Breena Coco has much to be thankful for. Not only will she be graduate summa cum laude this spring, but the UF Dance student will be performing her choreography, Don’t Worry Your Little Head at the New Grounds Dance Festival in Tampa, Florida May 19-20 and Young Choreographers Festival in New York on June 23.
She said the piece was inspired by her thesis research about the restrictiveness of female etiquette in the 19th century.
“Don't Worry Your Pretty Little Head is not a direct narrative, but it is based on the research I completed for my senior thesis with the dance department on how the restrictiveness of female etiquette in the 19th century led to an inequality in treatment between the sexes,” she said. “I found this amazing resource, The Ladies' Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness: A Complete Handbook for the Use of the Lady in Polite Society. Some of the gesture work and details that I layered on top of the main phrase work is me pushing back on the absurdity of the guidelines. For example, women were told not to cross their arms or let them swing besides them, to never point their finger, and to never look right or left when walking unless they were about to turn that way. Crazy stuff like that.”
She said she is looking forward to hearing people's interpretations of the piece and hopes that the individualistic nature of the piece sticks with the audience.
“I would just hope that the idiosyncratic nature of the choreography would stick in their heads,” she said. “I would also love the audience to try to piece together what the intensity paired with the Victorian-inspired costumes paired with the physical manipulation and constructing partner duets could mean. I love hearing people's interpretations of what the piece is about!”
She said that students looking to have a career in dance should embrace being different and trust their guts.
“UF dance program has fostered this safe space for weird dancers, which I'm so grateful for,” she said. “I also think it is super important as a choreographer to find opportunities to show your work. The internet is chock full of amazing opportunities, but it's your responsibility to find them.”