The West African Drumming and Dance Concert was held May 12 in the Center for the Arts Green. The event featured master drummer and visiting artist in residence Attah Poku and choreographer and artist in residence Iddi Saaka, joined by their 72 students, guest artists and 16 student drummers. This annual performance showcases the vibrancy of West African cultures through music and dance forms.
On March 6, 2017, Ghana celebrated its 60th independence anniversary from British colonial rule. This spring’s West African Drumming and Dance concert was held in honor of the anniversary. Apart from the usual traditional dances, students also dressed as Ghanaian chiefs and queen mothers. In addition, a Wesleyan band performed live Ghanaian highlife music and a Ghanaian church based in Worcester, Mass. provided live choral music.
Following the performance, guests were treated to a reception with an assortment of Ghanaian dishes.
Photos of the performance are below. (Photos by Olivia Drake)
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Hari Krishnan (Photo by Michael Slobodian)
Associate Professor of Dance Hari Krishnan has been named one of “10 Toronto Stage Artists to Watch This Winter” by NOW Toronto magazine, which highlights his upcoming spring production, “Holy Cow(s)!” exploring cultural appropriation. It will run March 23-25 at Harbourfront Centre Theatre.
The profile of Krishnan states: “A few years ago, Krishnan heated up the local dance scene with a sizzling, eyebrow-raising piece about queerness called SKIN. Now, just in time to melt winter’s last snow comes a white-hot mixed program sending up ideas about gender, sexuality and cultural taboos. The night of solos and ensemble pieces includes works by David Brick, Seán Curran and Jay Hirabayashi. But look for Krishnan’s signature style – which mixes contemporary with Indian Bharatanatyam – to get you to say that title out loud.”
The Worlds of Dance Concert, held Dec. 4 at Crowell Concert Hall, featured the works of five different dance courses in their semester-end culminating performance. Beginning and intermediate dance students performed works in various styles including Bharata Natyam (South Indian classical dance). The classes were taught by Pedro Alejandro, associate professor of dance; Susan Lourie, adjunct professor of dance; Hari Krishnan, associate professor of dance; and Katja Kolcio, associate professor of dance.
(Photos by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19)
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The Center for the Arts hosted a West African Drumming and Dance Concert Dec. 2 at Crowell Concert Hall. The performance featured master drummer Emmanuel Attah Poku; choreographer and artist-in-residence Iddi Saaka; and more than 90 Wesleyan students. In addition, the Kiniwe African Dance Ensemble from Tufts University also performed at the concert. The event showcased the vibrancy of West African cultures through their music and dance forms. (Photos by Will Barr ’18)
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Associate Professor of Dance Katja Kolcio, bottom left, and Associate Professor of Dance Nicole Stanton, bottom right, perform with Freedom Dance Ukraine this summer. The project was based on Kolcio’s recent work in Ukraine. Other members of the ensemble: (above, left to right): Elvira Demerdzhy Julian Kytasty, Alina Kuzma. (Photo by Lucy Guiliano)
A Connecticut dance event offered Associate Professor of Dance Katja Kolcio an additional way to explore her ongoing dance/movement project highlighting the effect of political forces at work in Ukraine.
Last summer, Kolcio invited colleague and Associate Professor of Dance Nicole Stanton to join with two other dancers, both with ties to Ukraine, to create a dance. This event, Dance for Peace, was sponsored by Artists for World Peace, an organization founded and led by Wendy Black-Nasta P’07, with music director Robert Nasta MA ’98, P’07.
Kolcio, who holds a doctorate in somatics, places the dance they created, “Steppe Land,” in the context of her project in Ukraine, where she has familial roots.
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Visiting Instructor in Dance Eiko Otake performed at Wesleyan’s Alsop House.
Building off research she did for her work “Body in Places” at Wesleyan in fall 2015, Visiting Instructor in Dance Eiko Otake will present a major platform at Danspace Project in New York City on March 11. The free talks include those by Wesleyan faculty members William Johnson, professor of history, professor of East Asian Studies, professor of science in society, professor of environmental studies, and Katja Kolcio, associate professor of dance, associate professor of environmental studies.
March 11 marks the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan. A photo collective by Eiko and Johnston will be on display in the St. Mark’s Church sanctuary for 24 hours. Singers and poets will mark each hour with a song and poem.
