dance GOUCHER COLLEGE
a student publication of the goucher college dance department
vol. 27, no. 1 | Fall 2011
Dancing Under the Tuscan Sun Erin Quarles ’12
Imagine waking up in the morning, looking out your window and glimpsing a beautiful, rolling Tuscan hillside. After getting dressed and grabbing some breakfast, you trek down the hill, past an ancient Roman aqueduct, to a little dance studio (sometimes a bit cold, sometimes a bit splintery), where you take Modern class. Then you head back to your “villa atop the hill,” where you discuss Plato’s philosophies regarding art and eat a delicious, fresh Italian meal while sitting
outside in a field of daisies. After lunch, you join your fellow dancers to learn some traditional Tarantella dances and celebrate life. Although a bit tired after this, you sit through Italian class, hoping to get a better grasp of the language in order to feel more confident when ordering at restaurants and conversing with locals. You end your day by watching the sunset over the rustic city of Arezzo as you walk to dinner for another wonderfully prepared meal, perhaps coupled
Goucher dancers who traveled to Italy in the spring of 2011, (L-R) Stephanie Walker, Hannah Wasielewski, Erin Quarles, Chelsea Murphy, Elizabeth Purcell, Lucy Wild, and Marah Wilson. Photo courtesy of Erin Quarles.
with some Tiramisu or warm biscotti. After some reflection on your day (and maybe a shower) you fall asleep in your bed, anxious for what is in store for tomorrow. Tuscan Sun continued on p. 7
Amy Seiwert Visits Campus Laura Brown ’12
left The cast performs at Meet the Artist. right (L-R) Megan Simon, Sophia Kurek, Emily Gnatt, and Tiffini Jones in rehearsal. All photos courtesy of Fiona Cansino.
During this summer’s Early Arrival Dance Program, the Dance Department welcomed guest artist Amy Seiwert to Goucher. Seiwert, a former dancer with the Sacramento and Smuin Ballets, now choreographs for many dance companies while also acting as director of her own, im’ij-re. Although Seiwert is a classically trained dancer, her works tend to lean more towards the contemporary ballet style. She notes that while her mentor, Michael Smuin, may not have agreed with her self-described “weird” sense of choreography, he always said he could not force his ideas on her process. Before showing her work at the Meet the Artist event, she enlightened her audience on
how she uses improvisation to choreograph. She showed the audience how there are six sides to a hand and how to draw a line with each of those six sides. Seiwert also mentioned her belief of “active creation on a dancer,” meaning that she does not necessarily start choreographing a piece before she sees who she is working with, because the dancer’s body may not fit the choreography. Choreography is therefore a collaboration between dancer and choreographer. While at Goucher, Seiwert got to experience an earthquake and even had to leave early due to an incoming hurricane. Yet, after five short days, she managed to finish her work
and premiere the piece at Meet the Artist. Although there is no particular story line accompanying the current work, Seiwert explained that she found inspiration in the music. Furthermore, she uses imagery while choreographing, allowing the beginning of the piece to develop like a woven tapestry. Seiwert had not yet named her work before the end of her residency time, but she returned for the Fall Dance Concert to work with the dancers once more before the work’s debut. Karissa Horowicz, one of Goucher’s ballet faculty members, coordinated Ms. Seiwert’s visit this August.
Sara Thomson—More Than Just the Dance Department Coordinator Lizzy Purcell ’12 She grew up in Baltimore, she loves the color purple, her favorite food is ice cream, and she enjoys sewing. She never danced with New York City Ballet or Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, yet she is one of the most integral members of the Goucher College Dance Department. Sara Thomson has been working as the dance department coordinator since September of 2002. During her nine years at Goucher, she has happily spent her time handling phone and e-mail correspondence, contacting prospective students, coordinating departmental
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publications, overseeing fundraising, attending department faculty meetings, transcribing faculty meeting minutes, and delegating aspects of these various duties to student workers. While e-mail correspondence and transcribing of faculty meeting minutes are significant in keeping the department afloat, Thomson is most known for her personable attitude. In fact, her favorite part of the job is relating to the students. “I enjoy interacting with you guys, and I appreciate how hard you all work,” says
Thomson of this special relationship. The students also recognize and value all the work that Thomson does in the department. Even though it may not be listed in her job description, Thomson answers endless questions from students throughout her 9-to-5 day, forming relationships with the dance students. Sara Thompson is an irreplaceable member of the Dance Department and the Goucher community; her hard work and lively personality make her more than just a dance department coordinator.
