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Creative Arts

Featured Students:
Dance, Theatre, and Music Performance | Film Festival | Special Exhibit | Video Games

Dance, Theatre, and Music Performances

Location: Dance Cube, 337 PAHB
Moderator: Prof. Doug Hamby

I Make Milk (dance)

Sammy Siegel

Doug Hamby, Dance

“I Make Milk” is a dance exploring the biological and societal pressures on women to have children, and their mixed, intense emotions in response to those pressures. The work is a rebellion against female anatomy and the roles that dictate female-bodied individuals’ decisions. Female bodies are equipped with constant, high-maintenance biological reminders of their archaic role as a mother. Today, women have options for what to do or not do with their bodies. And yet, simply having the ability to reproduce carries an enormous pressure to reproduce in a country that has almost no structures in place to support parents, and then to raise children “correctly;” mothers are so frequently blamed for “flaws” in children that are out of their control. Physically, the choreography delves into confrontations and intimate partnerships among the three female dancers, highlighting their strengths through lifts, complex partnering, violently fast and demanding movement phrases, and navigation of scenery and props. This work was researched and created for the Senior Dance Concert.

“stoP ActiNg hysterICal” (dance)

Emily Godfrey
Emily Godfrey

Photograph by Hansel Motiram

Doug Hamby, Dance

“stoP ActiNg hysterICal” is a dance piece that challenges the societal view and stigmatization of panic attacks. “stoP ActiNg hysterICal” will be premiered at the Spring Dance Showcase in May 2019. Due to biases, preconceived notions, and lack of understanding, the topic of mental health awareness has been pushed aside and not taken seriously, especially in adolescents and young adults. Panic Disorder, defined in the DSM-5, is an anxiety disorder based on the occurrence of recurrent and unexpected panic attacks, an abrupt surge of intense fear. The dance is a deconstruction of the biological symptoms of panic attacks and analyzes the societal stigmatization that acts as a barrier to people seeking help. Created on four dancers, the choreographer was created in undefined movement sections, while holding onto the overall timeline structure of the piece. The movement is inspired by humanistic gestures, bodily contortions, and physically demanding locomotion that recollects the symptoms and internal emotions of a panic attack. The dancers are a manifestation of the physical symptoms of panic disorder and represent the parts of society discriminating against the illness and not providing the needed support because of preconceived misconceptions.

Becoming Survivor: Understanding Human Trafficking Through Dance (dance)

Alexia Petasis
shadows of three dancing women

Becoming Survivor: Understanding Human Trafficking Through Dance – Alexia Petasis

Steven McAlpine, Individualized Studies; Doug Hamby, Dance Department

This live dance performance, titled “Becoming Survivor”, explores the issue of human trafficking from a survivor’s perspective. Thanks to an Undergraduate Research Award, Alexia traveled to NYC to shadow activist choreographer Sarah Panayiotou, founder of BABEL Movement. BABEL Movement is a social justice dance company that uses dance to initiate social change. BABEL Movement partners with other social justice organizations to increase the rate at which they make an impact in addressing issues of inequality, racism, human trafficking, and more. This research included conducting interviews with dancers and audience members, participating in field studies, and observing Panayiotou’s choreographic process to gather information on the most effective ways to choreograph social issues. As a result of this research, this piece was choreographed to raise awareness about the realities of domestic sex trafficking in the United States. This dance was researched and developed with some of the methodologies and advice from Panayiotou. This piece calls attention to the various ways a victim can become trapped in the life of human trafficking and offers a deeper understanding of the manipulation into exploitation that occurs.

Unrequited (dance)

Lloyd Ekpe

Chelsea Pace, Theatre

Emotionally powerful ideas with connections to personal experience are ripe for creative exploration, but creating actual creative content from them can be challenging. In my research, I used movement composition techniques to develop a short, solo work, Unrequited. As a starting point for my research, I worked with Adele’s “All I Ask” and her artistic expression of unrequited feelings. I wanted to use a personal experience in the creation of this piece to work through my feelings and thoughts about my previous situation and to have closure. I pulled further inspiration for content generation from other musical artists and images. I used free-writing as a way to explore my ideas and then developed physical improvisations based off of those free-writes. I engaged all five senses, including the taste, smell, and burn of ginger, in the development of this work. I want this piece to encourage my peers to use creative avenues as a means to work through their issues.

