Summer Study 2014

By Colleen Culley

When I was an undergraduate dance major summers were pivotal times of growth as I got to participate in dance festivals, meet dancers and choreographers from around the world, stage manage main-stage shows, and see and do kinds of dance I had only read about. Between festivals and courses I found work often in dance where I could explore my own pedagogical identity. It has been a delight to hear about what current majors have planned for their upcoming summers, many are following similarly exciting pathways.

Emilie Gerst, Morgan Hasson, Jordan Lloyd, and Chloe London will be going to the American Dance Festival as full time students! Kayla McNabb will also be going the American Dance Festival working as a stagecraft apprentice and taking two dance classes held at the festival in the mornings!

Alexis Hills will be heading to Bates Dance Festival!

Jasmine Perez will be a counselor for camp Danbee in Hinsdale Massachusetts, a girls fitness camp. As a counselor and a fitness instructor she will be teaching classes in yoga, modern, ballet, and zumba. She is so excited to travel and meet people from all over the world and share new experiences with people that share a passion to teach and work with the youth.

Jeneé Skinner will be working at the Drake Memorial Library and attending the Doug Varone Intensive hosted by the College at Brockport.

Chelsea Spraker will be working with the New York State Summer School of the Arts this summer, within their modern dance program. It’s a great program for high school students to gain pre-professional experiences. Even cooler, PBS is doing a documentary / movie on NYSSSA this summer! Chelsea will work with students as a counselor and mentor, as she did the program herself when she was in high school!

Haley Zdebski will be jumping into her first job after graduation! She will be going to work in Connecticut this summer as a senior staff member and instructor at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, for ages 9-14 associated with the Russian American Foundation.

Now as a graduate student my summers have changed, but still include a great deal of ‘getting out there’. I will be traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland for the Bill Evans Teacher Intensive and then to Salt Lake City, UT, to teach as faculty at Integrated Movement Studies. My graduate student colleagues are also planning some pretty cool summers. Here is a sampling:

Marissa Aucoin, Morgan Bernat, and Samantha Johnson will be staying the Rochester area to work intensely on a collaborative show for Rochester’s 2014 Fringe Festival.

Daniel Reichert will be traveling to Salt Lake City, UT, to the Integrate Movement Studies Certificate Program in Laban Movement Analysis. He is excited about how the graduate level certificate program can support his research and teaching of Capoeira.

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Scholars Day 2014

Scholars Day was recently held at The College at Brockport on April 9th. MFA candidates, Bethany Good and Samantha Johnson, each took time to write about their experiences that day. Bethany Good discussed viewing the presentations of her peers, while Samantha Johnson talked to graduate student, Morgan Bernat about what is was like to present a written paper and choreographic showing. Check it out below:

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By Bethany Good

In addition to the opportunity to present your own work, Scholars Day allows students and faculty to see what others around campus are working on.  This year I was able to not only present a paper and perform a self-choreographed solo, but also witness amazing choreography from others and hear intelligent and thoughtful papers from my peers.

My day started out with listening to senior BFA Brett Cox in his presentation Beyond the Skirts:  An In-depth Look at Gender Roles and Sterotypes Associated with Western Concert Dance.  He asked us to question what we think of as masculine or feminine, and instead look at performers as humans who, although living through different experiences, have the same basic emotions.  To enhance his words, Cox presented a duplicate showing of his choreographic work Echoes, the first showing with an all-male cast and the second with an all-female cast.  Cox asked his audience to consider how the different casts affected the movement, bringing to life emotions rather than masculinity or femininity.

In a later session senior Caitlin Mahon presented her senior honors thesis:  The Dance of Politics:  All for One and None for All.”  Mahon shared her research process of politics and the distribution of power.  This was followed by her choreographic thesis, a work comprised of strong dancers and performers, bringing Mahon’s research to life through the divide of two groups.  These two groups clearly demonstrated one as more oppressive, holding more power than the other.

These two snippets represent just a couple snapshots of what the dance department presented this year during Scholars Day.  Other presentations included MFA thesis works, a recap of the NDEO Dance 2050 conference, and papers bringing research sources to life.

