Multimedia UC Dance Piece Debuts in Philly Fringe Festival

August 29, 2015

Family history is the backdrop for an Ursinus dance professor’s original work that will be performed at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and at the Ursinus Fringe Festival, with an Ursinus alumna in the professional cast.

Under Her Skin, choreographed by Assistant Professor of Dance Jeanine McCain, was inspired by her great-grandmother’s life story, the story of an unmarried woman who had a daughter in 1926. McCain’s great-grandmother went to college and became a high school art teacher in her hometown of Freeland, Pa., and she was a part of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. She kept her relationship to her child a secret, but stayed in the life of her daughter, who was McCain’s grandmother.

“I’m really fascinated by how her life played out, and the dichotomy of her private life versus her public life,” McCain said in an interview with Christopher Munden in Phindie, a Philadelphia independent arts publication. The choice to be secretive, which was a necessity then, is a major theme of the dance piece, as well as the comparison to women today, she said. “Hand-in-hand with that public vs. private theme we are looking at how we deal with the expectations and external pressures of our culture, and what it feels like to live with these ideals being projected onto us,” she said. “It highlights the individuality and universality of femininity.”

The ideas in this piece were originally workshopped with Ursinus student dancers in her classes, and in a piece she created for the UCDC concert in spring, 2013. Gina Masciarelli ’13 was in the original piece and is returning to perform in the new version of the piece in Philly and at Ursinus. She will be joined by 11 dancers.

McCain choreographs with the input of individual dancers. The music was composed by Garrett Hope, a former visiting professor of music at Ursinus. McCain wanted to use a recording of her grandfather singing “Mona Lisa” at a piano bar. Hope decided to base the score off the recording, and from the movement he saw in the studio.

Under Her Skin is at the Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street, September 4-5, 2015. More information can be found at

Under Her Skin is part of the Ursinus Fringe on Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. The full schedule is:

Wednesday, September 16, at 7 p.m.: The UC Fringe Cabaret (Blackbox Theater)
With performances by our own students, faculty and staff!

Thursday, September 17, at 7 p.m.: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Blackbox Theater)
Solo theater performance by guest artist and director Neill Hartley.

Friday, September 18, at 5 p.m.: Dance Cinema Festival (Lenfest Theater)
Screendance selections from around the world.

Friday, September 18, at 8 p.m.: Under Her Skin (Blackbox Theater)
Direct from Philly Fringe, with choreography and video installations by Jeanine McCain.

Saturday, September 19, at 10 p.m.: The Drag Show (Blackbox Theater)
Back by popular demand!