Why Ballet Matters Ellen Bast ’14 On the evening of Friday, November 4, 2011, members of the Goucher and greater Baltimore communities gathered in the Hyman Forum of the Athenaeum to hear Jennifer Homans, dance historian and author of Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet, speak. Her lecture, titled “Ballet’s Past and Why It Matters,” explored ballet’s cultural significance historically and how this role will evolve and change in the future. Homans discussed her interpretations of ballet and choreography’s progressions from the regal expression of Louis XIV’s court to presentday showy, uninspired athleticism. She then warned of such a change’s repercussions for the integrity of the art form. Also addressed were the numerous issues—those outside the realm of artistic expression—that influence the arts in today’s world. After the presentation, Homans held a question-and-answer session. Many individuals took advantage of this time to have the renowned author address their questions about aspects of the ballet world from performance to history and social issues. Ms. Homans autographed copies of her book, giving audience members even more opportunity to interact with her personally at the end of the evening. Homans is a former professional ballerina with the Chicago Lyric Opera Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. She received her B.A. from Columbia University and her Ph.D. in modern European history from New York University, where she is currently a Distinguished Scholar in Residence. Homans is also the dance critic for the New Republic and has written for numerous other publications, including The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. Her book Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet was named one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year. Homans’s visit, organized by instructor Laura Dolid and Dance Department Coordinator Sara Thomson, was sponsored by the Goucher Dance Department.
Jennifer Homans Courtesy of Goucher Communications Office.
Studying Dance Education in South Africa Laura Brown ’12
top Goucher students looking at the Indian Ocean in South Africa. bottom Laura Brown and Jenna Way with their class. right (L-R) Professor Rick Southerland with student, Laura Brown. All photos courtesy of Laura Brown.
When I stepped off the plane in South Africa after 16 exhausting hours of travel, I had no idea what the next three weeks had in store for me. Braced by lesson plans, stories, education professor Dr. La Jerne Cornish, dance education professor Rick Southerland, and my own enthusiasm, I felt confident to take my place in my new South African home. Before we left for South Africa, our class was required to take a pre-course segment in which we discussed the plan for our three weeks abroad. While every year the focus of the trip is to increase reading, vocabulary, and comprehension skills in our classrooms, this year introduced the approach of using movement to accomplish these goals. The focal point of the lesson plans was the idea of the Cinderella story. Dr. Cornish chose three Cinderella stories, all with varying cultural backgrounds that we as teachers were to use in our classroom. Next, as a class, we chose ten vocabulary words
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from each of the three stories to teach the students. Our last idea was to teach our students how to write their own stories, so that when we left South Africa they would have acquired a skill that they could use again and again. On our first day in the classroom, we were split into our co-teaching pairs and sent to meet our new students. It was both exciting and terrifying. We found out quickly that our students spoke little English, since they are taught in their native tongue until the fourth grade… and we were teaching the fifth. Movement soon became an integral part of our lesson, not just because Southerland had told us to use it, but because it was essential for communication. All 30 of our vocabulary words had a movement assigned to them. Soon, all 28 of our students were not only having fun dancing in the classroom but also understanding all of their new vocabulary words.