Johnston will speak at 4 p.m., together with Marilyn Ivy of Columbia University. Kolcio will speak at 6 p.m. together with Yoshiko Chuma, artistic director and choreographer of The School of Hard Knocks and Daghdha Dance Company.
Admission is free, and attendees are encouraged to RSVP here.
Learn more about Eiko’s month-long, multi-disciplinary program here. Read recent coverage of the project in The New York Times here and here. (All photos by William Johnston).
Eiko at Governors Island.
Eiko in Manhattan.
Eiko on Governors Island ferry.
On Nov. 7, Adjunct Professor of Music Abraham Adzenyah and Artist in Residence Iddi Saaka taught a joint Homecoming/Family Weekend workshop for students, families and friends on Ghanian drumming and dance. Participants performed in Crowell Concert Hall with alumni accompanying on drums. Current Wesleyan students also performed. The event was one of three held that day in honor of Adzenyah’s 46 years at Wesleyan. Wesleyan is working to raise $300,000 to establish an Abraham Adzenyah Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship after his retirement. Find more information or make a donation here. (Photo by John Van Vlack)
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Professor Hari Krishnan recently received a prestigious award and residency at the University of Roehampton.
(photo c/o Stephen De Las Heras)
Hari Krishnan, assistant professor of dance, recently received the Choreomundus Scholars in Residence Award, which will support a three-week residence at the University of Roehampton in London, beginning May 18. During his residency, Krishnan will teach and mentor Choreomundus students who are working on their final project.
(photo c/o Michael Slobodian)
Krishnan expressed excitement over his award: “I am delighted and honored to be one of two recipients of the prestigious Erasmus Mundus grant for visiting scholars to the “Choreomundus International Masters in Dance Knowledge, Practice and Heritage” at the University of Roehampton’s Department of Dance in London.”
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Wesleyan will present “To Not Forget Crimea: Uncertain Quiet of Indigenous Crimean Tatars” Oct. 24. The event includes a panel discussion, faculty dance concert/multimedia presentation and reception.
On Oct. 24, the Dance Department and Center for the Arts present “To Not Forget Crimea: Uncertain Quiet of Indigenous Crimean Tatars,” a panel discussion and the Fall Faculty Dance Concert by Associate Professor of Dance Katja Kolcio.
While international media and political leaders are ignoring the situation in Crimea, this event draws public attention to the widespread violation of the Tatars’ human rights and the degree to which the Russian Occupation has forced them out of their ancestral homeland.
The evening will begin with a free panel discussion, “Indigenous Ukrainian Perspectives of Crimea Post Russian-Invasion,” from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Fayerweather Beckham Hall. The discussion will revolve around the current situation in Crimea, the quest for indigenous status by its Tatar population, and the movement for Tatar rights under Mustafa Jemilev, which through non-violence and interfaith collaboration offers an inspiring model for other oppressed peoples.
The event will be live streamed; see here for information and the live stream link.
Panelists will include Arsen Zhumadilov, founder and chairman of the Crimean Institute for Strategic Studies; Ayla Bakkalli, United States representative of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; and Greta Uehling, lecturer at the University of Michigan’s Program in International and Comparative Studies, and author of Beyond Memory: The Crimean Tatars’ Deportation and Return.
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Assistant Professor of Dance Hari Krishnan has been nominated for the Bessie Award for Outstanding Performer for his solo performance of “The Frog Princess,” which he performed as part of the La Mama Moves! Dance Festival in New York City in June and July.
Forty nominees for the 2012-13 Bessies, formally known as The New York Dance and Performance Awards, were announced at a press conference at the Gina Gibney Dance Center in New York on July 17. The 29th Annual Bessie Awards will be held on Oct. 7 at the Apollo Theater in New York.
Krishnan was one of 12 artists nominated for Outstanding Performer. See the full list here
. Read a New York Times
review of Krishnan’s performance, which he choreographed, here
Wesleyan’s West African Drumming and Dance performers.
Wesleyan’s annual West African Drumming and Dance concert, which took place on the Center for the Arts Green, was recently featured by the Middletown Patch.
The article, published on May 15, notes: “The exhilarating performance featured the work of Ghanian choreographer Iddi Saaka, Wesleyan world dance artist-in-residence; and master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, whose energetic and spirited students gave a sampling of what they’ve learned in West African dance courses this semester, accompanied by guest artists and drummers. ”
Read the article and see the video of the performance here.