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By Samantha Johnson

Samantha Johnson (SJ): What did you enjoy most about your experience at Scholars Day?
Morgan Bernat (MB): I enjoyed the experience of sharing my work with an audience that wasn’t all dance people. I especially enjoyed showing my work in progress because I feel like there is always this finished product shine that work has when it is performed. I enjoyed the experience of exposing a large audience of dancers and non-dancers to the roughness that is a work in progress.

SJ: Did you enjoy the experience of being an active participant?
MB: I did enjoy this experience because it pushed me to understand how I can speak to dancers and non-dancers in a cohesive and effective way. I had to be especially careful in the breakdown of what I was talking about and I enjoyed the challenge of finding new ways to describe my choreographic work and my research.

SJ: What part of Scholars Day had the largest impact on you as a graduate student?
MB: I feel like I don’t have the opportunity to talk about my research that often. I talk about dance making much more frequently and it is something I am comfortable with. This was a great opportunity to get more comfortable talking about my research in a professional setting. It taught me a lot about who I am as a presenter of research in addition to my creative presentations.

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Getting to Know Ed Rice!

By Angie Muzzy

Recently, I sat down with visiting Guest teacher, Ed Rice to discuss his journey to Hartwell Hall. Ed currently dances with Alexandra Beller (www.alexandrabellerdances.org), Third Rail Projects (http://thenshefell.com/), and Punch Drunk’s Sleep No More (http://www.sleepnomore.com/#share). When he is not performing with these projects on the weekend, you can find Ed teaching Modern Technique and Intermediate Composition here at The College at Brockport.

The following are a few of the many questions I asked, however, I encourage everyone to take a moment and have conversation with Ed while he’s here!

Angie Muzzy (AM): How did you meet Karl? (Here’s some context, Ed is currently filling in for Assistant Professor Karl Rogers, while Karl is performing with David Dorfman Dance in Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan).

Ed Rice (ER): Karl and I met in 2007 through the David Dorfman Dance work, The Underground, and we have performed together with Heidi Henderson, and in other various projects. We have mutual friends, and we have formed a friendship overtime since our initial meeting. I find him to be a wonderful colleague who understands the breadth of the field, both in a performance and academic setting.

AM: You were teaching at Dance New Amsterdam and now Gibney Dance in New York City, how do you like teaching in an academic setting?

ER: I enjoy being able to work with people consistently and focus on teaching a technique class for seven weeks.  Teaching in the city, I focused more on the promotion of my class and business side of things, with classes usually meeting once a week or once a week for a month. Here, I can concentrate on the students and use my skills to share ideas. For example, in Intermediate Dance Composition the students are investigating site-work and adaptivity- how space informs history.  Since so much of the work I’m performing now utilizes concepts of space, I am able to provide the students with a different perspective on the subject matter.

AM: Do you have any advice to graduating seniors and grad students here at Brockport?

ER: Undergraduates: Remain curious. Try to find a community to support your interests whether it is performing, teaching, choreographing or taking classes.  NYC is not the only place to be. Some great dance communities are Chicago, Minneapolis, Austin, Seattle, and San Francisco, although NYC is great too!

Graduate Students: Try and balance tenacity and allowance.  Whether your interests are performing, choreography or teaching, continue to seek something.  Keep on doing that thing and try not to get too bogged down because eventually things will shift!

For more information check out Ed Rice’s website: http://edwarderice.com/

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From China To New York: The Journeys of A Brockport Graduate Student

By Allison Bohman

Siwen Jiang, a second year MFA candidate at the The College at Brockport: The State University of New York has not only contributed a great deal to the Brockport community, but she has also shared her artistry among international dancers and choreographers during visits to New York City.  Originally from Hefei, China (near Shanghai), Siwen came to Brockport to deepen her studies in contemporary dance and learn about the American education model in the hopes up developing relations in dance between China and America.

During several visits to New York City within the last year, Siwen has studied dance extensively at Peridance on full scholarship. She was highly involved in organizing Chinese student study at this eminent NYC school.  Furthermore, Siwen has had the outstanding opportunity to dance professionally and choreograph in several performances.  From these experiences, Siwen shared that she “realized the importance of a positive and supportive rehearsal environment and how to contribute to it.”