Based On A True Story (theatrical movement piece)

Maria Marsalis

Chelsea Pace, Theatre

Based on a True Story was developed in a process that explores the application of physical theatre techniques to storytelling. Physical theatre pulls elements from theatre and dance to push the boundaries of both disciplines. Working with my mentor, Professor Pace, I used these tools to abstract and reconstruct creative themes and ideas I was interested in exploring in an abstract way. I processed expressive elements of emotion or feeling as I pushed them outside of my body: the smell, the taste, the people, the noise and the atmosphere. I took all of those senses and placed them into the kinesthetic space around my body to represent a moment of its entirety. What was the essential meaning of the gesture or feeling, how did that filter and expand through the creative lens, and what form did that idea physically take in space? This playground became a balancing act between straight elements of theater (action) and lines of repetition/gesture. This hybridized methodology allowed me to explore the full expression of a creative idea. The piece resulting from this process, Based on a True Story, explores themes of drug addiction & love which have parallel effects on the human body and psyche.

“Here On Shaky Ground, We Move” (dance)

Kasey Mannion

Doug Hamby, Dance

An exploration in contemporary dance trends, the creation of “Here on Shaky Ground, We Move” used a collaborative process between choreographer and dancers Joshua Gray, Alison Lavia, and Gretta Zinski. The dance performance work examines the idea of impermanence and how we may navigate the many unique ways change manifests itself in our lives. The dancers experimented with the concept of existing in a temporary place-both on a physical and emotional level. The focus of the choreography is primarily on the quality and nuances of the movement, unhindered by distractions beyond an understated musical score. “Here on Shaky Ground, We Move” is a movement conversation between the dancers. Each dancer moves as a soloist, as one half of a duet, and as a member of a collective unit. Unison movement is emphasized as the dancers bond with another as the dance continues. “Here On Shaky Ground, We Move” is an intimate look at this close-knit community of dancers.

Vagabond (dance)

Giavanni Powell

Doug Hamby, Dance

“Vagabond” is a dance performance work that challenges the stigma associated with artists who do not have a “back-up plan”. The work depicts self-evolution from adolescence into adulthood. There are three defined sections. The first section introduces the joy associated with recreational art when there is little responsibility associated with creativity. Dancers exhibit playful, child-like actions that parallel lighthearted music. Throughout this section there are moments of sharpness that subtly disrupt the initial liveliness. In between the first and second section there is a solo that represents the transition from adolescence to exposure to worldliness. The second section speaks to how external factors can influence the mindset to assimilate to normative ideals. This loss of identity is personified in the work as the dancers control each other’s movements to be more robotic or staccato motions. The third section portrays a physical representation of self-actualization. Human qualities are re-accessed through touch amongst the dancers revealing the common understanding that all things are tangible. This work is a redefined presentation of groupthink. Together the dancers grow from innocence that develops into wanting to fit in and conform, and from conformity that changes into the desire to discover and redefine self-capability and self-acceptance.

When Eve And Eve Bit The Apple (dance)

Teresa Whittemore
Teresa Whittemore

Photograph by Francisco Jauregui

Doug Hamby, Dance; Sandra Lacy, Dance, UMBC

“When Eve and Eve Bit the Apple,” is a duet choreographed by Teresa Whittemore, which premiered in UMBC’s 2018 Fall Dance Showcase. This work focuses on identity, its components, and the rejection of its permanence, specifically in the lives of queer people. It illustrates and challenges the perception that one characteristic or lifestyle-choice prohibits the presence another. The sound-score for my dance includes excerpts from an essay by Caitlin O’Keefe, in which she describes her experiences living as an evangelical Christian and a lesbian, and how she struggled to accommodate the union of church, homosexual love, and self. Through use of intricate partnering work and gaze, dancers Sarah Brewer and Michelle Ye embody this conflict. It opens with a solo performed by Brewer, whose movements represent a personal battle between what is expected and what is intriguing. Later, Ye enters, embodying the intriguing, liberated lifestyle that Brewer pursues. The dancers’ exchanges and movements allow an audience to observe the restrictions Brewer feels, drawn both to her faith and her sexuality. Labeling queer people as “different” serves as means to isolate and marginalize them, which influences both their experiences and agency in their own identity, as illustrated in this work.