Once my co-teacher and I had taught the vocabulary words, we moved on to the essential parts of a story; for example: who, what, where, when, and why. Before we knew it, all of our students were writing their own stories. Here we found another use for movement in the classroom: connecting movement to their stories. This way, the students could use critical-thinking skills to assess why they chose to use certain movements. When the three weeks were up, our students put on a final performance of the story they had created as a class. After only nine short days, I had seen everything we talked about in our pre-course come to life in front of my eyes. Above and beyond, my students were even able to put movement to their readings and writings. I miss my students’ eagerness to learn, and I think it is safe to say that after their final performance, my students were even prouder of themselves than I was of them.
Working with Rick Stephanie Walker ’12 Assistant Professor Rick Southerland’s piece in the Fall Dance Concert presents the idea of looking at the world in a different way. He based the idea on how babies see the world, which explains the oversized set pieces and strange, exaggerated movement. During the first rehearsal, Southerland had our cast of 10 read an article called “Exploration,” which discussed how babies perceive and explore the world and how they learn. From this, we were asked to improvise and then
create a short phrase from our improvisation. This was the origin of a large amount of the movement in the piece. Then, we manipulated the movement, speeding it up, adding contorted shapes, and making it travel. We have also added more phrase work, and combined and manipulated that as well. Southerland served in a mainly directorial role, arranging the dancers and the movement, as well as creating an order for each scene. There was a series of scenes
that fed into each other, connecting to and sometimes interrupting each other. We as a cast worked on and finished the sets and costumes, which helped to transport the audience to a new way of seeing the world.
Dancers in rehearsal Photos courtesy of Victoria Simons.
Cuong Nguyen in rehearsal Photo courtesy of Mariah Halkett.
Grooving with Nicholas Leichter Kate Clarke ’12 Hip-hop returned to Goucher for the second year in a row when Nicholas Leichter visited as a guest artist this fall. This was my second opportunity to participate in a hip-hop piece here at Goucher, and I found that Leichter’s style varied greatly from my previous experience with hip-hop choreographer Jennifer Archibald. Leichter’s style and movement quality—what I would classify as 90s hip-hop—is much more about grooving than about battling or trying to one-up someone else, as urban hip-hop tends to do today. The piece Leichter has created is part of a new project he is working on that tries to go “back to the basics”—and in this case, the basics of hip-hop. Based on my familiarity
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with hip-hop, I would say the movement he choreographed for us is very true to this intent. Another intent of the work is to create a different cultural world. It is all about doing your own thing, and grooving with everyone else as well. The piece is about having fun doing what you are doing and being engaged with the people you are doing it with. Weeks after the work was set, I am still enjoying the rehearsals for this piece. Every time I do it, I have fun. His movement inspires joy in performance. In creating this piece, Leichter focused on what we, the dancers, are good at and really tried to highlight that while teaching us a new style. Learning a new style of dance can be challenging and fun,
but when a choreographer comes in and accomplishes this feat of teaching in addition to highlighting a dancer’s skill, it does not get any better. Leichter absolutely wants personality in his piece, but within the style of the work. On occasion, he would highlight how one of the cast members was performing a piece of movement and explain why that was what he wanted. It was clear that the style he was going for was influenced by the dancers’ abilities. Leichter’s piece is great fun to perform and to watch. His residency at Goucher was arranged by Associate Professor Juliet Forrest, the first to bring hip-hop into the program.
Alumna Profile: Hannah Kosstrin Hillary Blunt ’14 On Thursday, October 20, Goucher alumna Hannah Kosstrin returned to campus to give a lecture to students in Professor Chrystelle Bond’s Seminar in Dance Theory, Criticism, and Philosophy. Since graduating in 2001 with a B.A. in dance, with a concentration in dance history and criticism, Kosstrin has been a busy woman. Immediately after graduating, she went on to graduate school at Ohio State University to study dance history and Labanotation. After receiving her master’s degree, she returned to Boston, her hometown, to teach for about a year and a half.