The first performance opportunity Siwen had was at The New York Chinese Cultural Center, where she danced with Daijian, an artist originally from China with roots in contemporary dance, classical dance, and Martial Arts.  He joined New York-based Shen Wei Dance Arts in 2005 and Trisha Brown Dance Company in 2008, and he was Shen Wei’s assistant for the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  Siwen was thrilled to participate in this show featuring contemporary art from three different choreographers.  To view some experts of this show, you can visit:

http://en.sinovision.net/shows/sinovision-journal/item/335-sinovision-journal-9-27.html

Next, Siwen collaborated her choreography with a technology exploration at The Pratt Institute in the DDA Gallery.  This piece, titled “Shall We Talk” featured Siwen Jiang and Conrad Andrew Taylor as dancers with interaction artist Jing Bao.  It was an interactive dance experience because audience members were given ipads and could text message the words they wanted to see layered on the media screen where the dancers were moving.  The installation was intended to reveal that people are separated by an invisible barrier.  The things we see are actually imposed by our own desire.  In reflecting on the process, Siwen explained that her “experience as the director in the dance allowed [her] to explore how to initiate and maintain a welcoming, inclusive and creative setting.”  To check out Siwen’s performance, you can visit http://vimeo.com/81170404.

Most recently, Siwen has organized and participated in a flash mob video initiative through The Future Student Club (FSC) “to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Sino-US diplomatic relationship.” The FSC is committed to helping international students integrate into American society by offering students career guidance, networking platforms, and opportunities to be involved in community volunteering activities.   She was responsible for organizing this event and was a director of the flash mob video that will be shown on major video and social platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Youku and Renren in both the United States and China. The flash mob video will additionally be sent to the Chinese Consulate in New York and the government of New York City as a gift for the 35th anniversary of Sino-US diplomatic relationship.   The video will be released to the public sometime in the next two weeks.

This summer, Siwen will have the honor of working with Houying Dance Company, who has been granted the right to develop a Chinese American Dance Festival, going into its third year.  She will participate in the American Dance Festival in New York City and then will return to China to run the Chinese American Dance Festival program, sharing her talents as a translator, teacher assistant, and program organizer.

From China to Brockport to New York City, Siwen Jiang is certainly leaving her artistic imprint on each community she comes into contact with.  Not only is she a beautiful dancer and person on the inside and out, but she is also determined to fulfill her dreams, which is an inspiration to us all.  She explained that these activities “broaden her knowledge in the dance field and also improve her abilities in organization, cooperation, and communication.”  Siwen has been able to meet a lot of people who have the same passion and pursuit for dance as she does. These experiences will not only play a crucial role in her life, but also make vital connections for future artists of both China and America.

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Professor Karl Rogers Heads on International Tour

By Julia Zdrojewski

Assistant Professor of Dance, Karl Rogers has a particularly unique schedule this semester. Just a few short weeks after successfully coordinator the 2014 Northeast Region American College Dance Festival at The College at Brockport, he is flying off to Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to tour with David Dorfman Dance this spring and summer.

David Dorfman Dance was selected by DanceMotion USA for this specific tour, taking place in April and May of this year. DanceMotion USA is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State, and produced by BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) that serves as a cross-cultural exchange program that works to connect America’s finest dance companies with international artists and communities.

“A main mission of DanceUSA is to bridge cultural distance through dance. I will be working in predominantly Islamic areas- collaborating with a tango company in a Kurdish area of Turkey, learning folk dances from a national company in Turkmenistan, and sharing with special needs communities in Uzbekistan,” Rogers said.

Throughout the extent of the tour, Rogers, who has performed with David Dorfman dance for the past eight years, will be kept busy with these workshops and outreach events, as well as teaching master classes for local dancers and participating in public performances. All of these events are done with the idea of cultural communication and understanding in mind.

DanceMotion USA makes a great effort to showcase contemporary American dance abroad as a tool to facilitate global exchange. One way the program works to achieve this goal is through social media. With a presence on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, we can all follow DanceMotion USA to not only appropriately-stalk Rogers and David Dorfman Dance, but companies such as CONTRA-TIEMPO who will be visiting Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador, and The Mark Morris Dance Group in Cambodia, China, Taiwan and Timor Leste.

