Sam Gaitsch | Creative Director | Dancer | Educator | Resident Choreographer | Administrator
Sam is an MFA candidate in Dance at Washington University in St. Louis, class of 2018. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance and Psychology, with a minor in Visual Art in from Washington University in St. Louis, magna cum laude in May of 2015.
She began dancing at the age of six in her hometown of Nashville, TN. She was painfully shy as a child but learned to come out of her shell by training and performing in various dance techniques with the Bellevue Dance Center. She continued her education with the Ensworth High School Dance program under the instruction of Sarah and Tom Shoemaker, Emily Crampton, Jennifer McNamara, and Erin Law. During her high-school years she attended the Vanderbilt University Summer Dance Intensive each summer. In June of 2010 she was selected to attend the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Professional Division Summer Intensive, where she trained in ballet, Horton, Fosse Jazz, Graham, and Caribbean dance techniques.
During her four years at Washington University in St. Louis, she was selected to perform in various works by resident choreographers Christine O'Neal and David Marchant and also by guest artists Jock Soto of NYC Ballet, Sylvia Waters and Elizabeth Roxas of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Rodney Hamilton of Ballet Hispanico, and Kameron Saunders: in Washington University Dance Theater, 2011-2014. She was selected to perform two adjudicated works at the American College Dance Conferences in 2012 and 2015.
She began working with the Slaughter Project Modern Dance Company in the summer of 2012, both as a company member and choreographer, under the direction of Cecil Slaughter. With the Slaughter Project she participated in annual performances in Edison theater, as well as WUSTL's RePerformance Symposium, the St. Louis Art Museum's Gallery Diving event, several National Dance Weeks, and Dancing in the Streets festivals.
In the course of her undergraduate career she choreographed six original works which were selected for Young Choreographers' and Student Dance Showcases. Her works ranged from an emotionally charged solo to a comical, theatrical piece for six dancers. She assistant directed the Student Dance Showcase her sophomore year, and served as co-director her senior year as part of her senior honors thesis. She served as Performing Arts Department Liaison her senior year and was the recipient of the Ian D. Cramer prize for dance upon her graduation.
Post-graduation, Sam started dancing with CKDC. She served as creative director and choreographed works for and performed in "What Brings Us Here," (2015) "Footholds and Foundations,"(2016), "Take Root" (2016), "[re]define" (2017), and "Intrinsic" (2017), She has served as an educator for both youth and adult classes, taught private wedding-dance lessons, as well as fulfilled various administrative duties. She is very proud to call herself a part of the CKDC family.
Sam is currently one of three MFA Candidates in Dance at Washington University in St. Louis, Class of 2018. This inaugural program is an incredible opportunity. Wash U has partnered with Kirven and Antonio Douthit-Boyd (Former principal dancers with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) the new Co-Artistic Directors of COCA: Center for the Creative Arts in St .Louis. Sam feels incredibly grateful to be studying under a team of such inspirational professors.
Since pursuing her MFA, she has had many choreographic and professional opportunities arise. She choreographed Stray Dog Theatre's production of Spring Awakening, the Musical. She then served as assistant choreographer to Christine Knoblauch O'Neal for WashU's production of Urinetown the Musical. Sam is now a staff member at COCA, and will begin as an adjunct professor at St. Louis University in the spring. She looks forward to her final thesis performance on March 24th, 2018 in Edison Theatre. She is grateful for the MFA program, allowing her to develop as a performer, teacher, choreographer, actress, and scholar.