning this solo has challenged me physically, considering this movement was not originally choreographed for my body, and emotionally, as I work to realize and understand the story being told. I feel so honored to work with Danielle in this capacity and taking it to New York is an absolute dream.”

Taylor’s piece “Departing” will be performed by fellow Dance major Elley White. It originally premiered in an interdisciplinary collaboration with SUU Music in April 2023 called “Bloom.” This work requires Elley to perform with a live saxophonist (Sam Ryder), but rather than playing from a pre-planned score, the music is improvised based on Taylor’s choreography. “[This piece] took Elley’s level of performance and my level of choreography to a whole new level,” says Tumminia. “It gave us the chance to investigate our inner artistry and revealed unique discoveries about ourselves, our dancing, and instantaneous creative collaboration.”

Elley White Headshot. Photo by Asher Swan.“‘Departing’ has a very special place in our hearts because we were able to artistically expand in the process of learning and rehearsing,” Elley says. “Taking this solo to New York City will be an amazing chance to explore new possibilities, collaborate with a new musician, and share different ideas we could otherwise never explore.”

This venture marks not just a performance, but an exploration of the ever-evolving and dynamic nature of dance, resonating with the essence that dance changes, evolves, and lives. Please join us in celebrating the prowess and boundless creativity of these artists at the special Dress Rehearsal of their pieces on February 2, 2024 at 6:15 p.m. in SUU’s Multipurpose Center, room 116–a free event for all.


About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 41 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, filmmaking, music, and theatre as well as the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA). It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM). More than 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 900 majors in the College. CPVA presents over 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Center for Shakespeare Studies. Southern Utah University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) making SUU the first public university in the state of Utah to be accredited by all four associations. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, visit

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Kol Gibson