Miami University Art Museum Exhibition Interpreted in Dance


Students embrace "For Kepler" by Mark di Suvero in front of the Miami University Art Museum.


In the fall semester of 2021, dance instructor Ashley Goos, added a new assignment to her choreography class at Miami University; choreograph a dance inspired by a work of art at the Miami University Art Museum (MUAM). Students selected works of art that inspired them and the moves were inspired by line, shape, form, color, texture and story. 

After the students demonstrated their work in class for fellow classmates, they had an opportunity to perform the dances at the MUAM. The dancers performed in front of, next to, or (in one instance) on top of what inspired them. Most of the selected pieces came from the Department of Art Faculty and Alumni exhibition. “It was awesome,” said senior Lindsey Crowley, “I felt like I was a part of the museum.”

We connected with Ashley Goos to learn more about the project. 

How did you get the idea to choreograph dances inspired by the artwork in the MUAM? 

Choreographers find inspiration everywhere! I assign projects that are inspired by music, theoretical research, and other genres of fine art. I had the good fortune of meeting Jack Green, the new Jeffrey Horrell ‘75 and Rodney Rose Director and Chief Curator of the Art Museum, at the beginning of the semester and the rest is history.

Were you nervous to have the dancers dance so close to priceless artwork?

Nope! I trust my dancers (and their spatial awareness) implicitly.

Was this your first recital in an art museum? 

This was our first collaboration, yes. Of many to come, I hope.

How did choreographing dances to the artwork change your relationship with the art? Did you see a change in the way the students understood the artwork?

I did see a change in the way they understood the work. The choreographers showed their piece once and then received Critical Responses from their company (aka the rest of the class). Then two weeks later after editing, elevating, and tweaking the piece, they showed it again. The second time my students were talking about line, shape, and use of compositional space interchangeably when talking about their dance, and the piece of art that inspired them. It was awesome to watch.

What do you hope visual artwork taught your students about dance?

Art is art. We're just communicating with different mediums. We all follow the same principles as art makers, and we break all the same rules to create something extraordinary. 

For those who missed the performance, is there a way to watch it online? 

Yes, we filmed the performances and edited them into a video. The performance can be watched here>>