After the tour has ended, Rogers will be returning to Brockport for the fall semester, while continuing to perform with David Dorfman Dance. Kevin Warner, the chair of the Dance Department, was delighted for Rogers while sharing the news with our students, saying, “This is a unique and special opportunity for Karl, and also for us as we learn from/about the experiences that Karl will bring back to all of us here at Brockport.”

Rogers himself echoed the excitement stating, “I have no doubt these experiences will broaden my physical palette, push me to employ different rhythmic structures and allow me to reconsider my own understanding of American modern dance. Honestly, I’m excited to shake things up and bring it back to Brockport. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.”

We are all thrilled for Rogers and the exciting experiences he has ahead of him this spring, and definitely look forward to his stories and return in the fall… until then, Instagram will have to do.

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Students Reflect on ACDFA at Brockport

Just recently the Department of Dance at The College at Brockport hosted the 2014 Northeast Region American College Dance Festival. Our own students proved to be incredible hosts as they volunteered all over campus to help the conference successfully. Below undergraduate students, Cameron McCarthy, Jordan Lloyd and Chloe Leibrick, wrote about their perspectives of the conference from various vantage points and discussed how a community of dancers from all over the northeast was formed in just a few days.

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Written by Cameron McCarthy

This year Brockport’s Dance Department hosted ACDFA. Each student in the department was assigned certain tasks and jobs in order to make sure all the scheduled events ran smoothly. As a member of this department, my job fell under the category of production, more specifically an ASM, or assistant stage manager. While I also worked some of the Informal Concerts in Hartwell Theater, I also worked several of the Adjudicated Performances in the Black Box Theater in Tower. The experience I gained working behind the scenes was a similar but different energy as opposed to actually performing in such a concert. From the wings, one could hear the sounds of gels being quickly changed, dancers whispering “merde” to each other as nervous energy was calmed by the fast-paced movements of warming up, and the stage manager speaking through the headsets regarding what needed to happen next. As the house lights dimmed, the audience grew quiet, all that could be heard back stage was the faint whisper “dancers go;” the show has just begun.

However, there is a whole other world that exists before and after each piece performs that the audience doesn’t get to experience. Dancers swarmed backstage with nervousness, stretching and warming up a couple more seconds before it was their turn to perform. Collectively, each cast seemed to have their own way of connecting with one another. From high fives to back rubs, connectivity was made. My favorite part of witnessing this connectivity was when they came together in a circle, embraced arms, and simply breathed together. It was at this moment when all of their nervous energy, mine included, seemed to dissipate with each collective breath. Just as soon as they were preparing backstage, it seemed like in the blink of an eye, all of their hard work that had brought them to this very moment hung in the air then faded with the dimming of the lights. Each show, whether performing on stage or helping out backstage, has a different fleeting energy that is difficult to fully explain. For me, it was such a wonderful experience to witness and feel this energy during ACDFA because it brought a whole new perspective to how other schools and various different casts prepare for that “once in a lifetime” moment.
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Written by Jordan Lloyd

Brockport’s Department of Dance had the pleasure of hosting the 2014 Northeast Region American College Dance Festival, informally known as ACDFA. Basically, the collegiate dance world invaded Brockport for about five days. The jam-packed festival occupied about three buildings across campus, one of them being Hartwell Hall, home of the Department of Dance. Throughout the week Hartwell saw some extremely talented dance scholars, musicians from across the coast, and more than enough combat boots and scarves to clothe the participants.

Kicking off on Thursday, classes were being taught in almost every room from 8am to about 5pm each day. Members of the Brockport Dance family worked as hall monitors, door monitors and hospitality members. Spaces such as the Rose L. Strasser Studio and Studio 64 saw some class sizes nearing maximum capacity with classes like Hip-Hop Fusion being offered by our own adjunct faculty member, Nicole Kaplan. Some classes would be packed, but it was great to see a community of dancers forming as the week progressed.

Walking around Hartwell there was no escaping the praise the department was receiving for its highly equipped and spacious facilities. One of the biggest hits was our Conditioning Lab and Injury Prevention Room. Visiting students told us that Brockport is one of the few programs to offer amenities such as this.

