Professor Merián Soto is collaborating with South Korean Artist Jungwoong Kim in SaltSoul

Professor Merián Soto

Professor Merián Soto

Temple Dance Professor Merián Soto is collaborating with South Korean Artist Jungwoong Kim in SaltSoul, an exploration, through dance, voice, traditional music, and experimental video, of experiencing sudden loss of a loved one, and how art evokes human capacity to address tragedy.  It is inspired by three tragic events: the death of Jungwoong Kim’s father in an auto accident when he was 10, the 6 deaths and additional catastrophic injuries caused by the collapse of a Salvation Army store in Philadelphia in 2013, and the deaths of more than 300 people- most of them high school students on a school trip- when an overcrowded ferry capsized off the coast of Jungwoong’s native South Korea.

The piece merges traditional and improvisational movement and music, voice, and experimental video.  You can see photos  and videos of the public artistic explorations the artists have done on this topic leading up to this performance.

The performance begins outside Asian Arts Initiative in the Pearl Street corridor with an invocation that is free and open to the public. From there, ticketed audience members enter inside to move with the dancers and musicians among the centers three floors, through imagined environments evoked by sound, light, and video. Tickets can be purchased by clicking the link below.

Performance Details

Thursday – Saturday, Oct 6,7,8 at 8pm

At the Asian Arts Initiative

1219 Vine Street Philadelphia

Prices: $15-20


Bonding Through Improvisation

When I stepped into the room I didn’t know my professor. I barely knew anyone in the room.  It was the first full day of classes for my MFA program.  I had met a few of the dancers at orientation, where we had passed cursory greetings, but I wouldn’t have ventured to say that any of them were friends.  I was filled with anxious energy as so often happens during the first day of school.  My first day at Temple was a time full of opportunities but also with the unknown lurking in the shadows.  I was also nervous about the class because I was a novice at improv, or so I thought.  


Through that hour and a half, I’d come to realize that improv, when done with others, is form of communication and that my years of social dancing was the perfect preparation.  Even more importantly, I found real connection and friendship during my first class. Friendship wasn’t my express goal as I stepped into the classroom, but it was the most important aspect of the class for this San Francisco transplant.  
We meandered through Conwell Theater, freely exploring how our bodies move. I started timidly interacting and acknowledging other first year MFAs that I had met at orientation, but there was one girl standing in front of me that I did not know. She reached her hand out and I instinctively followed her movements. We clicked, we both moved with the same intensity and with a similar rhythm. I naturally trusted her until we were both throwing our full weight at each other like a fast and vigorous human seesaw.  It was magical to connect with someone so purely without the burden of words. It was then and there that I knew that I wanted to get to know her. Afterwards our conversation naturally flowed, but our bond had already been formed without words.  


-Alissa Elegant

1st Year M.F.A.

Sophomore: A Whole New Journey

Sophomore: A Whole New Journey

My freshman year at Temple was nothing short of awesome, inspiring, and devastating. I travelled 1,467 miles across the country and from the moment that I stepped on campus and took the Temple air in, I knew that I was home. I jumped in headfirst.

The great thing about being in a new unknown place is that there is nothing to lose. I left my past dance experiences in Texas and came in with an open mind; I auditioned for everything that I could, I volunteered when people were looking to cast their pieces and attended as many shows as possible. Looking back on my freshman year, it was awesome. I learned a lot about myself and gained a new appreciation for dance. Often, dance training before college places dance in this small, biased bubble. Coming to Temple helped me break this bubble and opened my eyes to a much bigger and more diverse dance world than I ever imagined.Unfortunately, in the midst of all of my excitement, I ended up injuring my knee. It was second semester right before finals and I was absolutely devastated. I wanted to take good care of my body but I did not want to withdraw at the end of the year. With a bit of professional medical attention (and plenty of R.I.C.E.) I was lucky enough to complete my final dance exams. However, when summer came I had to quit cold turkey.

I spent my summer interning in my second major’s field and working closely with my physical therapist to get stronger. My goal was to come back to Temple and work harder than the year before.

Now, it is September and it is a few days into the semester. My body is in shock due to the fact that I wasn’t allowed to dance much over the summer. Even through the aches and pain in my hamstrings, I feel great. My main focus this year is to maintain a healthy body, improve accuracy in my movement, and to choreograph.

The 2015-2016 school year was about stepping out of my comfort zone, but this year is all about eliminating my comfort zone and encouraging others to do the same.


-Lexie Hairston

Second Year B.F.A.



Temple Dance Participates in Sustainability Week

Last week, Temple Dance Department participated in Sustainability Week, Climate, Sustainability & the Arts video festival.

The festival opened Monday April 11 in the Science Education and Research building with Program 1, exhibited on the giant SERC Video Wall.

Program 1 included Professor Merián Soto’s One Year Wissahickon Park Project: Summer, which documents the summer cycle of the award-winning year-long project of 16 branch dance performances in Wissahickon Valley Park in 2007-08.

