Tag Archive for dance department

“Improvisational Forms” Class Performs on Campus

Students enrolled in the “Improvisational Forms” dance course performed May 6 and May 8 at various locations, and on various objects, around campus. The class is designed to explore different approaches to dance improvisation. Students learn to expand movement vocabulary, increase compositional awareness, develop their creative thinking and observational skills, and sharpen their performance presence. The class is taught by Susan Lourie, adjunct professor of dance. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Improvisational Forms class tauught by Susan Lourie.

5 Questions With . . . Urip Maeny on 40 Years Teaching Javanese Dance at Wesleyan

Artist-in-residence Urip Sri Maeny, who is known on campus as "Maeny," says Javanese dance requires highly controlled movements of different parts of the body to be synchronized with musical rhythms. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Artist-in-residence Urip Sri Maeny, who is known on campus as “Maeny,” says Javanese dance requires highly controlled movements of different parts of the body to be synchronized with musical rhythms. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we ask “5 Questions” of Urip Maeny, artist in residence in dance. She she has taught at Wesleyan since 1972, and will retire this year.

Q: Please tell us when and how you first began studying Javanese dance.

A: I began studying Javanese dance informally when I was still in elementary school in my hometown of Pekalongan in Central Java, Indonesia in the early 1960s. In 1961, I studied at the gamelan conservatory (high school level) in Surakarta. The school allowed me to focus my study on dance—especially Javanese dance, but also Balinese and Sudanese dance. After graduating, I taught dance at the conservatory for a couple of years. As both a student and faculty member at the conservatory, I danced in many cities in Java and Bali. Once, I performed the most sacred Javanese dance in the court of Surakarta.

Then, in 1968, I moved to Jakarta, and worked at the Cultural Office there. My assignment included teaching at the Presidential Palace, especially to the children of the President. I was also a member of a performing arts group, which performed abroad in Hong Kong, Australia and the Middle East.

Q: How did you end up coming to the U.S., and teaching at Wesleyan?

A: In 1971, I joined my husband, Sumarsam, who at that time was working and teaching gamelan at the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, Australia. In 1972, Wesleyan invited Sumarsam to teach gamelan, so we both departed Australia for Wesleyan. Soon after arriving at Wesleyan, the Wesleyan Music Department assigned me to assist my husband, teaching Javanese dance. I taught Javanese dance as part of the World Music Program until I was transferred to the Dance Department in the mid-1980s. I continue to teach a course in Javanese dance, and closely collaborate with the gamelan group in the Music Department. I direct Javanese dance and dance drama on and off campus, including a Javanese dance drama and gamelan performance at Lincoln Center in New York. While in residence at Wesleyan, I have performed in many cities in the U.S. and abroad. I have also briefly taught Javanese dance at Cornell and at Smith College.

Q: What has kept you at Wesleyan for 40 years?

A: Teaching Javanese dance to American students is a challenge, especially when you teach it by yourself. Javanese dance requires highly controlled movements of different parts of your body to be synchronized with musical rhythms. (See more photos of Maeny ‘s class online here. Watch a video of Maeny teaching Javanese Dance at Wesleyan online here.) 

West African Dance, Drumming Classes Prepare for CFA Performance

Join students enrolled in West African Drumming and West African Dance courses for an invigorating performance filled with the rhythms of West Africa. Choreographer Iddi Saaka and Master Drummer Abraham Adzenyah will perform with their students in a West African Drumming and Dance performance at 3 p.m. May 10 in the Center for the Arts courtyard. The rain site is Crowell Concert Hall. Free!

Pictured below are photos of their practice on April 17:

West African Dance and Drumming.

#THISISWHY

Krishnan Featured in 2 Dance Journals

Hari Krishnan (Photo by Miles Brokenshire)

Hari Krishnan (Photo by Miles Brokenshire)

Hari Krishnan, assistant professor of dance, was featured in two recent journals, The Dance Currant and Religion Compass.

The Dance Currant article, “The Singular Path of Hari Krishnan,” discusses Krishnan’s solo at “The Men Dancers: From the Horse’s Mouth,” a concert of original choreography for the 80th anniversary season of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

Krishnan also appears as the subject of The Religion Compass article, “Innovations in Contemporary Indian Dance: From Religious and Mythological Roots in Classical Bharatanatyam.” The three-part essay traces a history of the revival of bharatanatyam, citing Krishnan as a pioneer of Contemporary Indian Dance.

Krishnan currently teaches “Bharata Natyam I: Introduction of South Indian Classical Dance” at Wesleyan.