This week, justArts spoke with Sarai Warsoff ’16 whose senior thesis is “Uncorseted: an original dance piece.” Sarai’s thesis in the Senior Thesis Festival will explore the history and evolution of modern dance through the vocabulary of five female choreographers.

justArts: What inspired you to pursue a senior thesis? What is the process behind being able to participate in the Senior Festival?

Sarai Warsoff:  I was really inspired by seeing a senior thesis in the festival my sophomore year. It was so personal, and the more I talked with the student who did it, the more I realized how much work went into it. I have always wanted to focus in on the subject of modern dance through the lens of theater, so that’s really where the inspiration came from. The process started last spring, where I had to write up a proposal to be able to participate in the Senior Thesis Festival, abiding by the guidelines that are required for the festival itself. Once I was accepted, I started speaking to faculty to be my advisors, and to help focus in my actual subject and what the thesis itself would be. I spent last semester doing a large portion of my research, working with my sound designer, and preparing for auditions and casting. This semester is all rehearsals, paper writing, the actual performance, and my defense.

JA: Why did you choose your specific thesis?

SW: I’m classically trained in modern dance, and have been practicing modern dance since I was kicked out of my ballet class when I was three years old. I have always had such a passion and strong attachment to female modern choreographers, and as I did more and more choreography on the Brandeis campus, I felt that it was a wonderful opportunity to explore so many things I love so dearly.

JA: What challenges have you faced and what more do you expect to face in production?

SW: Most of what I have done so far is all preproduction, as rehearsals have not begun yet. One thing I have realized through the process is the importance of asking for exactly what you want/need, and being flexible if that isn’t possible. I haven’t faced too many issues, as the theater department has offered me so many resources. I’m really quite lucky in that respect! 

JA: What has your theater experience at Brandeis been like?

SW: My theater experience has really shaped me academically, socially, and even changed what I hope to do in my future. I started off as a performer, but once I realized my passion and desire to do more choreography, every show I’ve worked on has been more and more rewarding. Especially getting to serve as Tympanium Euphorium’s president over this past year has really allowed for me to be involved not just in the rehearsal room, but also behind the scenes. Almost all of my closest friends have been made through theater at Brandeis, and I really couldn’t ask for more! 

  —Jaime Gropper