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Lila Kushner ’18 to Debut First Full-Length Dance Performance in Philadelphia, July 5-6, 2024

Growing up, Lila Kushner ’18 took dance classes at the Philadelphia Dance Theatre in Mt. Airy multiple times each week. As an Upper School student at GFS, she’d balance a packed schedule of school classes, homework, and activities with hours of dance instruction in the late afternoon and evening. 

“It was a lot, but everything I learned at GFS helped me feel so prepared for college, particularly learning how to plan my own time and develop my work ethic,” Kushner said. “I had a ton of support from GFS, which enabled me to pursue my love for dance.”

She was able to cultivate her passion for dance and choreography even more deeply at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where she earned a BFA in 2023 in contemporary dance performance, with a composition emphasis. 

Now, back in Philly and a member of the Philadelphia Dance Theatre faculty, Kusher is on the cusp of debuting her first full-length choreographed performance, "This Time Tomorrow (I'll Be Seeing You),” on July 5 and 6 on the theatre’s outdoor summer stage.



It’s a true “full circle” moment, which for Kushner, only adds to the depth of the experience surrounding this professional milestone.

“I went to this dance school from ages 6 to 18, and a lot of the people performing in the piece are friends I met here who I grew up with,” she said. “It’s really special in that way, because we’ve all gone off and done other things, and now we get to reconnect here, at least for a little bit.”

The concept of friends sharing—and diverging from—paths through life is a central theme in the show. Using a train as a metaphor, Kushner’s choreography conveys her perspectives on the connections, changes, and communities that one encounters while on life’s journey.

“We can be headed in the same direction, but people are getting off at different stops, we don’t necessarily know why people are going the direction they are,” Kushner reflected. “I’m also interested in the mundane things that we do every day, like a morning commute, and the concept of a train ties all of that together.”



Kushner has choreographed a number of other pieces, including her award-winning work “Parola”, which won the 2023 Regional Dance America NorthEast Emerging Choreography, and “If, By Chance” which was selected for performance at RDA’s 2024 National Festival, and was awarded the National Choreography Award. But none of her pieces have topped the 12-minute mark. The open format and 50-minute run-time of “This Time Tomorrow” offered her a new quantity of space and latitude to create within. The performance will include solos, duets, trios, and larger groups.

Stylistically, Kusner notes that the show falls under the “very large umbrella” of contemporary dance, with an emphasis on strong athletic movement. 

“There’s a sense of groundedness, some floor work, and a lot of changing levels,” she said. “I also really love partner work, so there’s a lot of really tactile partnering work that happens, where graceful tender moments contrast with moments that feel more sharp-edged.”



Pre-sale tickets are still available for the performance, which guarantee each attendee a pre-set up seat with a prime view of the stage. Additional tickets will be sold at the door, but guests will be required to bring their own chair or blanket, and will offer less of a central view. For more information, visit Kushner’s website or Instagram page.