Dance Concert poster

immersed | in | dance 

Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 PM
Friday, April 26 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 27 at 2:00 PM
Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 PM 
Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre

The focus of the UDC is to promote dance as an art form at West Chester University and to provide students with interests in arts administration, choreography, design, performance, and stage management the opportunity to create and shape their voice within this art form. As a member of this organization, students will receive a complete understanding of the workings of a dance company as well as the aspects of being involved in a University organization. UDC has two concerts every season; the fall concert focuses on faculty and guest artist work, while the spring concert mainly presents student choreography and design. Students work with both faculty and guest artists in the creation and management of new choreography and design. Community outreach and service is a component of membership to this organization as it currently is for all professional arts organizations. UDC also offers students the opportunities to attend, present and perform at various conferences annually to add to their dance and movement education.

The University Dance Company is an SSI-sponsored organization.

Land Acknowledgement

 “The land upon which we gather is part of the traditional territory of the Lenni-Lenape, called “Lenapehoking.” The Lenape People lived in harmony with one another upon this territory for thousands of years. During the colonial era and early federal period, many were removed west and north, but some also remain among the continuing historical tribal communities of the region: The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation; the Ramapough Lenape Nation; and the Powhatan Renape Nation, The Nanticoke of Millsboro Delaware, and the Lenape of Cheswold Delaware. We acknowledge the Lenni-Lenape as the original people of this land and their continuing relationship with their territory. In our acknowledgment of the continued presence of Lenape people in their homeland, we affirm the aspiration of the great Lenape Chief Tamanend, that there be harmony between the indigenous people of this land and the descendants of the immigrants to this land, “as long as the rivers and creeks flow, and the sun, moon, and stars shine.”

From the Nanticoke Lenni- Lenape Tribal Nation website ( 

Faculty Artist

Gretchen Headshot

Gretchen Studlien-Webb, Director, Choreographer, is the coordinator for the dance minor program in the Department of Theatre and Dance at West Chester University. She holds an M.F.A. from Temple University and a B.F.A. from The Ohio State University's Department of Dance.  As the advisor for the University Dance Company, she has directed more than 33 full-length concerts and choreographed over 50 dances. Studlien-Webb has taught and presented work internationally at the Ladek Zdroj International Dance Festival in Poland (2008 and 2013) and Claremont Project in London, England (2014). Her scholarly research for the past fifteen years often focuses on environmental sustainability which translates into her choreographic compositions; E.A.R.T.H.  (Evolution Arises Revealing True Humanity) (2007), Shared Ignorance (2011), Re[F]use (2013), Continuous Cycle (2015), and Environmental Intervention (2016), Carnival of Ruin (2021), and re(surge) (2022). Privately Studlien-Webb also enjoys teaching and practicing yoga.

Student Choreographers, Officers, and Stage Managers

Sara Headshot

Sara Magrino, President, Choreographer, is a senior Early Grades Preparation PreK-4 major with a Special Education minor. She is currently in the Year-Long Student Teaching Program, placed at Fern Hill Elementary School in 4th grade, and loving every second of it! This is her 6th time performing with the University Dance Company and she has adored serving as the President for the 2023-2024 academic year. Sara is thankful that she found her passion at such a young age and thanks her incredible family, friends, teachers, and professors for always supporting her dreams! Sara is beyond excited for everyone to see what UDC has been working hard for all semester and share the stage with her incredible UDC family! Enjoy the show!

Madison Headshot

Madison Hiller, Vice President, Choreographer, is a graduating senior majoring in Middles Grades Preparation, and minoring and Dance and Mathematics. She was a competitive dancer growing up and has experience dancing for the Philadelphia 76ers and attending the Radio City Rockette’s Summer Intensive. This is her final semester dancing with UDC, and she is beyond grateful for the opportunities this company has brought her. This is her second semester choreographing, and she cannot wait to see her choreography take the stage one last time. She thanks her family, friends, company members, and faculty/staff for their endless support! She cannot wait to see where the next chapter of life takes her!

