Bright lights, a disco ball, a swing and a two-foot layer of fog accompanied Assistant Professor of Dance Aretha Aoki as she took to the stage last Saturday in her multidisciplinary dance performance: IzumonookunI. On either side of Aoki were her fellow performers: her husband Ryan MacDonald and their six-year-old daughter, Frankie.
This year, hip hop celebrates its 50th anniversary. From basement block parties in the South Bronx to the Olympics at Paris 2024, hip hop as a culture has come incredibly far. This poses the exciting question of what more innovation could come in the next decade or two?
Next week, dance and a cappella groups will perform in a joint winter concert for the first time in the College’s history. Featuring six a cappella troupes and four dance troupes, the show will be held on Wednesday in Pickard Theater at 8 p.m.
On Wednesday evening, Senagalese storyteller Boubacar Ndiaye and musicians Baye Cheikh Mbaye and Pape N’diaye Paamath performed at the Kresge Auditorium. The performance, entitled “Voyage Sans Visa or Voyage Without a Visa,” explored experiences of African immigration through dance, music and storytelling.
Spring semester dance classes performed in the Spring Dance Concert in Pickard Hall yesterday and on Wednesday. The performance weaved dance styles and traditions together and included pieces from the Advanced Modern class, the Advanced Afro Modern class and the Introduction to Modern class.
Emma Dewey ’22, the first Bowdoin student to perform an honors dance thesis, previewed her piece, “Crazy American,” on the last day before winter break. Inspired by her Chinese lineage, biracial identity and the migration history of her mother’s family, Dewey crafted a personal piece that combines her focus on anthropology with her studies in dance.
Aminat Ibn Yusif ’23 spent her Wednesday night grooving to Sarz’s “Good Morning Riddim” in Room 213 of the Peter Buck Fitness Center. Led by Veeva Banga, a South Sudanese dancer from Portland, Maine, Yusif and other attendees explored African-inspired movement and music in the College’s AfroBeats dance workshop.
Senior Lecturer in Dance Gwyneth Jones began the semester on an exciting note as a dance consultant for the play “What Happened?: The Michaels Abroad,” which opened at Frederick Loewe Theater at Hunter College on September 9.
Dancers at Bowdoin are getting back on their feet, in person, after a year of virtual rehearsals and Zoom classes. Along with classes and programming within the dance department, 12 student dance groups are beginning to meet in-person this semester.
On May 22, the Department of Theater and Dance will stream its annual spring dance concert, which will feature student performances from four Bowdoin dance classes. While the concert will be presented as a film, the performers have had the opportunity to dance together for the first time in over a year to record the performance.
Theater and Dance students from Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 present senior studio projects in remote format
In past years, spring in the department of theater and dance has seen the culmination of seniors’ work in studio projects: performances written, directed and acted by Bowdoin students. For the Class of 2020, however, the beginning of the pandemic made live studio productions impossible.
In response to the challenges posed by social distancing and remote learning, several dance groups at Bowdoin—including Polar Bear Swing Dance, VAGUE and Arabesque—have adapted their structures to keep their members socially connected and active. Polar Bear Swing Dance, led by Sydney Cox ’23 and Zachary Kaplan ’21, has been meeting exclusively over Zoom since last semester.
Editor’s note 12/28/2020 at 10:38 p.m.: This article has been updated to accurately reflect details around the establishment of the Movement Collective. Seeking to replace the tedium of Zoom meetings with the joyful experience of shared dance, Lucy Sydel ’22 and Emma Dewey ’22 are transforming the landscape of dance at Bowdoin through the Movement Collective: an expressive, dance-based initiative that emphasizes the need for student connection without the formality of usual Zoom meetings.
Before spring break, Lucia Gagliardone ’20 put up posters for her Senior Studio performance, “Like Water.” The first dance major at Bowdoin, she wanted the performance to serve as the culmination of her years-long study at Bowdoin, as in any other department.
Dancing outdoors and sharing snapshots of quarantined family life, faculty from the Department of Theater and Dance relayed an exuberant and spirited message to the Bowdoin community last week. With 2,500 views and counting, professors starred in a video cover of The Temptations’ 1960s Motown hit “Can’t Get Next To You,” taking a humorous—albeit important—stance on the social distancing measures prompted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Last Friday, Bowdoin College Dance Marathon hosted its third annual Dance Marathon to raise money for Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland. This year’s Dance Marathon had more students registered than ever before and raised a record amount of money, an increase the leaders of the event attributed to improved collaboration with athletic teams and College Houses.
Promising dazzling choreography and powerful theatrical pieces, the theater and dance department will bring the fall semester to a close with an array of student works. These culminating performances will be showcased in the December Dance Concert and performances of directing class projects over the next week.
Literature, Peruvian art and dance: an unlikely combination unlike most artists typically hosted at Bowdoin. On Tuesday night, Vannia Ibarguen brought these disciplines together in her performance “Retablo Peruano” in Kresge Auditorium. “Retablo Peruano” translates roughly to “Peruvian altarpiece.” A retablo is a sculptural work created by indigenous Peruvian artists, depicting scenes of daily life or exceptional historical events.
The Bowdoin dance group Reaction is entering its third year in operation and continues to be a fun space for students to learn, appreciate and practice K-pop performance. Group leader, Bethany Berhanu ’20, has danced in Reaction since its founding in 2017.
Produced, edited and filmed by Alexandra Lin ’23 Sophomore Emma Dewey used to think dancing was about perfect posture and technique. For her, improvisation used to take place in her bedroom only. Now, in her fourth dance class in three semesters and as a leader of the Bowdoin Modern Dance Collective, she’s begun exploring dance that makes her feel good—and lots of other feelings, too.
The theater is dark, and nobody is on the stage. The lights are off and the room is quiet until a voice breaks the silence. Assistant Professor of Dance Aretha Aoki’s voice is broadcast throughout Wish Theater, but she remains off stage.
Walking into Edwards Center for Art and Dance, you may run into interdisciplinary work in action. Last year, the Department of Theater and Dance launched the Performing Arts major with concentrations in dance, theater and interdisciplinary performance.
A semester’s worth of work by Bowdoin dancers will come to life in Pickard Theater tonight. Six unique pieces will represent nearly every dance class from the department, as over 60 students grace the stage at the December Dance Concert.
For two student artists, their latest show was an exercise in vulnerability. Exploring movement and meaning, Lucia Gagliardone ’20 and Felicia Wang ’20 were two of eight college students to perform in a works-in-progress show for Portland Dance Month on November 4.
In preparation for the Spring Dance Concert, the Department of Theater and Dance enlisted change agent Katy Pyle as guest choreographer. Though the annual concert typically only showcases the work of the department’s students and faculty, this year, Pyle collaborated on the performance with faculty choreographers Aretha Aoki, Gwyneth Jones and Vanessa Anspaugh.
The dance department’s annual December show allows students, both novice and advanced, to show off their skills in dance, choreography and staging. This year’s show, without the usual guest performances and more elaborate staging, put the spotlight on the department’s class projects.
Pillows and sleep, improvisation, site-specific choreography and being yourself—this year’s annual Spring Dance Concert will showcase a broad range of contemporary styles, themes and techniques from dancers enrolled in student soloists, special guest Rakiya Orange ’11 and Modern classes.