Faculty and Emeritus Impacting their Spaces
The Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project performed Beautiful Struggle, Esther's new work at the Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out Festival, the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre in Pittsburgh, and Kenyon College. Additionally, Esther presented her solo, Whiteness Revisted Part 2, at the Ten Tiny Dances showcase at Coco Loupe's FEVERHEAD in Columbus and at SOMArts San Francisco for Third Strike: 100 Performances for The Hole. She also created the dance film Free to be You and Me for the Dances Made to Order program. In April 2012, Beautiful Struggle premiered in Columbus at The King Arts Complex with the support of the Johnstone Fund for New Music.
In November, Esther was invited to KINANI Contemporary Dance Festival in Maputo, Mozambique to teach master classes as well as continue video documenting and interviewing contemporary African choreographers for her project Shifting Traces: Dance and Technology In and Outside of Africa. She received a Coca-Cola Critical Difference for Women grant to feature the work and voices of African female choreographers, which resulted in a presentation at the CORD Conference in Philadelphia. Esther also was invited to teach contemporary dance workshops at Danse Hors Cite in Rabat, Morocco.
Esther and Olivier Tarpaga are continuing to organize workshops for OSU students to study contemporary and traditional dance and drumming in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The program this summer took place from July 14-August 5, 2012.
Dr. Melanye White Dixon
Dr. Melanye White Dixon recently served on the Community Arts Fund panel for the Columbus Foundation, and on the Ohio Department of Education cultural sensitivity review committee for selected state proficiency tests, grades 4-6. Additionally, she was invited by the Executive Committee of Faculty Council to serve on the Senate Diversity Committee for 2011-12, and was appointed to serve on the division of Arts and Humanities Diversity Committee beginning September 2011. As part of her ongoing research on African American dancers and teachers, she traveled to New York City in August 2011 to interview former Martha Graham dancer Mary Hinkson. In winter she received an Arts and Humanities Grant-In-Aid award to help with manuscript preparation for her recently published book, Marion D. Cuyjet and Her Judimar School of Dance: Training Ballerinas in Black Philadelphia, 1948-1971 (New York: Mellen Press, 2011.) The publication is the first comprehensive study of pioneering ballet pedagogue Marion D. Cuyjet, who established one of the first institutions in the United States that provided classical ballet training for African American dancers. The Judimar School set standards of educational and artistic excellence in Philadelphia and was a prime conduit in promoting and developing dance education in Black Philadelphia for two decades. The book presents a historical and descriptive study of Cuyjet's teaching career and school within a social, cultural and political context. It considers issues of racial identity, social justice and social change and offers an analysis of Cuyjet's legacy as a visionary artist/educator and cultural activist.
Karen Eliot and Melanie Bales
Karen Eliot's article "English in Flavor and Form: Mona Inglesby's Choreography for the International Ballet," appears in Dance Chronicle's first volume of 2012. She and Melanie Bales have co-edited an anthology of new essays including the work of several OSU affiliated writers, entitled Dance on its own Terms: Histories and Methodologies. The anthology was accepted for publication by Oxford University Press. The final manuscript is being prepared for submission Summer 2012.
In this first year at Ohio State, I feel a bit like I've stepped into a tornado... or at least a creative whirlwind. This is a busy joint.
There have been several thrusts to my research activities this year. On the film front, I am producing a new film, a follow-up to my film Advance. A man will do a solo in which he confronts an onslaught of people attacking him - but each time they reach him, they disappear. I was interested in the heightened moment when two people are about to collide and the visceral sensation the anticipation creates in the spectator. I shot some tests of this effect with my Graduate Assistant, Eric Nordstrom, and some other volunteers and we were able to construct a methodology for shooting this film.
I've also laid the groundwork for another film I'll shoot next year that will involve 100 dancers stampeding across vast open plains while being shot from a radio-controlled helicopter. Like wildebeests. Or free ice cream day at Jeni's.
I tour a program called The Mitch Show, an evening of my films and audience-participation performance pieces. This year I created a new audience-participation piece called Ring that will be the new opener to the program. Since our culture is becoming acclimated to a show beginning with some reference to cell phones (like, "turn them off") I wanted to address this. So in Ring the audience is told to turn ON their phones and call each other, which creates a glorious cacophony of ringtones.
Besides shooting the new film over spring break, I also performed The Mitch Show in Sacramento and Olympia, WA. A busy spring break. But, I'm getting used to it. Like I said... this is a busy joint.