Winter Dance Concert combines artistry and entertainment


The Dance Division at Ohio University presents its annual Winter Dance Concert, Friday, February 20 and Saturday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are $12.00 for adults, $9.00 for children under 18, and free for OU students with a valid OU ID.

The concert features choreography by guest artists including Nii-Tete Yartey, Artistic Director for the National Dance Company of Ghana, Leslie Dworkin and Lisa Moulton.

Also featured are new and reconstructed dances by faculty members Nathan Andary and Travis Gatling.

Design contributions to the concert include lighting by John Bohuslawsky, and costumes by Marina Walchi and graduate students, Natalia de la Torre, Jennifer Wolff and Kathryn McGaughey, coordinated by Cassandra Paine of the Theater Division.

Mod-estly Psychedelic, choreographed by Travis Gatling, was inspired by the music, fashion, and dancing of the 1960’s Mod scene. The dance originally premiered on a Spring 2011 Concert at Ohio University.

In Face to Face, Travis Gatling’s new choreography, performers explore both literal and abstract representations of physical and psychological responses to various forms confrontation.

Nathan Andary’s new work, Imprint, reveals accumulated corporeal experiences, which capture ethereal and everyday occurrences.

Rise, choreographed by Leslie Dworkin, is a journey that moves steadily forward, embracing both the vulnerability and strength of the human condition. Rise presents a quintet in a reflection on the tension between the human reality and a desired state of grace.

 Each Other’s Angels, choreographed by Lisa Moulton, considers sibling relationships. The shared common experiences of inherently unique individuals are explored within the loosely narrative structure of this dance.

Visiting artist Nii-Tete Yartey, Artistic Director of the National Dance Company of Ghana, choreographed Esum. This contemporary African dance considers the theme of power, its use and manipulation in society. Music from a variety of sources creates an atmosphere that mixes both traditional and contemporary African dance.

For more information contact Hayley Ross at

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Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity

On Friday, Jan. 23, The Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus hosted a film viewing of Elizabeth Streb’s documentary Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity. The film featured high flying stunts, excerpts from Steb’s current and archival works as well as an in depth exploration of what makes STREB different from any other dance company in the world.

The documentary gave the audience the feeling of what it is like to rehearse in SLAM (Streb Lab for Action Mechanics) through the eyes of her dancers. Each dancer described what it was that drew them to Streb and made them stick around through the fear and danger placed before them.

One retired Streb dancer said that she had never felt anything like what she felt while performing for Streb and she hasn’t felt anything like it since. Elizabeth Streb does something that no one else has ever attempted. She tries to get humans to fly through  combination of amazing physical strength and elaborate equipment.

After the film, Streb herself answered questions from the audience. When asked what is next for the company she replied that she wasn’t entirely sure, but she hopes to bring PopAction outside the studio just as she did for the 2012 London Olympics.

Not only does Streb inspire audiences with new and innovative ideas for movement but also through her personality. She encourages dancers to be themselves and to think outside the current parameters of what has been done before.

Members of the OU Dance Division had the opportunity to speak with Streb after the film. She shared her advice and encouraged the students to reach their highest potential as dancers.

The film will be available on DVD on May 11. Until them here is the trailer for the film.


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Alumna Q&A: Jennifer Petrie


Jennifer Petrie graduated with her B.A. in Dance in 2009. During her time as an undergraduate student she also earned a B.A. in History, a B.A. in Russian and later completed her Masters in African Studies.

Jennifer is currently working towards her Doctorate in Educational Administration here at OU. She has travelled to Ghana, Africa to complete research in high schools on three separate occasions. Jennifer is currently working as the Graduate Assistant for Programming at the Walter International Education Center. For two years she has worked part time with VSA Ohio, teaching cultural dance at two local schools for children with disabilities. After graduation Jennifer plans to continue her work in policy development for dance and the arts. She hopes to make dance and the global arts more available to children on a regular basis in all parts of the world.