Molly Headshot

Molly Thorpe, Treasurer, Choreographer, is a graduating media and culture major with a concentration in media production. She has also earned minors in dance and psychology. Molly has been dancing for the past 20 years during which time she has studied various styles including ballet, jazz, modern, hoofing, and acrobatics. This performance marks her second as a choreographer and sixth as a company member. Molly would like to thank Gretchen, Liz, and maria for their guidance, her family, friends, and loved ones for their continued love and support, and UDC for the most wonderful memories of her college career.

Mary Headshot

Mary Lynch, Secretary, Choreographer, is a graduating psychology major and dance minor at West Chester University. This is Mary’s eighth semester with UDC and both fifth and sixth-time choreographing. She has been dancing for ten years, and although she found her love of dance later in life, Mary has trained in all dance principles at the Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts and has performed with several groups of West Chester Dance Works (WCDW). Currently, Mary is still with WCDW as she directs the Junior Performers, the company’s youngest performing group, and is also a member of Signature & Training Company, a semi-professional modern program. Mary thanks her family, friends, teachers, and professors for their continuous encouragement and support. Congratulations to the entire cast and crew of immersed | in | dance!

Brianna Headshot

Brianna Breschard, Historian, Choreographer, is a first-year graduate student pursuing her career as a Speech-Language Pathologist. She currently has a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and Disorders as well as completed minors in dance and American Sign Language. This is her eighth semester being a part of the University Dance Company. She thanks Gretchen, Maria, and Liz for letting her imaginations come to life. She also thanks her mom, dad, brother, friends, and the University Dance Company that supported her along the way.

Laura Headshot

Laura Whittaker, Social Chair, Choreographer, is a junior communication studies major with a dance minor. She has been dancing for 18 years and has been a part of the University Dance Company for three years. Recently, Laura has been given the opportunity to choreograph for this spring performance, this has been very exciting and inspiring for her. She has enjoyed serving on the executive board this year. She applauds the cast for an exceptional performance this semester. She thanks her wonderful family and friends for their ongoing love and support. She would not be where she is today without them!

Sophia Headshot

Sophia Mattingly, Choreographer, is a senior at West Chester University with a double major in Business Management and Business Marketing with a Digital Marketing minor. This is her sixth semester with the company and second piece. Sophia has danced with the Lady Hoofers Professional Tap Company as a youth company member/apprentice. She started student teaching and choreographing as a junior in high school at her studio and accepted a teaching position in 2020 upon graduating high school. She feels teaching dance gives her the opportunity to be a role model for her students and share her passion for dance! Sophia is grateful for the endless support she has received from her friends, family, teachers, and students throughout her dance career!

Holly Headshot

Holly McMenamin, Choreographer, Holly is a senior at West Chester University majoring in Early Childhood Education with minors in Dance and American Sign Language. She has been passionate about dancing since the age of two when she began her training at Premiere Dance Studio. Currently, in her eighth semester with the University Dance Company, and choreographing her third piece. She is also a second-year captain of the national-winning WCU Dance Team. Holly attributes her love for dancing to her departed father, John, who loved watching her dance. 

Emily Headshot

Emily Gilligan, Choreographer, is a junior, early grades preparation major with a minor in dance and special education. This is her third year performing with the company. Emily is on the executive board of the West Chester University Dance Team, where she currently serves as captain. Outside of school, she works as a teacher and choreographer, helping to develop the next generation of young talented dancers. Emily has 18 years of training in all disciplines of dance. She thanks her amazing family, friends, and teachers for always supporting her throughout the years.

Danielle Headshot

Danielle Luckanish, Choreographer, is a graduating senior in fall 2024 majoring in psychology, has been passionate about dancing since the age of 2. This marks her second year performing with UDC and her debut as a choreographer for the group. With six years of experience as part of the company at her studio, Danielle has showcased her talent once a month at competitions or benefits. Additionally, she has contributed to numerous Nutcracker productions over the years. When Danielle is not dancing or going to class, she finds joy in practicing and performing aerial acrobatics.

