OSU Dance: Here, There and Everywhere

From the local scene to the international stage, the Department of Dance is out and about in our communities. With generous sponsorship of the Karen A. Bell Fund for Community Outreach, the Barbara and Sheldon Pinchuk Arts & Community Outreach Grant and the Outreach Arts Initiative of College of Arts and Sciences our outreach projects give close to 1,500 young people annually an opportunity to experience dance, validating the kinesthetic, musical and imaginative expressions of human existence, so often under-represented in education.

Ohio State Rep Co. Just in Time

Now Is The Time by Susan Van Pelt Petry, photo courtesy of Elijah Palnik.

Throughout April, 2015, a student repertory company of the Department of Dance toured public schools in the greater Columbus area. This select group of eight undergraduate and two graduate students rehearsed diligently for three months to learn seven new dance works. The company’s production, It’s About Time, explored how time and rhythm are used in choreography. The program included works by Bill T. Jones, Bebe Miller, Susan Hadley, Susan Van Pelt Petry, Tammy Carrasco and hip-hop artist Quilan Arnold. This project provided opportunities for dance majors to experience a glimpse of company life while introducing children in schools to contemporary dance forms. As part of their learning laboratory, company members took on various roles of tour management. They also prepared a study guide for the teachers.

Buckeye Roots Strings and Steps

Buckeye Roots, Strings and Steps group.

Dance PhD student Janet Schroeder served as artistic director of Buckeye Roots Strings and Steps, a group of Ohio State-affiliated musicians and dancers who toured China (Beijing, Wuhan, Suzhou and Shanghai) over spring break of 2015. Schroeder created a 45-minute performance, which was performed over nine days. Along with fellow clogger and Ohio State communications staffer Adam King, they kicked up their heels to the toe-tapping sounds of the trio of Joshua Coy (banjo), Carrie Miller (fiddle) and Liberty Brigner (guitar.) This tour was part of an ongoing cultural exchange program, courtesy of grants from the State Department with oversight by Bob Eckhart, executive director of the combined ESL programs, Department of Teaching and Learning, and director of the WHU-OSU Center for American Culture.

C.L.E.M. Summer Art Project

C.L.E.M. Summer Art Project group.

In the summer 2014, Ann Sofie Clemmensen invited Ohio State dance majors Kathryn Sauma, Kelly Hurlburt, Madeleine Leonard-Rose and Melissa Mark to Denmark to partake in her four week creative intensive C.L.E.M Summer Art Project. Besides immersing the dancers in various choreographic processes, cultural exchange played a pivotal role, as the mission of C.L.E.M Summer Art Project was to develop cultural understanding between United States and Denmark through art and physical imagination. The project received $1,880 from the American Embassy in Copenhagen. The “Small Grant” is given to programs that aim to promote the understanding and appreciation of American culture. The program included daily outdoor rehearsals, driving to various locations for filming, and teaching a master class to the National Danish Performance Team.

Day of Dance

Children participants in Day of Dance.

Last December, Dana Schafer, a fourth-year dance major, invited 70 third graders from Starling STEM School in Franklinton to Sullivant Hall to participate in a Day of Dance, which focused on community dance and the importance for children to experience the arts in public schools. The day was broken down into three 45-minute classes: creative movement and improv, jazz or hip-hop, and choreography to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. After learning the choreography, the children went back to their school and surprised their peers with a flash mob of Thriller. Ohio State dance alumna, Loren Bucek, PhD, Starling teacher and nationally recognized dance education specialist, spearheaded this connection.

Young People's Concert

Each year, 800 students from schools in the greater Columbus area are bussed downtown to our Young People’s Concert at the Capitol Theatre to see a fully produced program of contemporary dance excerpted from the weekend’s Dance Downtown production. Led by Melanye White Dixon, PhD, with a team of students, the lecture demonstration is carefully crafted to engage the audience as participants and observers as they familiarize themselves with contemporary dance. A study guide is also generated to provide teachers and students with a more in-depth look at the creative process of the Visit dance.osu.edu for the full choreographers’ works.