Has your dance education been helpful in your current life/studies?

Yes, my dance education here at OU was helpful in my current life and studies!  The OU dance program gave me the confidence to continue to study dance and dance education in my MA program and doctoral program.  When I started the dance program as a freshman, I didn’t realize dance was a form of intelligence.  I always thought the dance side of me was actually a hinderance to my intelligence in other subjects and a negative to my future professional goals because so many people told me, “you will never go anywhere with dance, ” or “good luck finding a job!”  I had never taken a non-studio dance class and I didn’t realize that dance could blend and intertwine with my “academic” side.

The dance program altered my thinking about dance and what can be done with it.  Having a dance major is an asset.  Dance reveals innovative ways of thinking and problem-solving that is beneficial to a variety of fields.  Biology, math, computer science, cultural studies, education, political science all benefit when dancers are thinking about these subjects.  My knowledge of dance has helped me to receive academic fellowships and scholarships in graduate school in-part because I have unique ways of thinking about research with my dance background.

The dance program also helped to make dedication a habit of mind for me. I have John B to thank for this one.   Learning to keep your word and show up to rehearsals and classes on time over and over again helped build a work ethnic that I have found to be incredibly valuable in the professional world.  Sometimes you have to run to get to something on time because you are accountable not just for yourself, but to a group.  Learning to communicate and work together with the same group of people for four years also prepared me for project work in group-settings.

As far as life goes, understanding the strength of women in modern and African dance instilled in me confidence in my body and self that I am forever grateful for.  Being around other women and men that were exploring women’s body-politics or gender-politics  through movement also makes you think differently about the world we live in.  Do you conform?  Do you not-conform?  These are huge issues in life and being able to explore them openly and creatively in the dance program forever changed my thinking about being a woman.

What do you miss most about being an undergraduate student?
I miss the friendships.  I miss living so closely with people that have similar interests.  I loved being able to walk only five minutes to grab dinner with a class-mate and chat about dance and life.  I also miss being able to enter a studio space so easily and just explore  movement and dance by myself, especially on a warm spring night when the windows were open.  There is something about Athens in the spring time that stays with you.  
Is there anything you would change if you could go back?
There isn’t much I would change.  I learned the most from the mistakes and falls I made.  The one thing I will say though is that as a dancer, it’s very easy to put you first, and there are times when you should do this, but, for me, some things in life are more important than dance.  I didn’t realize that as an undergraduate. 
What is one of your favorite memories from your undergraduate days?
This is a tough one, there are so many!! So, I will give two.   I was involved in a piece my first year called “For Josephine” by Shawn Curran that looking back, just had a cast filled with amazingly creative people.  It was so refreshing to see so many different ways of thinking about movement and dance.  The experience of the upper-classmen in the piece also inspired me to work harder and think more creatively.  Shawn’s quote, “There’s nothing to it, but to do it,” also sticks with me through-out life.  I still think of that quote when I’m having a difficult run or training-hard for a performance. 
Getting involved in the AZA concert in 2007 with Zelma and Paschal was also a favorite moment for me!  The energy in the rehearsals and performance was incredible!  I felt like everyone involved was giving 110% and more! It was refreshing to dance alongside non-majors and majors.  Dancing to the live music was incredibly invigorating and that feeling of excitement and boundless energy that I got while performing is why I continue to be involved with African dance in Azaguno today.
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Struggles of being a Dance Major

As the new semester began, I found myself thinking about all the great (and not so great) aspects of being a dance major. So here are just a few times when we struggled as dance majors.

When classes start after you haven’t danced in four weeks.

When you finally get to shower after class and rehearsal.

When non-dance majors see your panty lines from your leotard.

When your wardrobe consists only of spandex.  

When you get home after rehearsal and all your friends are going out.

When you want to go see a dance performance but tickets are expensive.

When you contemplate stretching after class.

When Tech week rolls around. 

