Sustainability Snapshot: Feature on Junior Dance and Environmental Studies Major Berkley Lane

When Berkley Lane (Corcoran ‘20) dances, she gives a new meaning to the saying “art imitates life.”

April 05, 2019

Picture of Berkley Lane

When Berkley Lane (Corcoran ‘20) dances, she gives a new meaning to the saying “art imitates life.” The sophomore double-majoring in dance and environmental studies has combined both her passion to perform with her desire to make the world a better place.

Through production design – lighting, costumes, music and movement – Lane has choreographed and performed environmental dances depicting a variety of topics from the way the ocean moves to how warm water molecules interact.

“I think people expect it to be so black-and white with facts being like projected on a screen or something,” Lane said. “I think that because it is an art form it’s up for interpretation,”

No matter how you interpret the Lanes’ choreography, one thing is certain: her love for the art.

Lane started dancing at age 2. Her years of “baby ballet” never prepared her for the new ways she’d perform as a Corcoran scholar. Lane has performed in eight school productions and taken courses with veteran dance Professor Maida Withers and GW alumni Dana Tai Soon Burgess.

The small-town South Carolina native knew she wanted to go to college in a city and she knew she wanted to continue to dance.

“The dance program at GW made it very easy to double major,” Lane said. “I dance nearly every day - twice a day sometimes.”  

Picture of Berkley in dance studio

When asked about the intersection of environmental studies and dance, Lane noted that, although there hasn’t been a ton of work done in the past, interest in their overlap is on the rise. She’s currently writing a research paper on choreographer Molissa Fenley and her series titled Water Table, which comments on current global threats to our environment and explores the water patterns.

“I think dance can connect with the cultural, social and ecological aspects of sustainability,” Lane said. “When I do my honors thesis senior year, that’s what I’m going to focus on.”

Lane hopes to work in environmental policy one day. This summer, she’ll be taking her talents and knowledge to the U.S. Green Building Council, where she’ll be doing market research as an intern. She’s also looking forward to taking more sustainability classes at GW.

“I try to take advantage of the opportunities at GW - to take classes, go to forums and attend different DC green scene events,” Lane said. “I think knowledge is power - especially when it comes to the environment.”


Article by Emily Robinson (CCAS ‘19)