Te program also featured Professor Peter d’Agostino’s World-Wide-Walks / between earth & water / ICE, and Prof. Michael Kuetemeyer’s Spilled Light.

Program 2 also took place on April 11 in Annenberg Hall 14,  2020 N. 13th Street. It included Temple Water Dances, a compilation of student dance and video works created and presented in celebration of World Water Day (2015-16). Temple Water Dances included excerpts of works by BFA, MFA and PhD students Kristen Bashore, Bonita Bell, Long Cheng, Leslie Cornish, Morgaine DeLeonardis, Angeline Digiugno, Marina DiLoreto, Amanda DiLudovico, Jessica Halko, David Heller, Kaylie McCrudden, Tyler Ross, Blythe Smith, Angelica Spilis, and Muyu Yuan.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 4.12.14 PM (1)

Pictured: MFA student Muyu Yuan in Temple Water Dances


Also on the program was Fishing for the Future, by Dede Maitre, and Superfundland, by  Daniel Kurtz, Christina Betz, John Tarquinio, Jesse Roehrer

-Merián Soto, Professor

ACDA Experience

Ever since I found out about ACDA when I was a freshman in college, it was a personal goal to be accepted to attend the festival. Year after year, I was in works that were submitted but ultimately, not chosen. Finally, my senior year I was able to attend and I was pumped!
For those who don’t know, ACDA (American College Dance Association) is an organization geared towards supporting dance in higher education through providing national programs that provide a variety of classes, performance opportunities, lecture series, and networking events. Temple is a part of the Northeast Regional Conference which was held in SUNY-Brockport this year. The trek was long, but the studios were beautiful!!
The range and amount of classes provided offered variety and flexibility which was a nice change from regular, semester long classes. Some of the classes I took included partner stretch, intermediate ballet, choreographic voice and social justice, an ADF Audition class, Jamaican Dance Hall, modern dance with one of the graduate students who presented work, and advanced contemporary modern dance taught by one of the adjudicators- Ruben Graciani.
As a transfer student, I understood the differences in course structure within different dance departments at colleges and universities. From the hotel room, to classes on campus and attending the adjudication concerts, ACDA was a wonderful experience to network with other dancers in the northeast region and learn about their program and previous training.
If I had to choose my favorite aspect of the program, I would choose the final Gala performance. The three adjudicators chose the top 10 pieces out of all 5 previous concerts based on composition, musicality, aesthetic design, etc. The diversity of movement style and theme celebrated just how powerful, eclectic, and connected the art form of dance is to society. The audience was incredibly supportive of each piece which created an amazing atmosphere. At the end of the day, everyone at ACDA chose to major in dance to share our passion for movement performance and its connection to community which was reiterated in the Gala performance.
-Katie Moore
Senior, B.F.A Dance, Business Minor
Photo by Jonathan Gene

D2D: Dare to Dance Hosts Prelude Philadelphia 2016

This past Sunday, D2D: Dare to Dance, Temple University’s dance company, hosted Prelude, an urban dance competition and dance battle that tours to cities across the country to showcase regional dance groups and strengthen the dance community. The #90sandChill themed competition was filled with passion, artistry and fun.

The house was full at the Kurtz Center for the Arts at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia and radiated with positive energy. First in the competition was the dance battle, judged by Dinita “Princess Di” Clark, D2D’s co-founder Béa Martin, and Academy of Phresh’s leader, “Smart Mark.” Dancers circled the battle with shouts and leaps of encouragement for both battlers, while family and friends joined in from the audience, giving the battle an inviting feel. The battle advanced to the top 8, top 4 and then top 2 against So You Think You Can Dance’s Virgil Gadson and Kidd. From razor-sharp angulations to arms being pulled out of the socket to back flips, ticks and clicks, these battles gave dancers the chance to express themselves as a dancer and a creator.

Next was the dance competition, which consisted of about nine dance groups from the north coast that performed various styles of hip-hop. The diverse range of ages, gender and body types in the competition were pleasing to see. The crowd favorite was a local group called Academy of Phresh, who performed an entertaining routine that involved headlamps, a “Straight Outta Philly” sign, and young dancers grooving for their life. The dancer’s raw movement brought out their personalities that beamed with a love of dance.

Last in the program to perform was D2D themselves. The crew raced onstage with smiles, laughter and energy, looking like they just walked out of a 90’s fashion magazine. The 90’s theme continued as D2D danced to a mash-up of throwback hits featuring artists like Busta Rhymes and Notorious BIG. D2D danced with synchronicity, heart and a genuine family connection. The classic songs got the crowd up on their feet dancing and spreading the love.

Danzel Thompson-Stout and Béa Martin founded D2D in 2012 at Temple University. Now, both Temple graduates and working artists in Philly, they continue to serve as a father and mother figure for the crew.

