Across the European continent there is a form of dance that appears nowhere else. Known as Hilt-and-Point sword dances, these radically varying traditions are linked by symbols such as woven stars, mock execution and resurrection, and of course swords. I seek to understand why these dances, which at first seem unrelated, have developed in parallel and share common symbols. By observing and dancing with groups of dancers from many different traditions I hope to document as well as learn these dances. My plan is subject to (a large amount of) change, but currently I will be visiting sword dancers in France who dance to music sung by the women of the village, dancers in Italy who dance in a running step in long lines, German teams who lift dancers into the air on interwoven swords and Georgian sword dancers whose dancing looks like mock battle.
I will also be spending time in England pursuing Rapper and Longsword dancing and apprenticing myself with a sword maker so I can learn how to make these swords.
The son of folk dancers, I was brought up dancing, singing and playing instruments. My passion for rapper sword dancing began in middle school and I have pursued it ever since. I have danced on several teams as well as founded three. My team Beside the Point, won “Best Display Dance” at the Dancing England Rapper Tournement in 2006. I love teaching Rapper dancing and have taught at Ogontz Camp and Bard College. As the First Ethnochoreology Major at Bard College, I founded and ran The Vermont Harmony Project, a program helping to build cross-cultural understanding through music by helping to share, preserve and celebrate the singing traditions of immigrants in Vermont. I completed a Senior Thesis on Contra Dancing and Identity and organized and called contra dancing at the school. I have recently started learning Blues dancing and Tango When I am not daning, I love to sing, do partner acrobatics, juggle, cook food, and play banjo!