But through it all we can’t imagine ourselves doing anything else!

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Performing this Weekend: Jan. 16-18

Start the new year by seeing one of these exciting performances this weekend!

Disney’s Newsies

This popular adaptation of Disney’s film Newsies hit Columbus on Jan. 13. Newsies is filled with exciting dance routines, flying newspapers and songs the whole audience will singing along to. The show will be running at the Ohio Theatre through Jan. 18. For more information click here. “Seize the Day” and see Newsies today!


Stomp is an exciting and explosive musical experience. Using props from brooms to garbage cans, this eight member percussion troupe creates sounds you have never heard before. Stomp will be performing at Connor Place theater in Cleveland Jan. 16-18. For ticket prices and more information click here.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

All the magic of the classic fairytale, Cinderella, will be coming to Cincnnati’s Arnoff Center Jan. 16-18. The show features all the audience’s favorite songs from “In My Own Little Corner” to “Impossible” to “Ten Minutes Ago.” Audience members will feel the magic as Cinderella’s fairy godmother turns mice into horses and pumpkins into carriages in this award winning Broadway production. Ticket prices and information is available here.

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Dance resolutions we can all commit to

As the new year approaches, it’s time to think about what we hope for the upcoming year. As dancers, we wish for more performance opportunities, better flexibility and increased core strength but sometimes these tend to get put on the back-burner as our lives get busy with rehearsals, classes and social lives. Here are a few easy New Years resolutions for dancers to make our goals a little more attainable.

1. Get to class 15-20 minutes early- this provides more time to stretch, warm up and get focused before class begins.

2. Cross train- Add an extra activity besides dance each week such as Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing or try hopping on the elliptical or treadmill.

3. Eat healthier- Whether that means skipping dessert or making sure there’s something green on the plate, making sure your body is taken care of can make a huge difference.

4. Get enough sleep- Dancing is tiring. Don’t be ashamed to go to bed early or take an occasional nap, your body will thank you the next day.

5. Seek out dance- Go to performances, watch dance on TV or Youtube, observe classes. The more you see, the more you can incorporate in your own dancing.

6. Be open- Listen to feedback from teachers and fellow dancers. You can only go up from here.

Make 2015 that best year yet!

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5 Dance Internships You Should Know About

Looking for work experience in the dance field? Look no further. These dance internships offer a variety of positions and areas of concentration for current college students and recent grads.

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival is a summer long dance festival located in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts that brings in over 50 dance companies to perform, teach and share their knowledge each summer. Internships are available in areas such as Archives, Artist Services, Development, Marketing, Photography, Production and more. Interns live on site and have the opportunity to attend classes and performances while at the Pillow. For more information visit:

The Yard

Located in Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, The Yard is a place for artists to come together to create. The Yard provides programs, classes and performances for the community. Internships are available in Development, Community Programs and Education, Media and Communications, Artists Services, and Technical Production. Click here for more details.

American Dance Festival

American Dance Festival brings various choreographers and dance companies to Durham, North Carolina each summer for performances and classes. ADF internships run from June 1- July 26. Production internships and Arts Administration internships are available. Interns gain valuable experience working with world renowned artists as well as ADF faculty and students. For information about how to apply click here.  

The Dance Place

The Dance Place is a center for dance classes and performances located in Washington, D.C. Interns can specialize in Administration, Individual Giving, Grants, Marketing, Youth Programs, Technical Theater and Production. Interns receive unlimited free classes and complimentary tickets to performances. The Dance Place also provides housing for interns. To learn more about The Dance Place Internships visit

Bates Dance Festival

Similar to ADF, Bates Dance Festival also brings in artists from all over the globe for a summer of amazing performances, classes and workshops. BDF is held at Bates College in Maine. Interns can choose to specialize in Technical Production, Video/Media, Arts Administration or Dance Education. Housing, meals and complimentary tickets to performances are provided. Click here to learn more.


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