Seven dancers explore the concept of empathy with everyday objects in a performance surrounding the Urchin, an installation on the Arts Quad. Fugitive Spaces was choreographed by Jumay Chu, a senior lecturer in Performing and Media Arts, as a part of the Cornell Council for the Arts 2016 biennial, titled “Abject/Object Empathies.”
Barton Hall will transform into a dance floor on Nov. 7 to host the Ivy League’s first dance marathon, Big Red Thon. About 500 Cornellians have signed up to dance continuously for 13 hours — from Saturday through Sunday — raising nearly $15,000 out of their $50,000 goal as of Monday evening for Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. Chelsea Assang ’16, dance and morale captain of Big Red Thon, said the dance marathon will be divided into different dance themes. “[There will be a] hip hop hour, a rave hour [and] a Zumba hour to keep it very versatile so it appeals to a wider population,” Assang said.
For 42 minutes, five dancers danced, acted and reacted as they and their audience examined the concept of the counterfactual. Through modern choreography and interaction with the audience, the dancers of The Counter-Factual presented a compelling performance that drew the audience in from the first note of music. The Counter-Factual dance concert this past Thursday at the Schwartz Center’s black box theatre, was directed by Zoe Jackson ’16 and co-choreographed by Jackson and Brooke Wilson ’16. It consisted of eight pieces, separated by the music to which they were set, and featured five dancers, Aubrey Akers ’19, Juliana Batista ’16, Hannah Fuller ’19, Grace Mitchell ’17 and Ariana Otto ’19. The small, intimate venue fit the theme of the counterfactual well, as it contradicted, the traditional experience of a dance performance.
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.
Dear starry eyed-freshman:
Do you like music? Movies? How about burlesque dancers strutting their stuff on the Slope? If so, you’re in luck. The Pussycat Dolls may not strike Ithaca every year (thank god), but there’s plenty else to keep your eyes, ears and mind entertained on campus and around town. To get a taste, check out these review excerpts from last year — everyone from Girl Talk to Junot Diaz to Don Giovanni was in town, and we were there to get you the story. Appetite sufficiently whetted? Get ready for the likes of Ani DiFranco and Built to Spill this fall, and check out the concert on the Arts Quad on Aug. 29 (artist to be announced). It’ll be the start of another great year in Ithaca arts culture. And homework and tests and all that other boring stuff. Whatever.
In order to portray a hope-filled celebration of faith that doesn’t seem hopeless naïve, Bernstein’s Mass confronts the social upheavals and secular pluralism that have torn apart established beliefs. Now playing at the Schwartz Center through April 26, it is a deliberately unwieldy hybrid, intermingling diverse musical and theater traditions to interrogate each other. Originally commissioned for the inauguration of the Kennedy Center in 1971, the demands of its massive cast — which includes a chorus of over a hundred student singers as well as a children’s choir, dance troupe, pit orchestra and several soloists — have prevented it from being widely staged as it was conceived, as a “theater piece for singers, players, and dancers.”
The following is a guest column written in response to “Dancing the Diaspora,” a review by Will Cordeiro published on Mar. 12.
I admire The Sun for many reasons and especially for its reviews of dance, music, painting, theater and the many other performances and exhibitions at Cornell. The Sun’s reviewers are serving the purposes of art in addressing the deep forces within our social and historical moment.
Over the break I was introduced to a whole genre of music and dance I had no idea existed. A friend told me about this movement called Kuduro (pronounced koo-doo-roo), which is centered in Angola, West Africa, a former Portuguese colony, and in Lisbon, where many Angolans are now living. There are conflicting stories about where the style got its name: kuduro purportedly means “hard ass” or “stiff bottom” in Portuguese, the official language of Angola. It is also said to have a meaning in the Northern Angolan language Kimbundu, but I’m not sure what that is.
Duna, the title of the dance concert presented on Tuesday night at the Schwartz Center by Kongo Ba Teria and Barker & Tarpanga Dance Project, means “foreigner” in one of the native languages of Burkina Faso, where all four of the male dancer/musicians in the troupe originally hail from. The group’s dance style is a deliberately hybridized form that appropriates traditional West African dance movements into the decidedly Western context of modern dance.
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.