Though the majority of the dancers stayed busy between classes, running to Tower Fine Arts to tech shows, and running to the Union to grab a catered lunch, the teachers and faculty were treated to a relaxing lounge, which was transformed from one of our more spacious conference rooms. The lounge was filled with snacks, coffee, tea, and lots of chatter. What was a reunion to some was an introduction to others, but by day five it was clear that ACDFA brings dancers together. I think that more important than the dancing, the classes, or even the Gala was the reminder that ACDFA is a place for dancers to communicate. The halls were filled with laughter, the nights were filled with socials and dinners, the days were filled with networking and classes, and most of all Brockport was filled with dancers.

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Written by Chloe Leibrick

My name is Chloe and I recently had the privilege of co-coordinating the ACDFA Hospitality Committee with graduate student, Allison Bohman. I had the opportunity to greet all of our dancing guests as they sleepily arrived in Hartwell on our first day of classes, and was also given the responsibility of organizing and distributing boxed lunches for everyone in attendance of the Festival.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had while serving boxed lunches to the droves of hungry dancers that shuffled through our Union Square. I feel so fortunate to have been able to work with some truly wonderful people, who in spite of stress and a few spills, never failed to make me laugh and remind me of the wonderful family that is the Brockport Dance Department.

I was also so pleased to see that, despite travel difficulties set in motion by the infamous “Vulcan,” 7:30 am registrations/warmups, and nightly performances, each dancer who came through our sandwich line was warm, polite, and always up for socialization! One of my favorite parts of each day occurred when the lunch rush would die down and we could have a little bit of time to just get to know everyone. The best part was that everyone sat together, at tables, on the floor, on couches, etc, so everyone could get to know everyone else. It was a real treat to be able to just have a pause and relax a bit with some new friends who all share the same true love for dance.

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Student Dance Organization hosts annual Dance Awareness Days

By Lauren Saint-Louis

Every spring semester the Student Dance Organization under Brockport Student Government hosts a two-day event known as Dance Awareness Days. Current SDO Event Coordinator, Lauren Saint-Louis and Vice President, Erin Lowden organized and curated all aspects of this year’s successful occasion. Most recently held on Thursday, February 20th and Friday, February 21st, students, dancers and members of the Brockport and Rochester community participated in a variety of free dance classes in multiple and unique genres. SDO’s main objective as a Brockport organization is to reach out to those who may not be as familiar with the art form and provide accessible ways for those to learn and explore dance, ultimately raising interest and awareness.

What makes Dance Awareness Days unique is that it gives the community a chance to expand and create their own experience of dance, while also reconnecting Brockport alumni with current students. Many alumni return to participate each year along with current faculty, graduate students and a handful of guest artists from within New York State. Highlights from this year included classes in “Broadway Repertoire”, “House Dance”, “Ballet Stretch & Strength”, “Argentine Tango” and “New Jazz” to name a few. This year’s event was fortunate to have a well represented group of guest artists from Brooklyn, to Detroit and Buffalo. Summer Torrance, owner of “Body by Summer” in Brockport, taught her famous “Zumba” and “Turbo Kick” classes, while alumni Kristi Faulkner and Mark Schmidt taught “House Dance” and “Composition”. The artistic directors of Classical Ballet of Western New York, William Gentes and Susannah Dwyer also provided a men’s and women’s ballet technique class followed by a classical partnering experience. Collaborating BSG clubs were The Hip Hop Dance Club and the Swing Dance Society, who also taught classes in their expertise.

A new addition this year to D.A.D was a “Careers in Dance” panel discussion comprised of a group of seven alumni and moderated by current MFA candidate Julia Zdrojewski. In collaboration with the Living Learning Communities, the Office of Alumni Relations and the Department of Dance Chair, Kevin Warner, the evening consisted of an hour discussion and reception. Panelists included Mark Schmidt (MFA 2008), Kristi Faulkner (MFA 2010), Deb Lipa-Ciotta (MA 1989), Lindsey Rozzi (MFA 2002), Kelly Johnson (MFA 2011), Nicolette DePass (BS 1994) and Eddie Murphy (BS 1983, current Brockport faculty). They all spoke on behalf of their experience in respective facets of the dance field. Careers included artistic company director, public school dance education, higher education in dance, studio owner, strength and conditioning trainer, and professional performer. Valuable insight was given to aspiring students on how they could also achieve success in the dance field. Upon being asked “What is the one piece of advice you have for dancers about to graduate from Brockport?” or “What experiences or skills did you acquire at Brockport that you feel best prepared you for a career in dance?” each of them had extremely positive and unique responses that inspired many dancers and students in the audience.

