Memories of a Master

When Cornell senior dance lecturer Jim Self heard the news of Merce Cunningham’s death, he was unmoored. “As a teacher, choreographer and person, Merce has been very imprinted on me. I knew he wasn’t there.”
After Merce Cunningham, the revolutionary American choreographer and foremost figure of artistic modernism, died in late June at age 90, his death prompted the dance community at Cornell to contemplate his legacy and influence on memnbers of the department. Some have spoken about the deep loss they have felt — often, despite their only brief encounters with the man.

Univ. Library Allows Free Usage of Digitized Public Domain Items

Open access — the free availability and use of library materials online — took another step forward this month when the Cornell University Library dropped restrictions on the reproduction of public domain items from its collections.

The Library no longer requires users to secure permission or pay any accompanying permissions fees to reproduce or publish material from its digital collections. This announcement, which comes amidst plans by the Cornell Library Board to establish a fund to support open access publishing, has been eagerly received by many in the online community.

According to a press statement, “the Library, as the producer of digital reproductions made from its collections, has in the past licensed the use of those reproductions.”

Cornell Librarians Protest Bill Closing Access to NIH Research

This month, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that would make the National Institutes of Health public access policy permanent, signaling a move towards greater transparency in academia. Under this policy, NIH-funded research, including work by Cornell faculty, will be publicly avaliable. However, another bill introduced in Congress last month seeks to reverse this public access policy and has prompted Cornell’s librarians to take action.
Since last April, the NIH required final, peer-reviewed manuscripts arising from research it funded to be submitted to PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication.

Dancing the Night Away

In the world of Glory and Rue: Street Dances, an imaginary bus rolls across the landscape. Dancers take their places in it: some reading, others texting. The girl at the end of the bus makes her way to the front, followed in sequence by others, who in turn are followed by others. Thus carried forward by the breathtaking, concentrated energy of its passengers, this bus sweeps across the stage like a wave. From the opposite direction, another bus approaches and passes it. It is a brief but serendipitous encounter. Prosaic, but extraordinary.
Staged at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts last weekend by the Department of Theater, Film and Dance, Glory and Rue was an exploration of that chance moment when strangers on the street collide and come together.

Ithaca Ballet: Dancing in the Face of Death

Tragedy strove to reverse itself in Byron Suber’s dance piece, Bach Solo Cello Suite No. 1, Circa 1986. Dancers in black fell to the ground one by one, like birds shot in midair — only to rise again, flinging their skirts with a death-defying joy.
Suber’s dance piece was performed at the State Theatre last Saturday for The Ithaca Ballet’s Winter Repertory Performance alongside with pieces by other choreographers. Bach Solo Cello Suite No. 1, Circa 1986 was an exercise in contrasts.
Dancers whirled together simultaneously with a frightening vigor — producing a dizzying juxtaposition of chaos and order. Neo-classical balletic movements jostled with modern dance techniques for a place in a piece where life and death are intimately intertwined.

Maas Pushes for Later Start Time at Schools

Prof. James Maas Ph.D. ’66, psychology, has attempted to wake his students up to the dangers of sleep deprivation for 44 years in his course Psychology 101: Introduction to Psychology. Now Maas is taking his sleep campaign to schools around the country and enabling high school students to have more snooze time.
In the past two years, Maas has spoken as a sleep specialist at over 100 venues, many of which include Fortune 500 companies.
With the recent emergence of research on adolescent sleep, Maas has extended his campaign to high schools. According to Maas, teenagers face significant challenges in maintaining healthy sleep routines.

Tellin' It Like It Is: Spoken Word in Ithaca

It took a little bit of cajoling and self-conscious laughter at first. But by the end of the evening, each time Marc Bamuthi Joseph ended a stream of rhapsodic, rhythmic poetry with “word word,” the audience, as if cued by magic, came in with their response: “word word.”
In In The Spoken World, presented by the Kitchen Theater last weekend, Bamuthi journeyed through dazzling landscape of movement and sound, in a poetic exploration of what it means to be a part of a race, a family, and a community.