While at Goucher, Kosstrin fully immersed herself in the Dance Department. “I basically decided that I wanted to get everything I could out of the dance major,” she says, adding that through the department, she received “a very broad and deep base for the field.” One memorable experience for her
In 2005, Kosstrin moved back to Ohio in order to work with Columbus Movement Movement, a collective of dance artists with whom she performed and set choreography. During this time, Kosstrin began teaching at the university level, something she had wanted to do for a long time. “I knew that with what I wanted to demand, I had to be at the college level,” Kosstrin says. After living in Ohio for about five years, she joined the first class of Ohio State University’s Ph.D. program in dance studies. Kosstrin wrote her dissertation on Anna Sokolow, “looking specifically at Jewishness, radicalism, and modernism in her early and mid-career work.” Currently, Kosstrin is on the faculty at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches Dance History and Dance Studies, along with other subjects.
Hannah Kosstrin displays her iPad app. Photo courtesy of Hillary Blunt
was dancing Chorégraphie Antique. Through the physical connection to historical material taught by Chrystelle Bond, Kosstrin began to develop her interest in dance history. By the end of her time at Goucher, Kosstrin knew how to fight for dance as a career in fields other than performance. “In a sentence:
It prepares you,” she says of the Goucher dance program. “The way the faculty insisted that we knew why we were doing what we were doing was really important.” “Don’t be afraid to love what you do,” Kosstrin advises Goucher students. She emphasizes that many of her students are afraid they will not find a job after graduation. Instead, they should be trying to figure out what they want to do after graduation: The two things are not mutually exclusive. “If you are doing something that you enjoy, you are going to prosper,” she says. Change and growth, she adds, are bound to happen in college, which is the time to expand one’s horizons, try new things, and ultimately go with what you want to do. In addition to teaching at Reed College, Kosstrin is developing a Labanotation reader and writer for the iPad. She received a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue work on this project. Labanotation is a notation system widely used throughout the dance world to preserve the movement and choreographies of historical and current dances. The project will enable teachers, notators, and students to have easier access to scores and will provide a simple, neat way to record dances in the studio. Kosstrin is working closely with Martin Ringle and David Ralley on this project. The app will be free and is expected to be released early summer 2012.
Tuscan Sun Continued from cover
This is just a glimpse into a possible day that seven Goucher dancers were blessed to live this past semester. At Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy, 22 dancers and 24 actors lived and worked together in a beautiful Italian villa. While the large number of people could be overwhelming at times, the different personalities and backgrounds (with students coming from Muhlenberg, Boston University, Sarah Lawrence, and other schools in the U.S., as well as from Estonia and Hong Kong) made for a great semester.
One of the great aspects of this program was that we had four performances during the semester. Through these performances, we were able to show some of our own choreography that we had been working on (both collaborative and solo work), as well as phrases and dances that we had learned in Modern and Tarantella classes. These performances were attended not only by the other students and staff but also by many Arezzo locals. It was a great way to show what we had been working on, as well as to connect with the surrounding community. And while the
rehearsal process was sometimes hectic and overwhelming, in the end, it brought all of us closer together to strengthen our own dancer community. The biggest lesson I learned was from Giorgio Rossi, our choreography teacher. He said to throw your brain in the garden and to just “let happen.” Dance is not necessarily about perfect technique, but how one connects with the movement. I think this sentiment and the entire experience could be summed up best by Goucher senior Chelsea Murphy: “I came here as a dancer, but I’m leaving as an artist.”
