Joan of Arc dances in SCD collaboration with NOW Ensemble (NCF Assistant Professor Mark Dancigers)

From The  October 7, 2018

Choreography strives to capture the intensity, conflict and resolve of the sainted French teenager

Composer Mark Dancigers and choreographer Leymis Bolanos Wilmott started out with an abstract idea — “Levels” — before shifting to the real-life story of a remarkable figure from history.

Joan of Arc.

Jeanne d’Arc.

“Jehanne,” in the medieval spelling Wilmott prefers for her dance.

“If the story weren’t true, it would be unbelievable,” says Dancigers, who plays electric guitar and leads the NOW Ensemble. “Yet we know for a fact that she left her small village and went on to lead a French army as this inspirational figure. She felt called to do something that only she could do. I find that sort of unbelievably inspiring.”

Wilmott, too, was intrigued by Joan of Arc — “She’s a badass” — but worried that the subject was too big for a 20-minute dance.

“I’m like, ‘Oh, god, are you kidding me?’” says the artistic director of Sarasota Contemporary Dance. “She’s such an iconic figure. How can we even try to do this?”

What they ended up doing was work on the score and choreography at the same time.

“He would send me three minutes of music, and I would send him seven minutes of dance,” she says. “Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.”

The final work will debut Thursday as part of “SCD + NOW Ensemble” in the Cook Theater at the Asolo/FSU Performing Arts Center. It is the opening production for SCD’s new season.

Read the entire story here.


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 700 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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