Alumni, students 'collide' on stage

Caitlin McCormack came to the University of South Carolina to make her dreams come true. She’d been dancing since she was a toddler but a scholarship to continue her studies allowed her to pursue her goals and has kept the recent graduate dancing. 

“It gave me an amazing education and at amazing school and allowed me to pursue my dreams,” McCormack says. “I take a lot of pride in saying that I’m still pursuing what I wanted to do when I was a little girl. It’s something I’m pretty passionate about and to still be able to do that at 24 is pretty amazing.” 

McCormack, who graduated with a degree in dance performance and choreography in 2012, found an interest in creating dances and movements, not just performing at Carolina. She had never choreographed before coming to the university but a class with dance professor Thaddeus Davis helped her find another pursuit. 

“I really enjoy to move and I think that’s what has grown my passion to choreograph, to create movement and to be able to set it on other dancers. I love to watch people move through space and I think that’s what I love about dancing,” she says. “After that class, I saw the potential I had with choreography and creating movement and how much I enjoyed working with my peers, directing them. Ever since then, I’ve always been creating.” 

McCormack grew up dancing classical ballet but discovered a love for contemporary dance at UofSC. The pieces she creates involves a mix of contemporary movement with classical ballet. 

“That movement style just works really well with my body, and I naturally am able to move more comfortably in contemporary style dance,” she says.

After graduating, the Augusta, Ga., native took off to dance professionally in California, New York and Atlanta. In Atlanta, she choreographed for Dance Canvas, a company that promotes the next generation of choreographers and dancers. These days McCormack dances with the Charleston Dance Project, a contemporary company.

This week McCormack will return to the university to dance alongside her former classmates and the Dance Program’s current student stars for the first Dance Alumni Showcase. The group will perform a piece McCormack choreographed called “Collide.”

“I’m excited about my piece. I feel like my piece is a true collaboration of what is currently happening at the school and what has happened,” she says. “It shows the possibility for the dancers of what could happen with their future. I’ve tried to create a space for them to explore the relationship on stage. I kind of see the current students as being able to look into their future of what is possible as dancers. I feel like it’s a great representation of the dance program.” 

If you go

The UofSC dance program will present an Alumni Choreography Showcase, a special concert filled with the original choreography of its graduates, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (April 16) at the Koger Center for the Arts.

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