Overall this year yielded over 300 participants, 30 classes and approximately 50 guests from surrounding areas. Dance Awareness Days is one of the main events that Student Dance Organization is honored to host every year and continues to receive growing support. Extending the experience of dance to the college and greater Brockport community has its own reward, and this year was no exception.

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Spring Thesis Choreographers Discuss Their Graduate Work

Friends of Brockport Dance recently sat down with MFA Graduate Students, Adrian Safar, Amy Sullivan and Yang Wang to discuss the process of creating work for their thesis projects this semester. Together they talked about generating movement, themes in their work and their written research. Check out the conversation below:

Friends of Brockport Dance (FOBD): What themes or ideas are you exploring in your thesis work?

Amy Sullivan: For my thesis I crafted a site-specific work, which means I am creating my movement and material according to the site. The dancers and I are taking in the textures, architecture, and qualities of the space and letting them influence the dance making. For example, one of my dancers was assigned to a corner of the room with an old beat up piano in which she explored its architecture, framing the object and space around it with her movement. Along with exploring the architecture, we have really played with the texture of the floor, which brings out a lot of swiping motifs using different parts of the body to complete the action.

Adrian Safar: My thesis work is an exploration of protest without being confrontational. It’s an exploration of the manipulation of speech, the appropriateness of language and the struggle of communication. It’s a journey through the process of my experience as well as the greater social struggle to connect and be heard.

FOBD: How, if at all, is your creative thesis related to your written thesis?

Adrian: My written work is focusing on the protest works of three choreographers (Donald Byrd, Paul Taylor and Daniel Nargin). I started by reviewing these works and studying the foundations of modern dance as communications of protest through the 1930-40’s.

Amy: My written thesis is all about site-specific dance, including the history, choreographers, definitions, and the kinesthetic response of the audience members to the specific performance. A large part of my research will include my own process as well as anonymous surveys from my audience, gathering their kinesthetic experience.

FOBD: Can you talk a little bit about working with your cast of dancers for the past several weeks?

Yang Wang: I really enjoyed working with my cast of beautiful and intelligent dancers. Sometimes I would show them a movement theme I was working on, and then let them play with it in their own bodies. I appreciated the process of working together because they allowed me to see more movement possibility through their bodies.

Adrian: I chose a very diverse range of movers for this work, from level to experience to background and approach to the body. I have enjoyed the challenge of communicating ideas and qualities of movement to them and seeing the process and exploration of attack. I have had the pleasure of working with a present group of artists.

FOBD: What were the factors in choosing to premiere your thesis work in the specific concert it will be showing at?

Yang: I chose Hartwell Theater because I was looking for space that allowed for my dancers to gather energy throughout the performance. Therefore, the space could not be too big. The first theme of my thesis is called “coral breath.” I imagine my dancers hidden and just performing the movement with their arms. Hartwell Theater provides the perfect conditions for my design, since the curtains can help hide certain parts of the performer’s bodies.

Amy: I originally chose Rose L. Strasser Studio, not knowing I would eventually be showing the thesis as site-specific performance. Therefore, I chose to show an excerpt of the piece in Strasser and left the full performance to the site-specific location, located in Rochester, called the Monroe Park Vineyard Community Center. Though the two spaces are incredibly different they share a similar viewing experience, which is a dance viewed from all sides.

FOBD: Any advice to graduate student beginning their creative thesis projects soon?

Yang: I encourage other graduate students to start their thesis early, and always be fully prepared for each rehearsal.

Adrian: When you become content with your work, go back in and mess it up and be riskier, it’s through that challenge that some of the best thoughts surface. Stay in communication with your dancers and yourself. Get excited and then get bored and then make it exciting again.

Amy: I think it is helpful to know that your original image or preconceived notion of what your thesis “should” look like is probably not going happen. The sooner you let go of that image the better; this creates room for the work to become what it wants to be.

