CWU News

Grad student's thesis work, a dance requiem, premieres Wednesday

For graduate student Krista Connelly, Wednesday marks the culmination of a year's worth of work when her master's thesis Life, After premieres in McConnell Auditorium.

Connelly, a music composition major, is thrilled to see it all come together. "I'll be so relieved, too, when this is finished," she admitted. "It's been a long process, but very gratifying. I've learned so much."

Life, After is a dance requiem. The performance is a collaboration between music, dance, and theater. Connelly wrote the music over the summer, rehearsed and recorded during fall quarter, edited throughout December, and has since been working with Orchesis Dance Company and the theater department.

"It incorporates the idea of the requiem mass, which is from the Catholic tradition, as well as the ballet idiom into a sort of literature ballet and music combination," Connelly said. “It’s about how people deal with loss: mourn, grieve, and eventually come through."

Poetry is spoken over the music at certain points during the performance.

"It's kind of heavy, the first half," Connelly said. "The second half is more about how we come through it. There's life after loss."

Therese Young, director of dance at CWU, was on board from the start.

"As choreographers we always enjoy collaborating with other arts professionals," Young said. "So when Krista approached us about this project, I thought it was really exciting."

Young and dance lecturer Gabrielle McNeillie designed the choreography for Life, After.

"I think we teared up at times just choreographing it," Young said. "I don't think there's anyone who hasn't had some loss. And we all express things differently. It will be interesting as an audience person to look at how grief is expressed in different ways. It's very communal."

Life, After, featuring Orchesis Dance Company with music by Krista Connelly premieres at 7 p.m. March 16 in McConnell Auditorium. The performance is free.

 "I'm hoping that people have a really profound experience coming to this," Connelly said.

 Media contact: Barb Arnott, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-2841,

March 15, 2016