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Georgian Court Dance Major Creates Moving Choreography

Tyler Rivera outside the Wellness Center
Tyler Rivera dancer

Dance major Tyler Rivera ’20 creates choreography that is moving, memorable, and headed for a national competition.

Tyler describes his senior project, ValIDity, as one that uses movement, voice, and performance to “dissect the heavy stigma and fixed perspective on ‘gayness’ as a collective identity.”

It was performed regionally on Saturday, March 7, at the American College Dance Association‘s Mid-Atlantic North Conference on the campus of the University of Maryland. Tyler and fellow dancers Alonzo Magsino and Quincy Southerland performed ValIDity during the ACDA Gala.

“This is the first time a GCU student work was selected for the gala,” said Silvana Cardell, associate professor and chair of the GCU Department of Dance. “His choreography was chosen from a very competitive field of 46 participants, including works by many professional choreographers, guest artists, faculty, and graduate students.”

It is a tremendous honor for Tyler, for the GCU dance program, and for the university, Ms. Cardell added. “This national recognition indicates the sophistication of our creative and physical training.”

Tyler Rivera choreography

Choreography That Moves Hearts and Minds

GCU sent eight participating students to the conference, and the group was led by Megan Mazarick, assistant professor of dance. They held their own against dancers from George Mason University, Goucher College, the Peabody Conservatory, Temple University, Ursinus College, West Chester University, Old Dominion University, and American University.

Now Tyler’s talent for choreography and creative expression will be seen by judges at the national ACDA competition at California State University, May 29-31. It is one of only three performances from the regional gathering picked for the national event.

Ms. Cardell sees it as an amazing opportunity for an exceptional young professional.

“In ValIDity, Tyler summarizes his experience as a dancer looking for his voice, creating a meaningful work about identity and body, two themes that many contemporary artists explore to address significance and relevance of collective experiences,” she explained. ValIDity will also be performed March 27 at the New Jersey Women and Gender Studies Consortium’s student research event.

“Tyler digs deeper into the physicality and perception of ‘the other,’” she added. “Departing from his own queer experience, he successfully creates a sophisticated performance that moves identity and gender from the private experience to the collective.”

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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