Misty Makes History

Misty Copeland was just promoted to principal dancer for ABT, a huge step for ballet. Read my article for The Odyssey Online to find out more:

http://www.theodysseyonline.com/ohio/misty-copeland-just-took-big-leap-ballet/115837

Posted in Dance | Leave a comment

Why Fine Arts Majors Matter

I recently wrote an article for The Odyssey Online about my experiences as a Fine Arts major. Check it out!

http://www.theodysseyonline.com/ohio/why-my-major-isnt-useless/108178

Posted in Dance | Leave a comment

Dance in Communities: My year at ATCO

In October of 2014, I was asked to teach dance/ movement therapy classes at ATCO (Advocacy, Training, Careers, Opportunities), a center for adults with disabilities in the Athens Community, along with a fellow student in the Dance Division. I had no idea that simply spending one hour per week with these individuals would make such a significant impact on my life and become the best part of my junior year.

It is often said that it takes a special kind of person to work with a population like the individuals at ATCO. I didn’t think I was that person. I walked in to the facility on the day of my first class questioning how in the world I was going to do this. Would they listen? Would they be violent? Would they even understand what I was saying? I went into the experience with an attitude based on stereotypes of mental hospitals in horror films and TV shows. I could not have been more wrong.

Going into the first class, Grace (my fellow teacher) and I had no idea what our students would be capable of. I was used to teaching trained dancers who had knowledge of ballet vocabulary. For ATCO, we had to approach the class as a movement experience rather than a dance class. We focused on getting them to reach their limbs out into space, use both homolateral and contralateral movements and learn basic rhythmic patterns such as stepping or clapping to a beat. We focused primarily on arm motions because many of the students had to sit in chairs or wheelchairs.

The amount of material our ATCO students were able to pick up and maintain was astounding. In just a few weeks they had improved significantly and could move with confidence. I could also tell that they were more comfortable and enjoying our weekly classes. One day our supervisor, Tami, approach Grace and I to tell us that one of our students who uses a wheelchair said that this was the best she had felt in years. Another student told Tami that dance class was his favorite part of the week. I hadn’t realized how much dance was impacting them. I took for granted the power of movement since I was used to dancing for hours on end each day in my classes and rehearsals.

In early March our students performed at the Disabilities Awareness Festival held at the Athens Community Center. Seeing the confidence in their eyes and the smiles on their faces as they performed the choreography was amazing. I was so proud I could have cried right there.

The next week we had our final class of the year at ATCO. Grace and I were in awe as we walked in to a party thrown for us by our students. We performed in front of the other clients and employees at ATCO and celebrated the year with cookies and fruit punch. Each of our students made us thank you cards, artwork, and one student even sang us a song. We received endless hugs and thank you’s. Tears started to well in my eyes as I thought about the coming months without these wonderful people.

IMG_2863

The individuals at ATCO are some of the most amazing and inspiring people I have ever met. They are kind, caring, funny and intelligent. They proved that anyone can dance and I am convinced that they can accomplish anything they put their mind to. When I began teaching in October, I thought I was just teaching dance class. I was wrong. As my students were learning new ways to move their bodies, together we were collectively learning about each other and how we can come together as a community.

Volunteering at ATCO was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I can’t wait to return in September to reunite with my students. I encourage everyone to seek out an experience similar to mine. Try something new, work with a population you never have before and take a chance because it will change you forever.

 

Posted in Dance | Leave a comment

Students showcase choreography at The Movement Concert

Students in The Movement Organization, a dance organization at OU, will be presenting their work at The Movement Concert March 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m.

With a hectic schedule and spring break cutting into rehearsal time, the show had to be pulled together quickly. However, the students have shown great professionalism and diligence in putting together a diverse and exciting show.

On the program are nine new works choreographed and performed by members of The Movement. The pieces range from two to six minutes in length and range from duets to large group pieces.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. in The Shirley Wimmer Theater in Putnam Hall on Thursday and Friday. Tickets are $5. All proceeds go towards The Movement Organization.

For more information about The Movement. Click here.

Posted in Dance | Leave a comment

ACDA returns to OU

Ohio University hosted the East Central region American College Dance Association festival this past weekend. The weekend was full of classes, lectures, and concerts. The weekend was covered through social media.

Click the link to see the full coverage of the festival.

[View the story “ACDA returns to OU” on Storify]

Posted in Dance | Leave a comment

Winter Dance Concert combines artistry and entertainment

WinterDanceConcertPoster

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 hr332511@ohio.edu

Posted in Dance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

Posted in Dance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment