Dance Faculty Member and Students Collaborate on Work for Philly Fringe
Piper Rolfes ’24 and Kuankuan Hu ’25 will be performing in Glitter Baby, a work by Tammy Carrasco, the interim director of Bryn Mawr’s Dance Program. In addition to choreographing and conceptualizing the work, Carrasco will also join in the performance.
Glitter Baby is being presented as part of the Cannonball Festival, which is part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Performances happen on Sept. 20 at 6:45 p.m. and Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. at the Icebox Project Space, at 1400 N. American Street in Philadelphia. It is part of a split bill with Aura, a work by Britt Fishel, who also teaches at Bryn Mawr. For more information on Glitter Baby, visit tammycarrasco.org.
Rolfes, who is from the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, and Hu, from Beijing, China, are both majoring in dance through the independent major option and took Modern Ensemble with Carrasco in the spring of 2023.
The pair performed together in the Spring Concert with Philadelphia-area dancers Chloe Marie and Kate Seethaler in what would evolve into Glitter Baby.
“It was Director of Dance Lela Aisha Jones' concept last semester to invite professional dancers from Philadelphia into a creative process with students. And because of that, this piece has been able to evolve into bringing the students now to a professional context for a performance nearly nine months later,” explains Carrasco. “I decided to lengthen the dance into a 25-minute work, perform in it myself, and maintain the original mix of dancers.”
In promotional materials, Carrasco describes Glitter Baby as:
“A microcosm in which meandering dreamscapes, queer motherhood, and subtle spectacle collide and collapse into one another. This work explores the profound wisdom and meaning-making of our subconscious, where motherhood is posited as a cradling of our own inner child. This maternal holding is framed by unbridled curiosity, queer paradigms, and collaged meaning. From within a metaphysical realm of dreamed abstraction and non-sequiturs, Glitter Baby roots us in the Now through the immediacy and excitement of the physical body. Athleticism and spontaneity bring viewers into the present while showered with a quilt of text and movement, all in the presence of a glistening disco ball.”
Rofles, who is also doing an independent major in disability studies and minoring in education, took dance classes and performed in middle school and high school but came to Bryn Mawr not expecting to major in dance.
“The Bryn Mawr dance program was a very supportive and approachable community where I quickly realized I wanted to devote more of my time and energy,” says Rolfes. “Working on Glitter Baby and being involved in the ensemble with Tammy and the other artists has been a wonderful addition to my time with Bryn Mawr Dance.”
Hu is double majoring in biology and started learning traditional Chinese dance at a young age but currently focuses more on modern/contemporary dance.
“I particularly appreciate Bryn Mawr Dance Program's emphasis on students' individualities,” says Hu. “I have witnessed (and participated in some parts of) the production of dance senior thesis projects. Each of them is distinctive and reflects the unique background and perspectives of their creators.”
The curricular work for Rolfes, Hu, and Carrasco continues this semester, as they invite new Tri-Co dancers into the creative process, re-imagine the piece, and continue to work with Philly dance professionals in a curated workshop at Fidget Space, in Philadelphia in preparation for Bryn Mawr’s next Spring Concert, April 26-27, McPherson Theater. The Fidget Space dance workshop is generously funded by the Tri-Co Philly Engagement Grant.