Alumni Spotlight: Rachel List

 "Streets of Gold.". with The Company, circa 1988. Photo by Gideon Lewin.  Company Members, clockwise spiral from top left: David Tichner, Michael Scott, Margaret Morrison, Michael Samsonia, Evan Stover, Marco Brehm, Ira Bernstein, Ted McKnight, Marjorie Berman, JeanneChin, Rachel List, Bill Vanaver and Livia Vanaver Drapkin Vanaver. 

"Streets of Gold.". with The Company, circa 1988. Photo by Gideon Lewin.  Company Members, clockwise spiral from top left: David Tichner, Michael Scott, Margaret Morrison, Michael Samsonia, Evan Stover, Marco Brehm, Ira Bernstein, Ted McKnight, Marjorie Berman, JeanneChin, Rachel List, Bill Vanaver and Livia Vanaver Drapkin Vanaver. 

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: RACHEL LIST

 Rachel List, headshot.

Rachel List, headshot.

Rachel List, Director of the Dance Program at Hofstra University

Rachel was a longtime member of The Vanaver Caravan (beginning in 1975) and toured with the company both nationally and internationally. She was also a member of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Partridge/Benford/Dance/Music and the New York Baroque Dance Company. Currently, Ms. List is the Director of the Dance Program at Hofstra University and also teaches ballet at the Peridance Capezio Center in Manhattan.  

She has served on the faculties of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Queens College, Barnard College, the Balettakademien in Stockholm, Sweden and Danse Projektet in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ms. List has taught master classes in Baroque dance at a variety of schools and universities including the Juilliard School, New York University, Vassar College, Swarthmore College, Columbia University, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Bard Graduate Center, and Texas Woman’s University.  Ms. List was the movement consultant for the Pearl Theatre Company’s production of Marivaux’s Double Infidelities and the choreographer for their production of Wycherly’s The Gentleman Dancing Master. She also choreographed Dido and Aeneas (Purcell), The Tender Land (Copland), and Orpheus in the Underworld (Offenbach) for the Bronx Opera Company and was a consultant for New York City Opera’s production of Telemann’s Orpheus.  Ms. List created numerous works for her own company from 1985-’95 and continues to choreograph for students at Hofstra.  She was the founder and director of Manchester Dance, a summer workshop in Vermont from 1987-’97 and is frequently on the faculty of the Bates Dance Festival in Maine.  

Working with the Vanaver Caravan was definitely one of the most important experiences of my life ... I carry this experience with me every day. Livia and Bill are so talented, generous, and tireless in their efforts to spread joy and understanding in the world. I wish them many, many more productive years. Sending much, much love.
— Rachel List

Here's What Rachel Had To Say About Her Time w/ The Vanaver Caravan . . .

1. What age did you start dancing with The Vanaver Caravan? 18

2. For how many years did you study/perform with TVC? About 20, though not all in a row.

3. Give us three to five words you'd use to describe the overall feeling you get when you think of that time. It was exciting, inspiring, fun, crazy and opened my eyes to so many new worlds of dance and music that I had never even know about before meeting Livia and Bill.

4. In what ways has The Vanaver Caravan impacted/shaped the life you live today? Probably the most important thing is that I met my husband Michael Sansonia who was a member of Bill's band. After going on a 7 week tour of Europe with the VC we moved in together and haven't been apart ever since. And that resulted in our wonderful son, Mason Sansonia.

5. Tell us a story! Can you share an event, memory, funny anecdote, or quote from your history with Livia and Bill & the rest of The Caravan? Our travels around Europe resulted in many, many amazing experiences since Livia and Bill would never miss an opportunity to explore our surroundings. I remember one trip in our big tour bus that took us to the top of a mountain to visit a castle. After we all had a great time exploring, we got back on the bus only to find that there was no space for the driver to turn around. So, he had to back this huge bus down a small winding road all the way to the bottom. Luckily, he was an excellent driver! Another amazing experience was when I got to "call" a square dance for about 500 people in a train station in Lyon, France. Of course, many of the participants felt the need to come up to the stage and correct my French afterward...oh well.

6. Do you have a favorite song/dance that you learned with The Vanaver Caravan? So many! Appalachian clogging, French Canadian clogging, Kopanitza, Boston Fancy, Motherless Children, the swing dance between Grandma Sunni and the Cowboy, Wondrous Love, "Run Carrot Run" - and even though I didn't get to perform them, I loved watching the Sword Dance, the Boot Dance and hearing Bill and Livia sing many songs like the Engineer Song and songs from Greece and Eastern Europe.

7. One last question...

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... Do you feel that your experience with The Vanaver Caravan reflects our mission statement? In what ways? Absolutely! Through working and traveling with TVC, I learned about many other cultures that I had never known about. This knowledge and understanding is now passed down to the college students I work with every day. I feel blessed to have had the experiences that I did with the Caravan and I am so impressed with the way Livia and Bill continue their work both in the US and around the world. They are outstanding cultural ambassadors!

Thank you, Rachel. We love you!


In case you missed it, Here is Our Spring Fund Drive 2018 Mission:

One of the common threads in any thriving, happy, peaceful society, is a feeling among the people, of belonging and being understood. The Vanaver Caravan provides workshops, performances, and on-going school programs that directly help people understand and connect to one-another. 

This spring, our goal is to fill our alumni scholarship fund, which will help bring new students of lower means into our after school and summer programs--into our dance community. 

We have a lot of alumni. Over 50,000 students and dancers across the globe, from more than 1,000 schools. We couldn't get in touch with every one of them, but we have reached out to some of our alumni to see how they are using their Vanaver Caravan teachings to make an impact in the world. For the next 6 weeks, we'll bring you new stories from old friends, just like Rachel's! Next week, we catch up with our beloved Sariyah Idan.