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Environmental dance artist to visit UVM

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Marsh Professor-at-Large Jennifer Monson will be visiting UVM the week of November 15th. Monson is a dance and environmental artist whose work looks at issues such as bird migration patterns and water systems, often working at outdoor sites, rather than traditional theater performance spaces. Her Marsh Professorship is supported by an interdisciplinary team of faculty members in dance, environmental studies, geography, and libraries.

UVM Marsh Professor-at-Large
JENNIFER MONSON: “Moving Places–A Lecture Demonstration of Environmental Dance”
Monday, November 15
7:00 PM
Billings Library-Marsh Lounge

Professor Jennifer Monson will show videos from the past decade of her environmental dance work. Using examples from the projects BIRD BRAIN, iMAP /Ridgewood Reservoir, Mahomet Aquifer Project, and SIP(sustained immersive process)/watershed she will discuss the interconnections between movement, choreography and environmental thought and science. She will invite the audience to engage in some of the basic perceptual practices she has developed as well as perform a brief solo.

UVM Marsh Professor-at-Large
JENNIFER MONSON: Movement Workshop
Wednesday, November 17
3:00-5:30 PM
Mann Gymnasium

“For the past several years I’ve been treading the cusp between inside and outside, acted upon and untouched, wild and civilized. In this workshop we will use methods I have developed from observing systems and patterns in the ecosystems I live to investigate improvisation. Starting from basic sensory and perceptual practices we will work towards creating transitions between energy states, between internal and external spaces and between our own and each other’s movements. Witnessing each other will help us understand how meanings get affixed to and reflected off the body. Intrinsic compositional logics will evolve in response to our understandings of the systems around and in us.”

Ridgewood Reservoir from Jennifer Monson on Vimeo.

Jennifer Monson (Artistic director, choreographer and performer, iLAND-interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance) uses choreographic practice as a means to discover connections between environmental, philosophical and aesthetic approaches to knowledge and understandings of our surroundings. As Artistic Director of iLAND she creates large- scale dance projects informed and inspired by phenomena of the natural and the built environment. Her project BIRD BRAIN (2000-2011) includes the theatrical work Flight of Mind (2005) and four migratory tours: Gray Whales (Spring 2001); Ospreys (Fall 2002); Ducks and Geese (Spring 2004); and Northern Wheatears (Fall 2011). Each tour followed the migrations of animals offering performances, workshops and panel discussions on navigation, migration and conservation. In 2007 she created iMAP/Ridgewood Reservoir, a yearlong research and performance practice in an abandoned reservoir in NYC. She is currently working on the Mahomet Aquifer Project in Illinois and SIP (sustained immersive process)/watershed in NYC. In addition Monson supports and mentors collaborative opportunities for movement based artists, scientists, environmentalists and others interested in our physical relationships to space and systems as a means to engage the public in a kinetic understanding of NYC’s urban environment through the iLAB residency program. Monson is currently on the faculty at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign in the Dance Department. She was hired through an initiative of the Environmental Council to foster sustainability across the campus and nationally.

The Mahomet Aquifer Project from Jennifer Monson on Vimeo.

Tommy DeFrantz Discusses Kake Walk

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Kake Walks and Dance Competitions: Race and Performance in American Popular Culture

Monday, October 4, 2010
7:00 PM – Royall Tyler Theatre

Dr. Thomas DeFrantz

Former Alvin Ailey dancer and MIT Professor of Music, Theater Arts, Comparative Media Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies Dr. Thomas DeFrantz will situate UVM’s Kake Walk in the broader context of American performance history. His most recent book is titled //Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance and Dancing//. His most recent creative works include /Queer Theory! An Academic Travesty/ commissioned by the Theater Offensive of Boston and the Flynn Center for the Arts & “CANE,” an immersive environment dance theater experience that explores black sharecropping after the Civil War. He created historical choreography, including a Juba Dance, for the second iteration of the New York History Workshop’s award-winning exhibition /Slavery in New York/ on display at the New York Historical Foundation since 2007.

Part of the launch announcing Kake Walk at UVM, the newest digital collection from the Center for Digital Initiatives.

UVM’s Kake Walk, a synchronized dance competition during the annual Winter Carnival, featured fraternity brothers in blackface and kinky wigs high-stepping to the tune “Cotton Babes.” The event, abolished in 1969, occupies a controversial position in the university’s institutional memory; it is, for some, a hallowed tradition and for others, overt racism.

To read more about student contributions to the digital collection, see this recent story in UVM Today.

Bamboozled, Kake Walk, & Blackface

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

BAMBOOZLED the movie

KAKE WALK the tradition

BLACKFACE the issue

Join us as we examine blackface and UVM’s once popular minstrel tradition Kake Walk through a film screening of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled. A pre-screening presentation will include a brief history of Kake Walk, an exploration of racist visual vocabulary, and a look at the resurgence of these themes. A discussion will follow the film.

7:00 PM – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2010 – Lafayette 108

Organized by the Center for Digital Initiatives, the Fleming Museum, and the Center for Cultural Pluralism. The CDI’s forthcoming collection Kake Walk at UVM will featured digitized archival material, and will launch on September 16th.