Hannah Headshot

Hannah Nicholson, Choreographer, is a senior at West Chester University with a major in Media and Culture and a minor in Dance. This is her sixth semester with the UDC company and her first choreography piece. Hannah has danced with Rhythm in Motion Dance Company as not only a student but also a teacher as well. She started student teaching and choreography as a junior in high school and continued until 2021 when she came to college. Hannah has felt as if dance was her outlet as a safe space to be able to let go and just move. She wanted to be able to give that to her students as well and make them feel as if dance is a safe space to let go and just feel the movements without having to express them with words. Dance is an act of feeling and intention. Hannah is grateful for all the support she had from her fellow dance peers, friends, family, and previous dance coaches throughout her dancing career.  

Hailey Headshot

Hailey Semmel, Choreographer, is a second-year Communication Science and Disorders major and a member of the Honors College. She is a first-time choreographer and has been performing with UDC for four semesters. She is beyond grateful for the opportunity the company has provided her with and is eager to see what the future holds. After her undergrad, Hailey hopes to receive her masters in Speech-Language Pathology.


Victor Stewart, Choreographer, is a senior majoring in Chem-Bio and minoring in Dance. He had a later start in dance, starting at 13 years old. He was on his high school’s majorette dance team at GW Carver Engineering & Science before attending WCU. This is his first time performing with UDC. He thanks Gretchen, Liz, and Maria for helping him continue to grow as a performer and is excited to put those skills to use.

Sloane Headshot

Sloane Duzy, Stage Manager, is a senior at West Chester University double majoring in Communication and Theatre. She is the current University Theatre president as well as Vice President/Secretary of Alpha Psi Omega, Theatre Honors Fraternity. Her previous credits at WCU include Stage Manager of the Fall Dance Concert: Grounded Bodies (2023), Stage Manager of The Student Written One Acts (2023), Assistant Stage Manager/Fly Master/Intimacy Captain of Kiss Me, Kate! (2023), Assistant Stage Manager of Charlotte’s Web (2023), Assistant Stage Manager/Fly Master of the Fall Dance Concert: Multiplicity (2022), and Assistant Director/Intimacy Captain of Spring Awakening (2022). 

Olivia Headshot

Olivia Opiela, Assistant Stage Manager, is a second-year student pursuing a B.A in Theatre: Design & Production with a minor in Media and Culture. This is her first time working on a dance concert, and she cannot be more excited to collaborate with such a lovely group of diverse artists. Past credits include Assistant Stage Manager for Three Sisters, Audio 2 on Kiss Me, Kate, Stage Manager for Rocky Horror Picture Show (2023), as well as various crew roles. Olivia thanks her great production team for all they do to make this project run smoothly!

Katy Headshot

Katy Polowczuk, Assistant Stage Manager, is a 4th year student but 2nd year student at West Chester majoring in General Theater. Some previous WCU credits include Scenic Kiss Me, Kate! (2023), Scenic Me, War, and Toy Grenade (2023), Assistant Sound Design/Sound Board Operator Three Sisters (2024). She is so excited to be working in the Dance Concert and work with such talented people.

Connor Headshot

Connor Sternberg, Assistant Stage Manager, is a junior theatre major here at West Chester. His past credits at WCU include Kiss Me Kate (Ensemble), Rocky Horror (Magenta), The 24th Annual Aids Benefit Concert and The Student Written One Acts. Some of his other credits include Company (Paul), Assassins (Zangara) and Spring Awakening (Ernst). Connor is super excited to be making his ASM debut and to get to be a part of the dance concert.  

Scholarship Donations

The WCU Dance program in the Department of Theatre and Dance currently offers two scholarships:

  • The Barbara J. Lappano ’67, M’73 Dance Scholarship
    • 2023-2024 recipients: Emily Gilligan and Molly Thorpe
  • The Emerging Dance Minor Scholarship
    • Spring 2024 recipient: Regina Byrne

Donations received would increase the amount of funds awarded to students each year. Contact the WCU Foundation at 610-436-2868 for more information or mail a check to: 

WCU Foundation
Dance Program Endowment Fund 2475-852
P.O. Box 541
West Chester, PA 19381
Please include Dance Program Endowment Fund 2475-852 on the memo line.