From studios to stages, dancers at CityDance Conservatory diligently perfect their technique and prepare to adapt to different contexts. Juxtapositions, an art exhibit created by Tory Cowles, gave our dancers a transformative experience to bring their interpretations of her artwork into the gallery, juxtaposing dance and visual arts and culminated with live performances at the BlackRock Center in Gaithersburg on February 20th.

This novel program started in Cowles’ studio introducing dancers to the meaning behind her art. The gallery exposed the contrasting themes and colors that could be reproduced through movements. During rehearsals, Lorraine Spiegler established different ideas and themes to spark and inspire the dancers to incorporate them into the choreography.

As one of the dancers, participating in this project, I gained an appreciation for the strength behind collaborating with diverse artists to create a greater, much more powerful art form. Being pushed outside of our comfort zone with abstract objects and a live audience, also required us, as dancers, to quickly adapt to our environment while not losing track of the meaning of the artwork, and the energy it transmitted.

“Dancing in an art gallery propelled me to think actively while dancing in a different manner than usual. I enjoyed considering how to complement my dancing to not just a feeling in my body but also a visual present right in front of me,” Conservatory dancer Makenzie Hymes said.

“Juxtapositions” ignites and feeds the creative thinking process in our dancers using dance and visual arts to generate innovative action in movement through a deeper understanding of artistic elements and ideas,” Lorraine Audeoud Spiegler, Founding Artistic Director of the City Dance Conservatory said.

The successful performances created a bond with BlackRock Center for the Arts that is cherished and has helped to advance the movement to continue to advance the arts in Montgomery County, Maryland.


Juxtapositions” – a creative collaboration between BlackRock Center’s  2022 Installation Artist Tory Cowles, and CityDance Conservatory Founding Artistic Director, Lorraine Spiegler and the dancers.

CityDance Conservatory Dancers:

Avani Agrawal, Ayla Flowers, Berkleigh Hernandez, Ela Sevillia, Ella Berton, Eric Poor, Josephine Meriot, Logan Byrd, Makenzie Hymes, Meghan Lin, Melo Ludwig, Nagi Suzuki, Richard Frye, Simon Tischler.

Thank you to Katie Hechlinger, Lynn Arndt, Rula Jones and the BlackRock Team as well as to Irina Lapteva and Rachel DiLeo and the CityDance Conservatory Team for their support of this integrated arts project.

Videography and editing by Shannon Braine.

Written by Josephine Meriot, CityDance Conservatory Dancer and Intern.