Profile: Trebien Pollard Emily Polasik ’13 Passion. That is the adjective most associated with Trebien Pollard, Goucher’s newest visiting professor. In the first few weeks of the semester, Pollard has pushed students to discover the passion within the technique, history, choreography, and scholarship of dance. Declaring that not every place is for every body and that he has prepared himself and his skills for where he needs to be right now, Pollard brings a unique form of movement to Goucher’s Dance Department. Many students already feel they are growing within the realm of dance since having him as a professor this semester. He says the most important thing he wants his students to realize is that once they commit themselves to dance it doesn’t get any easier, but eventually it becomes manageable. If that doesn’t spark passion within the classroom, then what does? Pollard received a bachelor of science degree in mathematics education from Florida A&M University. After finishing his undergraduate studies, he attended the Alvin Ailey summer program, where, on a whim, he attended an audition for the Graham School with a friend. He was offered a position in the second company, and although he was planning on continuing his graduate education at Ohio State, he decided to stay in New York to perform. The Graham audition was a turning point in his career. Pollard says that one of his greatest accomplishments is that he has never had any job other than dancing, and has always had consistent work. Trebien danced professionally from 1994 to 2002 and is still a performer today. Some companies he performed with include Tania Isaac Dance, Lia Love, Martha Graham Ensemble, Pascal Rioult Dance Theater, Pearl Lang Dance Theatre, Rebecca Stenn Co., Erick Hawkins Dance Co., the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, and Pilobolus. He is also a personal trainer certified in the Gyrotonic movement approach, a new form of crosstraining many dancers here got to experience during Goucher’s week of Early Arrival. After living on the road, traveling and performing for many years, Trebien decided to go back to graduate school. Once he earned an M.F.A. in dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, he knew the next place for him was teaching in a university setting. He has been teaching college-aged dancers since 2004. He comes to Goucher from Queens College and brings diverse skills and experience to our Dance Department. Trebien Pollard dances in Color Codes: a point of hue All photos courtesy of Trebien Pollard and taken by Julie Lemberger in 2007
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Calendar of Events 2011-12 Todd 361 Series December 2 and 3, 2011, 7:30 p.m. December 4, 3 p.m. Todd Dance Studio Theatre The Dance Department’s advanced choreography students will present original works. $8 general admission, $6 students and senior citizens. Reserve tickets online at www.goucher.edu/tickets. Senior Independent Performance: Sacred Pause December 9, 2011, 7:30 p.m. Todd Dance Studio Theatre Senior dance major Chelsea Murphy will present her independent project, described as an experimental dance based on selfexploration through organic movement and improvisation. Admission is free, but reservations are suggested. E-mail email@example.com for more information. Chorégraphie Antique December 4, 2011, 7 p.m. Todd Dance Studio Theatre This concert will feature dance reconstructions by students in Chorégraphie Antique and the 20th-Century American Dance courses. Free Admission. Call 410-337-6391 for additional information. Susan Jaffe, Ballet Guest Artist in Residence February 3-12, 2012 Susan Jaffe was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre for 20 years, performing in a range of works from classical ballets to dramatic and modern works. Ms. Jaffe currently serves as ballet mistress of American Ballet Theatre. She will give master classes and set a work on Goucher dancers to be performed at the Goucher Repertory Dance Ensemble Concert on April 20 and 21. Master classes are open to high-intermediate and advanced ballet dancers. Class fee: $20.
Dance Outreach Book Drive
Meet Susan Jaffe February 10, 2012, 6-7 p.m. Todd Dance Studio Meet Susan Jaffe, former principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre and ballet guest artist in residence, and observe our dancers in rehearsal for the Goucher Repertory Dance Ensemble concert.
Goucher Repertory Dance Ensemble Concert April 20 and 21, 2012 Kraushaar Auditorium Enjoy ballet and modern works by guest artists Susan Jaffe and Rodger Belman, as well as by Goucher faculty and students. Join us at 6:45 p.m. on Friday evening in Rosenberg Galley to hear from the artists themselves. Reserve tickets online at www.goucher.edu/tickets.
Rodger Belman, Modern Guest Artist in Residence February 17-26, 2012 Rodger Belman was a member of Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians from 1989 to 1995, and has performed with such artists as Twyla Tharp, Rachel Lampert, and Mark Taylor. A faculty member and guest artist at numerous institutions, he has been on the faculty of the American Dance Festival since 2007. Mr. Belman will teach Modern classes and will set a work on Goucher dancers for the Goucher Repertory Dance Ensemble Concert. Master classes are open to high-intermediate and advanced modern dancers. Class fee: $20.
