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Liz Schneiter choreographs MFA thesis

The stage was set with oranges and pomegranates, as a vocalist
sang the musical pieces “Frauenliebe und Leben,” by Robert
Schumann, and three dancers graced the theater.

The dance, Sweet Suite, was choreographed by Liz Schneiter as
part of her MFA thesis project and was inspired by her life
experience; Buddhist scripture and a poem by Ezra Pound.

“The four noble truths of Buddhism talk about craving; that’s
what it is about. More than a craving for a cigarette or a cookie,
it is a lust for worldly things,” said Schneiter. “In my piece it
(craving) was more spiritual.”

This piece was one of ten performed over three days as part of
the MFA dance thesis concert in Lisser Hall.

The dancers in Schneiter’s piece included herself and fellow
dance students Corey Cottrell and Mariah Haggard. They all wore
different colored tights and leotards as costumes and used aprons
as props during sections of the dance.

“The apron was really important,” said Schneiter. “It’s a loaded
symbol for most people. I used it as a facade: something that
offers false protection. It is a blanket you can’t quite stretch
over yourself.”

The music translates to “Woman’s love and life” and was chosen
for its “light quality” and is a 19th century perspective on how
women should feel about their blind devotion to their husbands. “I
wasn’t using the music contextually. It is sexist but it sounds

“I knew there were some challenges with making arrangements for
the live music, but having a live singer for the piece endowed
power and passion,” said Sarah Storey, graduate student.

Schneiter started working on the piece six months before the
show opened and still considers it a work in progress.

“It was a success because it is really one of the few
choreographic projects I have done that I didn’t end up hating,”
said Schneiter. “There is still room for growth; I don’t see it as

“The show was beautiful,” said Liz Setzer, sophomore. “Liz put
so much thought, energy and time into the preparation of her piece.
Her efforts definitely paid off.”

“People told me they were crying,” said Schneiter. “You want to
touch people with art, but I didn’t expect people to cry.”

Schneiter, who graduates in May, would like to use her master’s
degree to teach, choreograph and write dance analysis and criticism
for a newspaper.

“I love reading dance reviews and seeing how people turn dance
into words,” she said.