“Show Us Your Shorts” Film Festival

Location: Fine Arts Recital Hall
Moderator: Professor Corrie Parks
BFRB: An Animated PSA

BFRB: An Animated PSA
Image by Susanna Abler

BFRB: An Animated PSA

2 – 2:15 p.m.
Susanna Abler

Corrie Parks, Visual Arts

I suffer from a body focused repetitive disorder (or BFRB) called Trichotillomania, which means I have a compulsive need to pull out my own hair. It’s something I’ve struggled with for much of my life. There’s not much out there in regards to awareness or treatments for this disorder. Previously, I’d wanted to do a series of drawings about my struggles, representing my body as a garden I was destroying. However, they didn’t work out so I put that idea on the back-burner. When time came for our animation final, I realized I could adapt this concept to an animation. An animation about BFRB’s could both bring awareness to these disorders and educate others as to what dealing with it is like. I animated this with hand drawn work in Photoshop. My animation process involved dividing each scene into its own file and working in layers. I started with a sketch, then did line work in another layer. Once I was happy with the movement in the line work, I filled in colors on their own separate layers underneath the line work. I exported each scene and combined them together in Premiere, where I added sound and music.

"What You Mean To Me"

“What You Mean To Me”
Image by John Martinez

What You Mean To Me

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.
John Martinez

Corrie Parks, Visual Arts

What You Mean To Me, a 2:15 minute animated short film, is about a hulking, daisy creature that falls in love with a small, daisy flower and his attempt to help it in in order to gain the flower’s love. This piece is a self-portrait, based on my first love. I wanted the style of the film to come off as soft and heartwarming, so I used pastel colors and round shapes to achieve that tone. Animated in Photoshop, I was able to digitally draw everything and puppet the individual parts of the creature and flower so that I could move the parts frame by frame. By composing the music myself, I could match the timing of the visuals to the music, emphasizing the visuals and adding harmony to the whole piece. The decision to not include sound effects was to add more focus on the emotion that the body language of the creature and music create. In the end, the individual pieces of the short film come together to present a relatable, bitter sweet story of love that could not be.

Traitor: An Animated Short

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.
Julia Blurton-Jones

Corrie Parks, Visual Arts

Traitor is a 90 second long digitally animated short that sheds a light on a common situation for many LGBT people. Despite ever increasing advances towards equality and rights for LGBT people, many members of this community still find themselves, especially at a young age, hiding their identities from the people around them. Drawing from my own personal history in a religious high school, I wanted to explore the internal conflict that so many queer people experience in the moments when they must decide whether it’s better to hide who they are by publicly denouncing gay rights, or to stand up for their identity at times when it might be dangerous. In the film I drew upon Christian imagery to symbolize the main character’s position between her social environment and her identity, while also showing her fears and anxieties toward the subject. The animation was initially drawn in Photoshop, and compiled in Adobe Premiere.


2:45 – 3:00 p.m.
William Kraft

Mentor: Corrie Parks, Visual Arts

Illusion is a short animated self portrait and reflection on experiences I had during my first year of college. This is a project that I did not want to be just another assignment to be made for a grade. This is something that I made for myself and anyone else whose can relate. I just dove into the project headfirst without an ending in mind. The finale came naturally as I progressed through each scene. All work was done completely digitally frame by frame within a program called “Toon Boom Harmony”. I’m peculiarly proud of the transformation scenes and all the colors that were used. However if I were to work on this film more I would add onto the beginning of the short. But when everything is said and done, I’m happy with the final product and I invite everyone to go into it with an open mind.

Nose Job

3:00p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Angelo Rayner

Corrie Parks, Visual Arts

A trapeze artist sits at her vanity back stage admiring herself in the mirror. When she begins to look closer and starts considering cutting her hair her thoughts are interrupted by the sound of footsteps approaching her room. As she waits for this unknown person to enter her room her eyes wonder around the clutter on her table. She shifts from newspapers to magazines to contracts to gifts to fan mail to hate mail just for her to notice herself again in the mirror and decide not to cut her hair. “Nose Job” refers to black people who supposed wannabe white folk. A “Nose Job” attempts to smooth their black edges and try to fit in , their fear is that their putative “blackness” may cause a fuss or draw undue attention. They may even use it [blackness] to self-deprecate. This animation was created using rotoscoping techniques. I filmed my source video. Then drew over my keyframes then redrew about 10 layers of animation on top of my keys and in-betweens.

Special Exhibits

UC Ballroom Lounge (show will run every 15 minutes, starting at 1:15)
Strobe Lights Warning:

Scott Sainz’s presentation, “Light Show Using ‘The Most Powerful Console On The Market’ ” will be using strobe lights. A small percentage of people may experience a seizure when exposed to flashing lights or patterns. Personal discretion is advised. For questions or requests related to the event, contact April Housholder for further information.