Todd 361 Series April 27 and 28, 2011, 7:30 p.m. April 29, 3 p.m. Todd Dance Studio Theatre The Dance Department’s advanced choreography students will present original works. $8 general admission, $6 students and senior citizens. Reserve tickets online at www. goucher.edu/tickets. Independent Project Performance May 4, 7:30 p.m. Todd Dance Studio
Meet Rodger Belman February 24, 2012, 6-7 p.m. Todd Dance Studio Meet Rodger Belman, educator, choreographer, performer, and Modern guest artist in residence, and watch a rehearsal of his work to be performed at the upcoming concert. ACDFA at James Madison University February 29–March 4
Goucher Summer Arts Institute Sunday-Saturday, July 8-21, 2012 This two-week, intensive, day and boarding program offers training for intermediate through pre-professional dancers and musicians, ages 12 through 18. For detailed program information, registration procedures, and required forms visit www.goucher.edu/ summerarts. For more information, please contact Linda Garofalo, director, at 410-3376493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Marley March 30, 2012, 6:30 p.m.
WHERE ARE OUR DANCERS THIS SEMESTER?
We will be accepting K-5 children’s books to distribute to Baltimore-area school children as part of our dance outreach mission. Donation boxes will be found at each department event this semester. Help put a book in a Baltimore child’s hands.
Elizabeth Zachik ’13, England: Dance
For more information and class schedules, call the Dance Department at 410-337-6390, unless otherwise indicated. Information can also be found at www.goucher.edu/dance.
Alumnae/i News 2011 Ashley Evans started a two-year graduate program in dance/movement therapy at Drexel University in September. Besides her graduate courses, she is interning with a dance/movement therapist and other creative arts therapists working with behavioral health patients. Elizabeth Harbison attended the Bates Dance Festival this summer before moving to Washington, D.C., to intern at Dance Place in the Youth Programs Department. She is also taking class every day in the D.C. area. Georgia Speier has been teaching dance at a local studio in the Towson Area as well as choreographing for Davidsonville Elementary School in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Shawnia White is currently a member of City Year Corps, where she serves at a public school in East Brooklyn, New York.
She works with fifth graders to improve their attendance, behavior, and scores, and provides enrichment. She also is dancing with Urban Ballet Theatre in a production titled Nutcracker in the Lower and is working with a small dance troupe called Indorican Dance Company.
This past summer, Arlynn Zachary had an internship at Bates Dance Festival in technical stage production, where she teched shows for Nicholas Leichter, David Dorfman, Camille A. Brown, Zoe/Juniper, and did lighting-design work for Jennifer Archibald and Lisa Race. Currently residing in Charlotte, NC, Zachary was hired as Echo Contemporary Dance Company’s official stage manager, lighting designer, and master electrician. She is also involved in an arts-umbrella program, under the guidance of Martha Connerton, for independent choreographers promoting the dance arts in the Charlotte area.
in another Jerome Robbins creation, Interplay, for a New York City Ballet fundraiser. It was the first time that students from the School of American Ballet were ever asked to perform in a program with New York City Ballet. After earning a standing ovation, he was invited to join the company.
into the whole ‘teaching a whole classroom’ thing. It’s just my belief that... if you don’t want to teach, you really shouldn’t teach.”
Gabriella Berkow is presenting at the International Association of Dance Science and Medicine Conference in Washington, D.C., and is currently attending graduate school at Columbia University in New York.
Asya Zlatina is currently dancing with Koresh Dance Company in Philadelphia.
2007 Ingrid Abelada is dancing with Elise Monte Dance Company.
2003 Alexandra Buss was featured in Pilates Style newsletter for her implementation of a Pilates program at the Madeira School in McLean, VA.