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Undergraduate Student Discusses Internship at Jacob’s Pillow

By Jen Dayton

On January 5, 2014 I left for Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Massachusetts to start an artist services internship. While I was driving to Jacob’s Pillow that day I remember all the thoughts going through my head in anticipation of my experience. Driving back to Brockport three weeks later to start classes, I had no idea I would leave feeling content, accomplished, and as if I found a new sense of independence and purpose as someone who loves the arts.

While I was interning at Jacob’s Pillow I learned a lot about what it would be like to work in the off season festival environment and how much planning and preparation takes place before a world renowned festival such as Jacob’s Pillow begins. The levels of details that go into planning a prestigious festival can be overwhelming at times. The primary planning goal is to make sure everything runs smoothly during the festival and that all of the artists, companies, and seasonal faculty will be happy and get what they need. In large part, this goal can only be accomplished by communicating with the attending artists from all around the world and making sure all of their requests are covered. The work involved in the planning phase of the festival includes a review of artist contracts to ensure the right information and details are included, negotiations that have to occur, packets that need to be put together, finding places for the companies to stay, company meals and transportation. These are just a few things the department I interned with needed to take care of before the festival can begin.

One of the most memorable experiences I had at Jacobs’s Pillow occurred when I first arrived. I was staying in a house that many companies over the years had stayed in, and I remember trying to picture all of the professional dancers that had stayed in that farmhouse and wondering where they are today (most of them probably being some of my dance idols). Also, upon arriving that first day, I will never forget meeting all of the full time faculty and being given a tour of the grounds. Walking around the campus at Jacob’s Pillow and seeing the theaters was inspiring to me. The history behind a prestigious festival and how the campus was created and built still amazes me. Being able to intern at a place filled with so much history and dance was what made this experience that much more fulfilling. The companies that have performed in these theaters, Ted Shawn and his dancers building parts of the campus at Jacob’s Pillow and the Carter Family’s background on how Jacob’s Pillow was named; without the passion of these ground-breakers, the world at Jacob’s Pillow might not exist.

To sum it up, being able to intern at Jacob’s Pillow and feel as if I was a tiny part of what makes Jacob’s Pillow stay alive with the work I put in, made me feel a sense of accomplishment in doing my part as an advocate for the arts and the dance world. Furthermore, I will be returning to Jacob’s Pillow this summer to learn even more and experience all of the magic as the festival begins in May and I could not be more thrilled.

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Brockport Prepares for the American College Dance Festival

By Julia Zdrojewski

The College at Brockport’s Department of Dance is excited to be hosting the 2014 American College Dance Festival Association’s Northeast Region Conference, March 12-16, in Brockport, NY. Karl Rogers is coordinating the festival along with faculty and professional staff members, Benoit Beauchamp, Maura Keefe, Kevin Warner (chair), and graduate assistants Angie Muzzy and Julia Zdrojewski. Together they have planned an exciting agenda, including four days of master classes, summer program auditions, opportunities for student and faculty exchanges and multiple concerts featuring adjudicated works from colleges and universities all over the Northeast.

At the upcoming conference, students and faculty will be able to present academic papers with one another. The theme for these paper presentations is Re: thinking dance, and it aims to engage a conversation around dance and choreography by asking the questions: How does dancing contribute knowledge? How does choreography contribute meaning? How does a particular choreographer’s vision contribute to a culture? In what ways can dance theorize? How might dance reflect and/or create meaning?

In addition to these paper presentations, there will also be two performances of faculty choreographed and performed work that has been selected by an adjudication committee, as well as two performances of the Gala Concert that will conclude the conference on Sunday, March 16th. We are also thrilled to announce our adjudicators for this spring: Jan Erkert, Joe Goode and Gerald Casel.

Brockport faculty and students alike are excited to be hosting the event this upcoming spring, as it is a big honor bestowed upon our department. As a result, our students will be participating in hosting duties throughout the conference in addition to participating in classes and viewing performances.

The American College Dance Festival Conference is an opportunity for students and faculty members from a variety of colleges and universities to gather together and share in their love of dance. The conference provides the time and space for participants to step outside of their traditional school settings and experience the diversity present in the collegiate dance scene; activities include master classes, lectures, research presentations and faculty and staff concerts. The exchange of information that occurs at this conference is a great learning opportunity for all involved, and The College at Brockport’s Department of Dance could not be more thrilled to be hosting the Northeast’s ACDFA this spring!

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