Light Show

Scott Sainz
Light Show by Scott Sainz

Light Show Using “The Most Powerful Console On The Market”
Image by Scott Sainz

Adam Mendelson, Theatre

As part of my URA, I researched the GrandMA2 lighting control system with the intention and purpose of using the system to program lights to music for a light show and a live band. This show was produced in the Proscenium Theatre on February 15th, 2019. As MA Lighting says on its website, the GranMA offers an integrated MA System that supplies optimal solutions for sophisticated projects with complex system requirements. for large scale shows and concert production. I learned how to use the system, and I then brought the information back to UMBC Theatre. The light show I created in February visually displayed my proficiency on the system. Following the show, I hosted a master class to discuss some of what I find to be most unique about the system. I have also made myself a valuable resource as a programmer for local companies in the industry. I plan to continue my research to become a better and more knowledgeable programmer. At URCAD, I am hosting another light show to display my research and proficiency. By creating a second show I hope further my proficiency on the system. With practice I will become a better and faster programmer

Video Games

Location: UC Ballroom Lounge

Virtual Reality Mirror Therapy Rehabilitation For Post-Stroke Patients

Levan Sulimanov

Marc Olano, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

The consequences of a stroke often include significant muscle weakness on one side of the body that must be physically exercised to attempt to restore its previous strength. In mirror therapy, the partially disabled hand or leg is hidden by a mirror. The patient sees a reflection of the healthy side of their body where the disabled limb should be, in order to stimulate brain to operate the partially disabled hand/leg in the proper way. Our current research built on this therapy and offers new innovative approach for stroke recovery. We recreated the techniques of Mirror Therapy in Virtual Reality in a video game environment. The patient’s healthy hand is captured by Leap Motion sensor, and the unhealthy hand is replicated and simulated to repeat all of the healthy hand’s movements in unison. This approach allows patients to be fully immersed into the process with no mirrors involved, allowing exercises with larger motions that would not be possible with a physical mirror in the way. The current state of the project is as a research prototype, that has not yet been tested with stroke patients.

Derik’s Inferno: A Retro Two-dimensional Platformer From Hell

Andrew McFarland

Eric Jordan, Visual Arts

This game was designed out of pure nostalgia in order to capture the essence of the late 16-Bit era. Using techniques from the mid 90’s and the modern tools of today, this platformer recreates the look and feel of games I often reminisce about. The use of 3D and 2D animation software presented some visual consistency challenges when implementing the animation assets into the Unity game engine. The biggest challenge was keeping the pixelated look consistent regardless of each character’s size. Programming the characters and assets was another challenge. Each character had several layers of animation which needed to be coded in a way that would keep the transitions between sprite sheets smooth. The programming of each character and object breathes life into their personality, which helps to build a world that’s booth interesting and fun to interact with. The player assumes the role of “Derik”, a disgruntled demon, who must carefully maneuver his way through the dangers of Hell. Using his quick wit and cunning speed, Derik must keep his cool in order to survive another day of eternal damnation.

Escape To Planet Earth

Andrew McLamb, Carllie Foley

Marc Olano, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Escape to Planet Earth is a video game project originated from the Capstone Games Group Project course. Escape to Planet Earth is a two dimensional point and click video game designed like an escape room where the player is an alien falsely accused and imprisoned. The goal of the game is for players to escape the prison by escaping from room to room solving puzzles including: riddles, anagrams, and ciphers. The game was created by artists and programmers who collaborated to make the puzzles intellectually stimulating making the game more of a learning experience for the players. Artists were faced with the task of creating different room designs and assets for puzzles using Adobe Illustrator and animating in Adobe After Effects. In addition, programmers had the job of making the game puzzles interactive and completely playable in Unity. Both artist and programmers were responsible for making the game challenging and fun.


Brendan Robison

Marc Olano, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Wizards is 3D multiplayer game where players take turns throwing spells at each other in order to be the last one standing. Each match consists of 2 – 8 players who all start on the map in a randomized order. During a players turn, they will select from a variety of elemental based spells with different strengths and weaknesses, do their best to aim it at their foes, and fire it to knock around and damage opponents. The map is destructible and changes over the course of the match for more interesting game play. The game is developed as a Senior group project with a combination of programmers and 3D artists. Over the course of the semester we worked together to implement all core features and fix bugs, while also maintaining a playful visual art style. Building this game helped each group member take on a role in game development to strengthen various technical skills such as Unity programming, Blender modeling, game design, and more.