Profile: Tim Fox Dorie Chevlin ’15
Tim Fox Photo courtesy of Tim Fox
“It’s all my sister’s fault,” says Tim Fox of how he got started in dance. Until his sister performed in West Side Story, young Tim was your typical nine-year-old baseball player from Tulsa, Oklahoma. But after seeing Jerome Robbins’s iconic choreography, his life would forever change. It was after this show that he began his ballet training, which led to a Ford Foundation Scholarship that paid for his classes, and then later to summer scholarships at the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre School. Interestingly, at 18, Fox was asked to perform
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Tim Fox has had an illustrious performing career, dancing with top choreographers in New York, Tulsa, and San Francisco; but perhaps equally interesting is what he did outside the dance world. After retiring from ballet, he pursued an acting career, landing several roles in major films and commercials. He taught Pilates and even opened his own Pilates studio, working with dancers, celebrities, and disabled people. Perhaps most surprising of Fox’s pursuits—to those who don’t know him well—is his work in real estate. “The idea of buying a house and fixing it up and changing it was kind of artistic to me,” he explains. “It just seemed natural.” Of his many occupations, the most surprising to Fox, however, is teaching. “To be honest, I didn’t get into teaching right away,” he admits. “I enjoyed Pilates, because it was a little bit different and it was one-on-one. I was not
After teaching at a variety of places, Fox was given the opportunity to teach at Goucher and was instantly smitten. “I really loved the campus,” he says, “It feels a little like—and I mean this in a great way—like Portland or... like San Francisco a little. It has a very downto-earth sort of vibe.” He was also impressed with Goucher’s dancers, and in particular, their passion. “There was an enthusiasm that you just can’t buy,” he says. “It was a love for dance where I... I can work with that, you know? Because I don’t care if you can do something, I care whether you can try it—or will try it. That’s really what’s important.” This is more or less Tim Fox’s teaching philosophy. “I think there’s always something to learn,” he explains. “I think the people that have the right attitude in class are the ones who have the right attitude in life—and it doesn’t happen by accident.” As far as his advice for students of dance, Fox offers this: “If I could say one thing, it’s to keep an open mind, and don’t know so much stuff that you don’t know that you can’t know something new.”
The Spirit of September 11 Emily Polasik ’14 2001 Hannah Kosstrin received a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop a Labanotation iPad app. She currently works as a faculty member at Reed College in Portland, OR.
2000 Clare Croft is currently working on a book project focusing on U.S. State Department sponsorship of international dance tours as a form of cultural diplomacy. She also received her Ph.D. from the Performance as Public Practice program in the University of Texas-Austin’s Department of Theatre and Dance, and is presenting at the American Studies Conference this fall.
When They Aren’t Teaching Us… Elizabeth Lowe Ahearn finished a book chapter on Pilates in secondary schools for Peter Fiasca’s new book and completed continuing education with Romana’s Pilates. She also wrote curriculum for the Baltimore County Public Schools and is creating a new ballet for the Carver Center for Arts and Technology. Chrystelle Trump Bond is working on a project about dance history at Goucher as a cultural metaphor for dance in American higher education. She is writing a biography of Lillian Moore, a 1920s Goucher alumna who danced professionally before becoming an internationally known dance critic. Additionally, she planned the program for this October’s Blessing of the Animals at Goucher, and is currently organizing birthday parties for her beloved toy poodles, Jean André and Louis Philippe. Professor Bond is also working on a sacred dance project and is reconstructing dances from the 19th century for Chorégraphie Antique, the Dance History Ensemble of Goucher College. Amanda Thom Woodson serves as director of the Doris Humphrey Foundation for Dance.
This fall, Trebien Pollard created a work on Goucher’s dancers to be performed in the Goucher Repertory Dance Ensemble Fall Concert. His piece is titled “Pneuma” (pronounced nooma), which means breath or spirit, and is a very emotional work according to the dancers. The cast consists of Candace Chmielewski, Kate Clarke, Omari Contasté, Shanley Codd, Merril Doty, Hugh Geller, Chaniece Holmes, Sophie Kurek, Chelsea Murphy, Sarah Muskat, Cuong Huy Nguyen, and Emily Polasik. The dancers rehearsed with Trebien twice a week on Sunday and Monday nights, but spent quite a few hours in small groups during the week reviewing and rehearsing choreography.
