B.A. Math; minor Dance
Hometown: Swan Quarter, NC
Dance Productions: Parliament (2018 and 2020)
Student groups: FORM Magazine (editorial director), volunteer at Animal Protection Society of Durham
Career aspirations: I'm hoping to become a math research professor while I continue to write and create art about dance.
I’m a Math major and Dance minor from Swan Quarter, NC. At Duke, I was involved in math research, as well as a dance project focused on landmarks and movement. In my free time, I enjoy running, writing, and woodworking. Next year, I’ll begin my Ph.D. in math at Stony Brook and eventually hope to earn a graduate degree in creative writing or dance studies.
My favorite memory of Duke Dance was my first day of class for “The Choreographic Mind,” where I began to understand that dance is more than pointing your toes and spinning—dance can be studied through experience, through writing, and through experimentation.
I’d like to thank Professor Michael Kliën for all his encouragement and refreshing approach to studying dance.
A Message from Michael Kliën
Without noticing the years slipped by, and someone recently mentioned to me, “Blythe is graduating this year.” I wasn’t quite ready for this. In my book, we would continue the work that started a few years back in the Ark. You were a young student with a twist—a flair about you—that announced to the world: Here is someone who is different and who really wants to dance. Your mind seemed to belong to mathematics, to theoretical knots and theories that I only read about in books as mystical beings. It seemed to draw you in, and when you collide such passion for the abstract, yet concise thinking with the passion for movement--Boom!
Initially, you tried your best to contort your physical mind into pre-established notions of beauty, and you concluded, to your own frustration, that this might not be your path to enlightenment. Hence, you went down another road less travelled, but one of radical subjectivity, creativity, and dedication. You plowed the field of the possible with your own body—and left me in awe. You just decided to step into this body of yours, to step into your own mind and move as one.
Solos emerged that I believed any ambitious festival of the avant-garde would have been happy to present. You brought the personal into your work, suffered profound loss during your studies, and molded these experiences into something palpable, raw, and beautiful. Your work, your movement, the dances you danced, and the ideas you spun inspired me. I am sure they will touch many more to come, whether they spring forth in abstract mathematical theory or in your writing about the rural South, the deer hunts, the humid nights of mosquito invasion, or, as I might hope, in dances that are not easily categorized but hum with the mystery of a mind beyond her age. I look forward to hearing from you in the future at Stonybrook. Blythe, we will miss you at Duke Dance.
A Message from Ava LaVonne Vinesett