Denison Faculty and Students Present Annual December 'Dance Mix' Concert
Posted: November 28, 2005
The Denison University department of dance presents its annual fall concert, "Dance Mix," at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (December 8, 9 and 10) in Doane Dance Performance Space (231 W. College St.). Featured in the concert will be three works in contemporary and ballet styles by dance faculty members Gill Wright Miller, Sandy Mathern-Smith, and Mishele Mennett. Denison dance students will perform in all of the works.
Tickets are $8 general admission, $5 for senior citizens, students and unemployed. For information and reservations please contact Dance Department Production Assistant Jill Uland at (e-mai)l email@example.com, or visit the website: www.denison.edu/dance or call 740-587-6712.
Gill Wright Miller, associate professor of dance and women's studies, will present "Old Jeans and Snapshots," a work inspired by the convergence of several disparate events: the year long theme of home/life hosted by the office of first-year programs and the anthology of writing created in connection with it, the opening arts orientation program for first-year students to explore the Philadelphia art scene with which she was a part, and then the subsequent and startling events that unfolded in New Orleans. Each of these pointed to the notion of home and was made more personal by the destruction of Miller's own family home and ancestral records in New Orleans.
This work for nine performers is dedicated to the idea that home, like life, is delicate, temporary, only roughly symbolized by the material. It is built in our subconscious, as Paul Bennett said, "by rasp and bicycle." Accompanied by music reminiscent of New Orleans, this 20-minute work incorporates text, video and set design contributed and designed by students. Dance majors Jen Guglielimi '06, Abeje Maolud-Sneed '06, and Sarah Drake '08, dance minors Eleni Grove '07, and Sarah Page '08, joined by Katie Sparks '07, Laura Berger '08, Ilke Akcasoy '09, and Christine Mince '09 perform the work. Also included in the work is video design by Mad Mohre '08 and set design by Philip Dickson '09.
Miller teaches courses in cultural studies, movement analysis, feminist theory and anatomy/kinesiology. She writes about the body, gender and embodied experience. Currently she is working on a book about the performative "othered body" in public venues and her certification in Body-Mind CenteringÂ®, a four-year long somatics program headed by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen in Massachusetts.
Sandy Mathern-Smith, associate professor and chair whose area of research is choreography, performance and improvisation, has created a work for six dancers. "Listen Carefully" examines the notion of narrative. Mathern is interested in how we construct narrative and story, the stringing of events that create meaning. Noting that we build meaning non-linearly, that our minds move back and forth through time, making conscious connections and creating meaning through the simultaneous layering of the past with the present and linking ideas with actions; she toys with this by introducing the beginnings of six different stories presented in both movement and text. In "Listen Carefully" the performers move and speak simultaneously. They cut and splice the text and the movement, weaving the stories into new ones, and thereby bringing into question just what constitutes a story or delimits a narrative. Over the course of the work, each viewer will come away with his/her own tale, reminding us of how distinctly we bring our own experiences into understanding.
This 20-minute work is performed by dance majors Jennifer Guglielmi '06, Erin Davidson '07 and Tasmin Pepin-Perry '08 and dance minors Eleni Grove '07, Alexandra Kirkilis '07 and Sarah Page '08 to a mix of music by Bill Frissell, Jack Body, Eve Beglarian and resident musician Brian Casey. Mathern-Smith has been choreographing and performing for the past 20 years. Her interests lie in improvisational performance and in discovering the moment-to-moment choices that are revealed by what has come before and directed by the natural forces acting upon the body. Most recently she has presented "Contained," with the collaborative group MIX. "Contained" is an installation/ performance work involving digital technology in an interactive system of moving panels and projected images to be next presented in Columbus at OSU's Advanced Computing Center for Art and Design (ACCAD) in the spring.
Dance faculty Mishele Mennett spent her first year living inin the house Paul Bennett and his wife built on Burg Street, surrounded by nature and wildlife. "The songs of familiar birds created a deep sense of home, which for me was comfort, joy, and magic. As a child, I watched with delight as my mother actually fed cardinals out of her hand!" In apt response to the year-long Denison theme of "Home/Life" hosted by the First-Year Student Program and in which Paul Bennett's poem about the building of this house, "Built by Rasp and Bicycle," is featured, Mennett created a dance drawing from the movement personalities of various birds: cardinals -- delicate, flighty; blue jays -- aggressive, teasing; chickadees/goldfinches -- quick, laughing, interconnected; crows -- tribal, raucous "eating up the space," recyclers; flowers / butterflies -- exotic, floating, transforming. Her vision for the set, costumes, music, and dance creates a magical memory of being more at home in the "out of doors" than inside. Nine-year-old Meagan Rioux portrays the child at the heart of these memories.
Dancers includeIntermediate student Rioux, Denison dance majors Mariel Gallet '07, Erin Donovan '07, and Tasmin Pepin-Perry '08, dance minors Rachel Lukemire '08, Brooke Hayes '08, Ashley Dunkle '08, Elizabeth Kennedy '09 and Diana Dixon '09, as well as Elise Albrecht '06, Kate Seymour '07, Abbe Wright '07, Danya Elzein '08, Kate Terlecky '09, and Brittany Jackson '09. Meagan Coneybeer '06, a biology and environmental studies major, created the colorful costumes of fantasy and whimsy that are an integral part of the piece. Resident musician and composer Brian Casey has created the sound collage of classical music combined with bird songs, which Mennett recorded during early mornings at Paul and Jeanne Bennett's meadow.
Mennett teaches classes in ballet, experiential anatomy and movement analysis. She is a certified Pilates trainer, licensed massage therapist, and certified Laban movement analyst. She has danced professionally and choreographed works for companies and university students for the past 20 years.
The Doane Dance Performance Space is located in the Doane Dance Building at 231 W. College Street. Parking is available on Broadway and College Streets and in the Fine Arts Parking lot at the corner of Broadway and Cherry St. For more information please call 740/587-6712.
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville -- The annual fall dance concert. "Dance Mix," featuring works choreographed by Denison dance faculty and performed by student dancers; 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Dec. 8, 9 and 10), Doane Dance Performance Space. General admission is $8, students, seniors and unemployed $5. For reservations and information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, go to www.denison.edu/dance or call 740-587-6712.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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