Asked what inspires his choreography, Trebien replies, simply, “The world.” He goes on to say that he loves the study of people, and if he could go back and study anything it would be the subject of sociology. Since his piece is about perspective, he hopes that the audience takes away their own personal perceptions from this work, because he believes everyone has a different perspective on things based on who they are as a person.
During the first rehearsal, Trebien read to the cast some poetry and other writings that had been created shortly after the tragedy of September 11, 2001. His writing was inspiring to the dancers and showed the cast a side of Trebien they had not previously seen. Although his piece is not specifically about that sad event in history, it fuels many of the emotions and ideas that inspire the movement performed by the dancers. Trebien describes the piece as being about perspective. During the events of 9/11, the many people involved experienced different emotions, thoughts, and actions based on their perspective—people in the buildings, people in the planes, people on the ground, and indeed, people all over the world—each had a different viewpoint of what was happening in New York City. The perspective of the people trapped within the elevators of the World Trade Center buildings are what first inspired Trebien’s choreography; he then took this to the more abstract place of simply being trapped physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
top (L-R) Sarah Muskat, Kate Clarke, Sophia Kurek, and Chanice Holmes in rehearsal. left Sarah Muskat in rehearsal. right Cuong Nguyen in rehearsal. All photos courtesy of Ellen Bast.
When learning new choreography during rehearsals, the cast is constantly reminded by their choreographer to imagine what different groups and types of people were thinking in regards to 9/11. The movement is more about the emotions behind it than the specific arm gestures or technicality that is usually the initial focus of a piece. This piece is a part of a larger Trebien work-in-progress, an opera titled Democracy Divine. “The rehearsals are a lot of work and are intense,” says cast member Shanley Codd, “but one can tell that Trebien is extremely passionate about his work because so far it looks incredible.” 11
A Week with Nicolo Fonte Megan Simon ’12
Overall, working with Fonte has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. He tells us to really feel the dance and emphasizes movement quality over technique, leaving us with his most important piece of advice at the Meet the Artist session: “Dance from your heart.”
a student publication of the goucher college dance department
Faculty Advisor: Juliet Forrest Co-editors in Chief: Ellen Bast Hillary Blunt Contributors:
Laura Brown Dorie Chevlen Kate Clarke Emily Polasik Lizzy Purcell Erin Quarles Stephanie Walker
Laura Brown Fiona Cansino Dorie Chevlen Mariah Halkett Erin Quarles Victoria Simons
Mr. Fonte’s residency was coordinated by Associate Professor Liz Ahearn, chair of the Dance Department.
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The piece, as yet untitled, has a small cast— just five dancers and four chairs. Set to a Bach violin composition, it is a series of short solos, duets, and trios interspersed with moments of “musical chairs” and group unison. There is a slight edge of competitiveness, especially in the first, faster section. As the music shifts to an adagio, the dance becomes friendlier.
Fonte also started the creation of the piece without a clear idea of what it meant or where it was going. For him, choreography is a process of discovery, and he is still discovering what this piece is. He asks for the dancers’ participation in this process. Instead of telling us how to feel the movement, he asks how the movement makes us feel. He also occasionally asks the dancers what we think the next step should be, which caught us off-guard at first. Ballet choreographers rarely ask for that kind of collaboration.
Goucher is lucky to have Fonte in residence this semester. This prominent contemporary choreographer has worked with such major European and North American companies as Compañía Nacional de Danza in Madrid, Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, and the Washington Ballet, to name just a few.
Fonte’s choreography is ballet, but it is far from traditional. He uses twisting torsos and quick shifts of weight to create vine-like, intertwined movement.
There has been lots of laughter coming from Todd Dance Studio this week as Goucher dancers rehearse with Nicolo Fonte, this semester’s second ballet guest artist in residence. It is a difficult piece, full of tricky pointework and complicated gestures, but everyone is enjoying the challenge and the opportunity to work with Fonte. He has high expectations and has us all working hard, but he also has a great sense of humor and keeps rehearsals light with his jokes and teasing.