D2D members completely ran the competition. Frankie Markocki, a third year D2D member and dance major, worked as stage manager for the competition. Other members worked tirelessly on piecing together the competition, from contacting the teams, acquiring a theater, deciding the creative design, all while managing their own performances. The smiles that beamed on every D2D member’s face clearly displayed Prelude’s success.

D2D members and alumni have recently been certified in Umfundalai, traveled to Florida for an event called The Thesis, and are working dancers and choreographers in the field. The 29 current members study a range of fields from business to communications to dance. Béa Martin recently graduated with a degree in neuroscience.

D2D has also competed at Battle on Broad, where they won 1st place, and World of Dance.

Mark your calendars for April 22 and 23 at 7:30pm, when D2D will host their Third Annual Showcase titled “Undefined” at Conwell Dance Theater.

D2D hosted Prelude Philly 2016 with grace, organization and sheer fun. Their level of professionalism is unmatched by any school organization, and their accomplishments have reached far outside of just the Temple community and into the professional dance world. D2D’s intentions of spreading the joy of dance and the love for the arts were clearly reflected during Prelude.

Photo by Jonathan Gene


-Meghan McFerran

B.F.A. Dance

B.A. Journalism

Carols in Color 2014

Carols in Color 2014

This past weekend, I performed as a professional dancer for the first time in Eleone Dance Theatre’s Carols in Color. We danced at  The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Delaware. Going into the performance, I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous but incredibly excited to finally display all of the pieces we had been working on since September.

As our company arrived at the theater, we were taken down to the dressing rooms, where we each got our own chair and a mirror with twinkling lights around it. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach as I took in a moment that I had been dreaming about since I was a child. My own mirror! I felt like a movie star as I started to prepare for my performance.

Because I was playing the part of an angel, I was put into a beautiful, long white dress. Everyone looked more angelic than I imagined. We stretched and warmed up backstage and ran a few numbers on stage.
Finally, the house was full and it was time to perform. The special element about Carols in Color is that there is a live choir accompanying our dancing. We hadn’t rehearsed with the singers prior to the show, so hearing their amazing voices along with our costumes and dancing made the show a perfect dream. I became engulfed in the story we were portraying, and I really felt like I was part of the nativity scene.

At the end of the show, all of the dancers came onstage and the choir sang “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” as we swung our skirts to the famous Christmas tune. Tears welled up in my eyes as I looked out into the smiling, inspired audience and up at the shimmering lights shining down on me. I had completed my first show dancing professionally, and officially started my dancing career.

I am so blessed to be a part of the Eleone Dance family, and I cannot wait to continue performing for the rest of my life.


Meghan McFerran

2nd Year B.F.A. Dance, B.A. Journalism

Dancing Fools

fspaghetti“Dancing Fools”


Some people say that you can choose your own destiny. Others, that destiny is thrust upon us or chosen by some all encompassing factor. I’m not sure which I side with just yet, but I do know that I did not choose to become a dancer.

It most definitely was not a well thought out decision in which I weighed the pros and cons and decided that dance was the healthiest and most lucrative career choice for me. But I absolutely would not choose anything else.

I don’t think any dancer chooses purposefully and solely to dance. It is something that is inside of us from the very beginning and slowly, we uncover it and make it our own. It is an art form that we feel from the inside out and can express through our sweat, and let’s be honest, sometimes blood and tears, too… Actually, lots of blood and tears.

But if there is one thing we as dancers can all agree makes every bad rehearsal, every rejection, every emotionally exhausting day, every ache, pain, and bruise all worth it, is that feeling – you know the feeling – when you are sweating and hurt and tired, possibly with a face coated in foundation and dusted with shimmer, when you get it. And it is for you and only you, because only you know how much you need this.

I couldn’t survive without dance. I don’t know what else I would do with my life, but I do not choose to do anything else.


“We are fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.”


Kristen Renee Bashore

Sophomore Undergraduate

Dance major; Communication, Science, and Disorders minor


Kun-Yang Lin Dancers

As we head into the Holiday Season, I think of the many things for which I am grateful, including the opportunity to create new works through my company, Kun-Yang Lin Dancers.  Shortly after our performance at The Egg, an architecturally wondrous, 1,000-seat theatre in Albany, NY, KYL/D (which includes 3 Temple Dance alumni) began work on HOME, a new piece inspired by stories of the diverse residents of Southeast Philadelphia, where KYL/D’s research center is located.

Through HOME, we are working for the first time with methodologies adapted from the practices of the acclaimed Cornerstone Theater Company of LA.  Experimenting with new ways of creating, while inviting non-artist, immigrant members of our community to contribute to the creative process in ways that also are new to such folks — who typically are marginalized — is incredibly rewarding.  Over the next several months, KYL/D will be offering glimpses into our research through work-in-progress showings, including at the Temple Dance Faculty Concert in January.  There is nothing more exciting than creating and sharing works that spark conversations on timely issues and have the potential to foster new ways of seeing the world, and our relation to it.  That is what art is all about!

Kun-Yang Lin, Associate Professor

Articles and reviews of Union College residency and The Egg Performance: