MFA Student Spotlight: Sarah Levitt

The word community permeates Sarah Levitt’s teaching, research and service. Returning to graduate school after seven years as a member of Liz Lerman’s Dance Exchange, Levitt embraced the company’s commitment to “breaking boundaries between stage and audience, theater and community, movement and language, tradition and the unexplored -- through collaborations that advance how individuals and communities come together to reflect and create change in the world.”

Levitt  said, “My years with the company deeply influenced my own choreographic practices, and my belief in the power of socially engaged art. In my teaching practices, I really came to value dance's ability to develop engaged artists and citizens.”

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship at The Ohio State University funded Levitt’s year-long project, In Motion: Movement Classes for Adults Over 50, tailored to emphasize the positive physical and social benefits of dance. Complementing these classes was an Ohio State course called Community Dance Practices, described by BFA student Chloe Napoletano as “how best to enter an unfamiliar community such as a nursing home or recreational center and ethically create dance with the members of that community.”

Class member BFA Savannah Weatherington appreciated how this experience “truly showed me more than ever that every human being has the capacity to dance and create movement.”

Levitt’s MFA project in choreography focused on building relationships among the cast in the practice of coming together around a challenge. Completing impossible tasks was the aim, but the choreographic material was in the trying and failing. Presenting Full Will at Urban Arts Space, Levitt “loved how the intimacy of the space created a community among the dancers and the audience.”

Extending her service ethos to our departmental community, Levitt was the graduate student representative on both Graduate Studies Committee and the 2014-15 Search Committee. After spending this year recuperating from an ACL injury and working as the executive administrative assistant at BalletMet, Levitt hopes to join the faculty of a university dance program where she will undoubtedly make profound contributions, as she did here at Ohio State.

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