Thirst: A Quest To Restore The Oasis

Elwin Brown, Erin Cannon

Marc Olano, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Computer Scientists and Artists worked together to create a 2-dimentional side-scrolling video game by leveraging modern editing software. Developers used Unreal Engine 4 to construct the game from scratch. Code was written in C++ and the built-in functions of the engine were leveraged to accelerate prototyping and to meet industry standards. Artists used Photoshop and Aseprite to create an aesthetic which portrays an increasingly dry climate, beginning in an oasis and progressing into rocky desert. The game is a single-player combat-oriented exploration game in which the player must fight through various enemies on a quest to protect their homeland. The enemies in the game are controlled by Artificial Intelligence comprised of Expert Systems and reflexive environmental responses. One unique aspect of the game is a “water meter” which acts similarly to mana in other games, but which also depletes in sunlight and will cause the player damage if it runs out. This mechanic is central to the design of the game and seeks to create dynamic tension in game play.

Judgement Of Osiris

Ryan Hartig, Melody Chan, David Lane, Misha Furman

Marc Olano, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Our game Judgement of Osiris is inspired by the ancient illustration in the Book of the Dead dating back to 1600 BCE. Borrowing ideas from one of the oldest board game known to man, Senet, this game is about the journey to Afterlife. In our game, player will begin their journey to the Underworld in hopes to be deemed worthy by the God of the Underworld Osiris, and continue to earn their place towards the afterlife. This game serves as a display of the creative achievements of UMBC students, in the areas of programming, music, art, and design. Our game is a two-dimensional platformer where the player progresses toward Osiris. Aside from facing provocations from foes, players will be confronted by the many Gods of Egypt. In their attempt to prove to the many deities of their worth, many Gods will deem themselves trustworthy and helpful. On the other hand, some will learn the hard way; they will be facing challenges and betrayals from the Gods. Judgement of Osiris is made in Unity, and all assets are made by students in the spring 19 semester.

Derik’s Inferno: A Retro Two-dimensional Platformer From Hell

Andrew McFarland

Eric Jordan, Visual Arts

This game was designed out of pure nostalgia in order to capture the essence of the late 16-Bit era. Using techniques from the mid 90’s and the modern tools of today, this platformer recreates the look and feel of games I often reminisce about. The use of 3D and 2D animation software presented some visual consistency challenges when implementing the animation assets into the Unity game engine. The biggest challenge was keeping the pixelated look consistent regardless of each character’s size. Programming the characters and assets was another challenge. Each character had several layers of animation which needed to be coded in a way that would keep the transitions between sprite sheets smooth. The programming of each character and object breathes life into their personality, which helps to build a world that’s booth interesting and fun to interact with. The player assumes the role of “Derik”, a disgruntled demon, who must carefully maneuver his way through the dangers of Hell. Using his quick wit and cunning speed, Derik must keep his cool in order to survive another day of eternal damnation.

UMBC Game Developers Club 2018-2019 Game Projects

Shea Sandifer, Josh Ludlow, Trevor Ancona, Alex Leger, Kit Heckman, Anthony Ellis, Ben Przysucha, Cameron Blomquist, Shawn Oppermann, Liam Upton

Marc Olano, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

The UMBC Game Developers Club is a professional, career-focused club dedicated to bringing students of all majors together to learn about game development, work in a team-based environment, network, and build portfolios of working, polished games. Teams this year have created games featuring a variety of genres, art styles, engines, and programming languages. This year’s games include: Role-Playing Gamble, a top-down adventure and combat game set in a parallel universe based on the UMBC campus; Harrowing Flight, a multiplayer spaceship dogfighting game; Skeletons in Hats, a multiplayer fighting game involving pickups and innovative gameplay; Adryft, an atmospheric, story-driven action game; Bad Boy, an action platformer about a chubby little man with a heart full of rage; Yonko Battle, a unique twist on a familiar game in mobile form; Co-op Adventure, a two-player adventure game where a mage and a ghost knight explore a dungeon; Edgerson, a challenging minimalist puzzle platformer that focuses on a unique interaction between acrobatic abilities such as dash, dodge, cannon, bounce, and more; Crash Site, a Metroidvania platformer based on tactical movement; Arcade Hero, a classic twin-stick shooter where the local arcade is in danger and needs your help.