Dance, film and costume come together in Rhino Project

By Shane Donglasan

From left, fourth-year student Laila Calantari, New College alumna Rachel Ceciro and Ringling College student Reese Bobo in a scene from the RHINO Project film.
From left, fourth-year student Laila Calantari, New College alumna Rachel Ceciro and Ringling College student Reese Bobo in a scene from the RHINO Project film.

The RHINO Project is an artistic interdisciplinary project that brought together students and faculty from New College of Florida and Ringling College of Art and Design, as well as local Sarasota artists and The Ringling Museum.

Through live dance performances, music, film, and costume, the project explores humanity’s exploitation of the natural world, specifically focusing on the poaching crisis of rhinos.

The RHINO Project featured live performances during the Ringling Museum’s Art After Five series and at Ringling Underground.

New College Dance Instructor and Artist in Residence Leymis Bolaños Wilmott, along with alum and Mellon Grant Coordinator Eugenia Titterington, choreographed the dances that were performed by New College students.

“Since my AOC is music and creative writing, I’m all about fitting narrative to music, and this was a big opportunity to do that,” said fourth-year Laila Kalantari.

The performers donned intricate animal costumes designed by artist and Ringling College professor Sheryl Haler, whose work highlights cloth as a medium of expression.

The project culminated in the premiere of a short film directed and produced by students from Ringling College of Art on Oct. 29. The event, which took place in College Hall, also featured an exhibit of Haler’s costumes.

Second-year biopsychology student Phoenix Kadzis said she was able to gain experience performing live as well as dancing in front of a camera for film, and how to transition between those different mediums.

“It was also great to be able to collaborate with students from Ringling College,” she added.

— Shane Donglasan is the marketing writer/project coordinator at New College of Florida.


Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay is home to more than 800 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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