Global Connections

OSU Dance has been traveling around the globe lately. Whether in our study abroad programs or the creative research of our faculty, staff and students, we continue to make connections, expand our cultural awareness and share dancing experiences in ways that bring new meaning to our lives and our art form.

In Germany with Dave Covey, Spring 2014

Reproduction of Scenerio by Merce Cunningham

By Daniel Diller

In March 2014, Dave and I went to Dusseldorf, Germany where we worked with the Ballett Am Rhein to recreate Dave's lighting for Merce Cunningham's Scenario. Even now well over a year later, I clearly remember standing outside the EMMA lab and Dave casually saying, "I'm going to Germany next March and I want you to come with me." That was a good moment, but what followed a year later was a great adventure. Our days were an excellent mix of work and play; we would observe rehearsals in the morning, perhaps cue or watch a work call, then spend the afternoon moseying around town. It was great to watch Dave work with his staple laid-back attitude but also with a deep care for the work. For me though, the most valuable parts of the trip were the conversations I got to share with Dave. We left with a good relationship but we returned as friends who shared an experience that I'll never forget.

In Burkina Faso with Esther Baker-Tarpaga

Artists redition of the Department of Dance logo for Burkina Faso, 2010.On two different occasions Ohio State dancers trekked to Burkina Faso to study dance and music. One of those fortunate students was Abby Carlozzo, who became so infatuated that she returned to Burkina Faso on her own this past summer to continue research for her Senior project. A project she could have never envisioned had it not been for the tutelage of Esther Baker-Tarpaga, assistant professor 2009 – 2013.

By Abby Carlozzo (BFA Candidate 2015)

A performance artist, ethnochoreographer, and co-founder of Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project, Esther Baker-Tarpaga has dedicated much of her career to the rich hub of art and dance that exists within the continent of Africa. Though her work is currently rooted in the U.S., she maintains a strong relationship with her Africanist interests by pursuing artistic collaborations, study abroad experiences for students, and international performances across Africa. As the curator of the website, Shift Africa, Baker-Tarpaga aims to create a platform to inform the world about contemporary dance artists in Africa, calling upon her global audience to reconsider assumptions and stereotypes about Africa. Both inside and outside of Africa, Baker-Tarpaga's socially charged work explores race, gender, and identity. She is interested in the individual, the history, and personal strengths, weaknesses, and struggles that each dancer brings to their movement. Her provocative work continues to inform and educate audiences while remaining invested in these Africanist endeavors.

In Costa Rica with Study Abroad Students, Susan Hadley and Michael Kelly Bruce, Summer 2014

Group photo of Study Abroad students in Costa Rica.

International choreographer Jimmy Ortiz has been a returning guest artist in the Department of Dance. OSU Dance continues to offer enriching cultural dance experiences to our students. Many thanks to faculty member Norah Zuniga-Shaw, who originated the study abroad program to Costa Rica.

By Shannon Drake

Twenty-three Ohio State dancers, accompanied by Susan Hadley and Michael Kelly Bruce, went to San José to dance with Jimmy Ortiz, a prominent contemporary dance teacher and choreographer in Costa Rica, and to experience a taste of Costa Rican culture. Ortiz's classes and those taught by his students provided us with a diverse survey of the sensibilities that pervade contemporary dance in Costa Rica. Characterized mostly by extreme physicality, strength, speed, play, weight and flow, our dance experiences left us exhilarated by sheer movement and the power of our own bodies. Their approach to movement is much like their approach to life: every moment should be filled with curiosity, passion, and vitality to keep the world moving. And you can see how they come to this approach, as even the bustle of the city can be forgotten when looking at the cloud-covered mountain peaks that rise above the metropolitan structures of San José: a sight that encapsulates the easy beauty of Costa Rica and all that live there. I would go back for that view and those feelings in a heartbeat.

Intercultural Collaborations in the Americas

OSU Dance in Costa Rica, a blog