Press Release

Dancing Around the Issue

October 13, 2020 – by Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan will premiere its ‘Orchesis 20/21’ contemporary dance concert online at 8 p.m. Oct. 29. The show will feature works created by OWU students and faculty and performed by students and alumni. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Ohio Wesleyan Dancers, Choreographers to Premiere ‘Orchesis 20/21’ Online Oct. 29

DELAWARE, Ohio – Influenced by life during the pandemic, Ohio Wesleyan University’s student dance company, Orchesis, will be Dancing Around the Issue (and across the OWU campus) in a socially distanced, outdoor, progressive dance performance.

Ohio Wesleyan will debut the two-act “Orchesis 20/21” via Zoom at 8 p.m. Oct. 29. The free event will feature works created by OWU students and faculty and performed by students and university alumni. Visit owu.edu/orchesis to register for access to the online event.

Artistic Director Rashana Perks Smith said she has been impressed by the innovation and commitment of the students as they planned for this year’s unique outdoor performance.

“We moved rehearsals and classes outside as much as possible or online, exploring a shift in how we interact with time and space according to health regulations,” she said. “The students have been committed to finding ways to share live performances safely as well as understand and make good use of video and technology as a platform for dance. Ultimately, this experience opens the choreographic and performance possibilities for students in the face of restrictions.”

Open only to current OWU students and employees, the dances also will be performed live on campus on Oct. 22, 23, 29, and 30. Act I will begin at 4 p.m. and Act II at 7 p.m., using the darkness to create a “Drive-in Screendance” program. For Act I, attendees should gather at the top of the stairs leading from South Sandusky Street to Slocum Hall. For Act II, attendees should gather in their vehicles in the parking lot between Chappelear Drama Center and Beeghly Library or sit on the lawn next to the lot. In all instances, campus audience members need to wear facial coverings and maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others.

Orchesis 20/21 ACT I

“Living in Phrases”
Choreographer – Tess Meddings
Dancers – Alex Dolph, Taylor Frasure, and Kayla Rush

“A Passage”
Choreographer – Kayla Rush
Dancers – Ellie Bearss, Ali Dix, and Anne Raspe

“Rhythmatic”
Choreographer – Taylor Frasure
Dancers – Alex Dolph and Kayla Rush

“You’ll Get Through It”
Choreographer – Anne Raspe
Dancers – Ellie Bearss, Taylor Frasure, Kayla Rush, and Wyatt Wells

Orchesis 20/21 ACT II

“In This Space, At This Time”
Choreographer/editor – Ellie Bearss
Videographer – Jasmine Lew, Ellie Bearss, and Megan Davis Bushway
Dancers – Ali Dix, Jasmine Lew (remotely), Lizzy Nebel, and Anne Raspe

“I Want to Be Well”
Choreographer/videographer/editor – Alex Dolph
Dancers – Ali Dix, Bella Hintzman, and Tess Meddings

“Petrichor”
Choreographer/artist/editor – Maggie Welsh
Videographer – Megan Davis Bushway
Dancer – Maggie Welsh

“Walking Afield”
Choreographer/technician – Rashana Perks Smith and dancers
Videographers/editors – Rashana Perks Smith and Megan Davis Bushway
Dancers – Current students: Ellie Bearss, Colleen Cornwell, Cat Giacalone, Jasmine Lew, Tess Meddings, Anne Raspe, Kayla Rush, Elenya Stephani, Wyatt Wells, and Maggie Welsh. OWU graduates: Hayley Glessner, Lauren Holler, Jill Jacobson-Bennett, Kimberly McCalmont, Rachael Sheets, Michelle Smith, and Savannah Travis. (All dancers are previously recorded or performing live remotely.)

Learn more about Orchesis and Ohio Wesleyan’s upcoming theatre and dance performances at owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more undergraduate majors than many universities its size and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature program, The OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at owu.edu.