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Amy AlbertOctober 20, 20228min
Wesleyan University faculty and students played an important role at Middletown’s 2022 Amistad Journey to Freedom Community Day Celebration in Harbor Park Saturday, October 8. Event planners coordinated with Discovering Amistad to offer age-appropriate tours of the replica vessel, which arrived in Middletown one week earlier.   Jesse Nasta ’07, assistant professor of the practice in African American Studies, who wrote his honors thesis on Middletown’s Beman Triangle, was already signed up to participate, leading the 4th Annual Middletown Middle Passage Ceremony. “The Middle Passage and the Middle Passage Ceremony are an origin story of the Beman Triangle and other…

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Andrew ChatfieldOctober 11, 20229min
The New England Foundation for the Arts awarded over $2 million to this year’s National Dance Project Production Grant recipients and finalists on September 28. Five of the 36 dance companies have close ties to Wesleyan University, from faculty and alumni to collaborative partners and guest artists. Twenty grantees will each receive $56,500 to create and tour a new dance work, and in support of production residencies and community engagement. The companies will also receive $10,000 in general operating support. And $700,000 is allocated to support U.S. organizations to present the projects in-person, digitally, or via new hybrid models. Hari…

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Steve ScarpaOctober 4, 20227min
The Hindu religious festival Navaratri holds a special place in Indian arts and culture. According to the popular mythology surrounding the festival, over the course of nine nights, the goddess Durga engaged in epic combat with a demon bent on destruction. As the celestial conflict raged around them, ordinary people comforted themselves with music and dance, sharing their talents with their neighbors. With the defeat of the demon, the time became known as a chance to ask for new blessings. "The festival has always had a special connection to the arts," said Hari Krishnan, Professor and Chair of Wesleyan's Department…

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Andrew ChatfieldSeptember 6, 20227min
The Class of 2026 began its first week at Wesleyan moving into the dorms and finished it congregating at the base of Foss Hill, moving to a calypso groove to break the ice. On the Friday evening before courses began, over 700 students from Wesleyan’s Class of 2026 took part in the 15th annual “Common Moment,” held on Andrus Field as part of new student orientation. The celebration also included new transfer students from both the Class of 2025 and the Class of 2024. Six faculty and staff members gave new students an opportunity to learn the eclectic and diverse…

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Olivia DrakeMarch 14, 20227min
Every year, Wesleyan's Dance Department faculty teach hundreds of students how to master ballet, West African, Indonesian, South Asian, Afro-Brazillian, and even hip-hop dance moves. But these scholar-teachers also work beyond the classroom, sharing their art with the general population. Last month, the work of three Wesleyan dance faculty caught the attention of the world-renowned Jacob's Pillow dance center. Jacob's Pillow is home to America's longest-running international dance festival and hosts performances, lectures, tours, films, artist talks, and exhibits, and boasts one of the most meticulously maintained dance archives in the country. "The Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival is one of…

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Olivia DrakeNovember 12, 20212min
"We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but I know we’ll meet again some sunny day. Keep smiling through just like you always do ‘til the blue skies drive the dark clouds away.” These lyrics, sung by Vera Lynn in the 1939 song "We'll Meet Again," are especially moving for Donna Brewer, director of employee benefits at Wesleyan. They'd be even more meaningful for her uncle Jim, an avid maple syrup maker and World War II vet, who died of COVID-19 in May 2020. "Uncle Jim passed away early on in the pandemic and at that time, we…

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Rachel Wachman '24June 18, 20215min
A new book written by two Wesleyan faculty explores the experience of two travelers in the land destroyed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. William Johnston, John E. Andrus Professor of History, and Eiko Otake, visiting artist in dance, are the co-authors of A Body in Fukushima, published June 1 by Wesleyan University Press. Johnston, a historian and photographer, accompanied Japanese-born performer and dancer Otake on five explorations across Fukushima, creating 200 photographs that document the irradiated landscape, accentuated by Eiko's poses depicting both the sorrow and dignity of the land. Johnston elaborated on the process of creating…

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Olivia DrakeNovember 23, 20208min
In South Asia, particularly in India, people are born into a caste system that determines their social status, career, and access to resources and opportunities. Under Brahmins (priests, intellectuals), Kshatriyas (military, warriors), Vaishyas (merchants, farmers), and Shudras (laborers, servants) are Dalits, also known as the "untouchables." Those in the Dalit caste group struggle with oppression and discrimination and are considered "dirty" and spiritually polluting. On Nov. 21, Wesleyan's South Asian students' association Shakti presented a conversation titled "Caste Conundrum and Identity Politics." Panelists included Hari Krishnan, professor of dance; Indira Karamcheti, associate professor of American studies; Manjula Pradeep, a human…

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Olivia DrakeNovember 16, 20204min
As a dancer and choreographer, Wesleyan's Visiting Dance Artist-in-Residence Eiko Otake spent the past 45-plus years of her career presenting her work in theaters, universities, museums, galleries, outdoor sites, and festivals worldwide. But like other artists navigating through the crisis, Otake was forced to find creative ways to re-focus, re-imagine, and share her work during the ongoing pandemic. In March 2020, the Center for the Arts invited Otake to begin a Virtual Creative Residency, during which she began shifting her performance-based art to an online venue named Eiko Otake’s Virtual Studio. Here, Otake posts her new creations, dialogues, and reflections.…

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Olivia DrakeOctober 17, 20202min
Katja Kolcio, director of the Allbritton Center, associate professor of dance, received a $64,745 grant from the United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme (UN RPP) this month to evaluate the impact of somatic methods on psycho-social wellness in the context of the armed conflict in Donbas, Ukraine. "Somatic methods, which are the basis of this project, are movement-based methods that hone body-mind connection in the interest of promoting self-awareness and wellness," Kolcio explained. The Vitality Donobas Project is a collaboration between Kolcio and the Development Foundation (DF), an NGO dedicated to psycho-social relief, formed in Ukraine during the Maidan Revolution.…

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Olivia DrakeSeptember 21, 20203min
When the COVID-19 outbreak disrupted in-person classes last spring, several faculty found innovative and creative ways to adapt to online teaching and learning. In the third of a fall-semester series, we’ll be highlighting ways faculty from various departments are coping with teaching during a pandemic, and showcase individual ways courses are thriving in an in-person, online, or hybridized environment. In this issue, we spotlight Katja Kolcio, associate professor of dance and director of the Allbritton Center. Kolcio also is a core faculty member of the College of the Environment, Environmental Studies, and Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies Programs at…