Faculty & Staff News

Department of Dance staffers with Chair Susan Van Pelt Petry: (l-r) Toby Kaufmann-Buhler, Carrie Cox, Dori Jenks, Amy Schmidt, Susan Petry, Elijah Palnik, Susan Chess, Lindsay Simon. Not pictured: Deb Singer.Harmony Bench

Harmony Bench began the school year by rupturing her Achilles. Nevertheless, with the incredible research assistance of undergraduates Christine Ghinder, Shannon Drake and Emily Liptow, her RCA-funded digital humanities project Mapping Touring: Itineraries in Motion is well underway. Bench presented her research at Hemispheric Institute, Network Detroit, SDHS/CORD and Performance Philosophy conferences, and was an invited presenter at both Brown and Duke Universities. She serves as co-editor of The International Journal of Screendance, and will soon conclude her term as secretary for CORD. She has lots of irons in the fire, but is most looking forward to recovering her ability to sauté. More information at harmonybench.com

Michael Kelly Bruce

Michael Kelly Bruce began his year rehearsing with an engaged and talented cast of 12 on the reworking of Pange Lingua, a dance he originally made in Texas after seeing Sankai Juku for the first time. Together they had a bountiful journey. He finished the year with receiving the President’s and Provost’s Award for
Distinctive Faculty Service for his 25 years of work in the department, college, university nd dance world. Said Bruce, “It was a terrific year.”

Dave Covey

Dave Covey spent the early part of the school year preparing for the grand reopening of Sullivant Hall and the many aspects of the site-specific performance piece, Sullivant’s Travels. He spent the latter part of the school year preparing for Helen P. Alkire’s 100th birthday celebration. Between these capstone projects, Covey continued his  stewardship of the seniors as they complete their projects. He also nurtures and maintains the connection to our emeriti. His latest project is a collaboration with glass blower Jonathan Capps, an MFA student in the Department of Art, the results of which will manifestas a piece for Dance Downtown in autumn 2015.

Melanye White Dixon

In addition to the recognitions and honors Melanye White Dixon received throughout the school year ( see pg. 17), she also presented conference papers at the 99th annual Association for the Study of African American Life and History Conference (ASALH) in Memphis, September 2014, and the Popular Culture Association in New Orleans, April 2015. Dixon delivered the Keynote Lecture for the 21st annual Black Women’s Conference, University of Kentucky, April 2015. She served as an  intern mentor for the Columbus City Schools and consultant to its Gifted and Talented Performing Arts Division. Dixon directs the Ohio State Dance Downtown  Young People’s Concert and is on the faculty advisory committee of the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. She spent an amazing week at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the summer 2014 gathering resources for her research on Graham dancer Mary Hinkson.

Karen Eliot

Karen Eliot is sad to be losing her beloved colleagues Melanie Bales and Candace Feck, and happy to have survived her first year as Graduate Studies Chair. She continues her work on her book Albion’s Dance: Ballet in Britain during the Second World War. After seven years of not having taught contemporary, Eliot had the pleasure of working with the freshmen on Cunningham Technique.

Susan Hadley

Susan Hadley took the reins of leadership on June 15 as new chair of the Department of Dance. Previous to this position, she completed an 18-month President and Provost’s Leadership Initiative. Additionally she choreographed a new work to Lou Harrison’s In Praise of Johnny Appleseed for Drums Downtown XI. Hadley was an inaugural recipient of the Ratner Award for Distinguished Teaching. As a teaching project partially funded by this award, Hadley will lead a group of 11 dancers to perform in Salvador, Brazil, during Spring Break 2016. ( see pg. 16)

Hannah Kosstrin

Hannah Kosstrin joined the Society of Dance History Scholars Editorial Board and continues her tenure as treasurer of the Congress on Research in Dance and as a member of the Dance Notation Bureau Professional Advisory Committee. She has furthered work on her book, Honest Bodies: The Dances of Anna Sokolow, which examines the critical functions of Jewishness, communism and gender in Sokolow’s 1930s-1960s choreography in the U.S., Mexico and Israel. She continues to work on KineScribe, the Labanotation iPad app she developed with David Ralley at Reed College. This year she presented papers about Sokolow and KineScribe at the CORD-SDHS joint conference at the University of Iowa, the Midwest Slavic Conference at Ohio State and the Conney Conference on Jewish Arts at the University of Southern California. She also taught a new special topics course about Jewish and Israeli dance.

Bebe Miller

Bebe Miller began the 2014–15 academic year choreographing Watching Watching for the Sullivant Hall opening celebration in September 2014. She also performed with The Wooster Group in Early Shaker Spirituals (2014), a reinterpretation of a record album of the same name that was recorded in 1976, by women of the Shaker community in Sabbath Day Lake, Maine. This project has taken her to the REDCAT in Los Angeles, St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York City and Der Singel in Antwerp, Belgium. Miller received an NEA grant for The Making Room Project, a collaborative project with choreographer Susan Rethorst that will track their separate choreographic processes over the course of a year, sharing them virtually and in in-progress gatherings during 2016. This spring Miller launched Dance Fort: A History, a digital book that shares the creative process behind A History (2012) with a wider audience; available for free download.

Mitchell Rose's

Mitchell Rose’s crowdsourced dance-film, Globe Trot that he made with Bebe Miller continues to ply the film festival circuit and has now garnered 11 awards. It recently received a distribution deal to be shown on international airline flights. He’s also in the midst of working on two other films: Editing a film he made with Susan Hadley that was shot from a helicopter and used 80 Ohio dance students (including 50 from Ohio State), and a new film project that will take two years to complete and uses contributions from 40 well-known choreographers the world over. In October, Mitchell will present his The Mitch Show a program of his films and audience-participation performance pieces, in the Barnett Theatre.

Valarie Williams

Valarie Williams, professor, co-directed from a Labanotation score Anna Sokolow’s Daydream from Rooms (1957) with Rachael Riggs-Leyva and Chair/Pillow from
Continuous Project Altered Daily…
(1969) by Yvonne Rainer for the department’s tour to China. Valarie hosted Lorry May, executive director of the Sokolow  Foundation, to check and coach the work. She co-published Dialogue Among Culture, Institutions and Individuals with Sergio Soave for the catalogue accompanying the international exhibition PULL LEFT: Contemporary Chinese Art, Horizon Rivers Press, and presented on theuniversity’s Town and Gown Partnerships at the Council of Arts Administrators in Chicago. She continues to serve the college as associate dean and as executive director of the Arts Initiative.

Norah Zuniga-Shaw

This year Norah Zuniga-Shaw served as a faculty fellow for internationalization of the curriculum at Ohio State’s University Center for the Advancement of Teaching. She was a plenary speaker at the American Society for Theater Research conference in Baltimore, Maryland, and also a keynote speaker at the Moving Stories think tank in Vancouver, B.C. at Simon Fraser University and Emily Carr College of Arts. Zuniga-Shaw published an article drawing from the last 10 years of research in choreographic visualization on digital articulations of choreographic ideas for Choreographic Practices Journal. She also taught an embodied research workshop with Nancy Stark Smith and they are starting a new choreographic visualization project focusing on Stark Smith’s structure for group improvisation, the Underscore. She is starting work on a new hybrid lecture/performance solo work on art, disaster and life in the 21st century with composer Byron AuYong and theater technician Oded Huberman in the Motion Lab at ACCAD.