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The Carletonian

Weekend of Contemporary Dance part of new collaboration in Weitz

<st weekend, students and Northfield residents flocked to the “Weekend of Contemporary Dance,” a series of dance performances hosted by the Carleton Department of Theater and Dance at the Weitz Center for Creativity.
Carleton had the privilege of hosting Penelope Freeh and Paula Mann of Time Track Productions, and the Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater company.

Judith Howard, assistant professor of Dance at Carleton, described the exhibition as a “mini-festival.”
She complimented Director of Arts Steve Richardson with being “instrumental in making things happen. He wants a living laboratory for the arts, and this weekend’s performance really fit his mission.”

Stuart Pimsler and two other members of his company are teaching a course titled “Performing Politics” at Carleton this term.  Pinsler has spent 30 years exploring the connection between movement and meaning.
The class deals with “the idea that pieces can be created that have social justice issues as a motivating force behind them,” Howard said.

Kristen Dooley ‘13, who attended Pimsler’s performance, said it was “especially interesting to see a show sparked by political activism, presenting social issues through dance, which differs from the academic setting we typically encounter.”

Pimsler’s residency is part of the dance programs’s dedication this year to collaborate with the theater department. 

Both Pimsler and Paula Mann received grants, with the help of Howard, which included stipulations that the dance companies work and interact with the community.

Mann used members of the Northfield community in her mission to explore the relationship between media and humanity by using live performance as a foundation.

“I have made a conscious decision to dedicate the Dance Program to actualizing the idea of theater and dance as a department, finding ways of working together,” Howard said. “Consequently we have also offered the Semaphore Dance Company as a primary part of the theater production ‘Oresteia’ directed by Ruth Weiner in the spring.”

The recent collaboration between dance and theater fits squarely within the College’s expansive plans for the new Weitz Center.

Howard hopes the Weitz will “allow cross fertilization of dance and other disciplines, which will create a space for co-creation and collaboration, and will provide a way to bring the dance world to the students.”
The goal is to “make the Weitz center a vehicle to keep it connected to the twin cities, which also gives campus a presence in the dance world,” Howard said.

Since its opening this fall, the Weitz has maintained its buzz, especially as dance continues inspiring students.

“It was amazing,” said Dooley ’13, a member of Carleton’s modern dance company Semaphore.  “And seeing it live made it so much more powerful. Here, at Carleton, you can get entrenched in certain movement, always taking the same classes with the same people. This weekend inspired me in my own dancing.” 

Deborah Tan ’13, another Semaphore member, particularly enjoyed Freeh and Mann’s performance.
The audience became “part of the creative process, and part of the experience of the audience is to have their own interpretation, which stimulated my mind to think in a different way,” she said. “It’s amazing for anyone to experience that.”

With the construction of the new Weitz Center, Howard is motivated to continue bringing in outside dance companies to campus.

 “Dance has to keep circulating to stay alive at Carleton,” she said.

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