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Scholars 2008 - 2009

Mary Hannah Rzasa, Dance and English Literature

"Exploring Jane Austen Through Video and Dance"
Faculty Mentor: Mr. Doug Hamby
Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2009

With the assistance of grant funding, I intend to create a performance piece combining filmed dance, live dance, and recorded text. The video component would be projected concurrently with intervals of live dance in a theatrical setting. This project, influenced by the letters and novels of author Jane Austen, will effectively suggest the correspondence maintained between Austen and her elder sister, Cassandra. Austen's life and works have found frequent portrayal through motion pictures and television programs, but have rarely been depicted through a predominantly dance medium. The filmed dance sequences will be shot on-location in Southampton, England, the former home of Jane Austen. I plan to work in collaboration with Elena Consoli, a current dancer, Austen enthusiast, and graduate student attending Southampton University for Film Studies. The completed project will have a running time of 5-8 minutes, and will be presented publicly on the UMBC campus. The performance piece will ultimately provide further insight into the life and humanity of Jane Austen from a personal perspective. The project in its final form will ideally pay homage to Austen and present a fresh perspective on her life and career.