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When the Wolves Came In

Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion will perform “When the Wolves Came In,” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, in Roberts Theatre in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

This stand-alone repertory-based program explores the historical legacy of two triumphs in the international history of civil rights: the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 20th anniversary of the abolishment of apartheid in South Africa.

Abraham was inspired by Max Roach’s iconic 1960 protest album “We Insist: Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite,” which celebrated the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation and shed a powerful light on the growing civil rights movements in South Africa and the United States.

The potent themes inherent in these historical milestones are evident in Abraham’s choreography, evocative scenery by visual artist Glenn Ligon, the visceral power of Roach’s masterwork and original compositions of Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Robert Glasper.

In addition to the performance, Abraham will give a free, public talk titled "Dance Repertory as Creative Collaboration" at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101. The Center for the Humanities and the Public Events Committee are sponsoring the talk and the performance.

About Kyle Abraham

A 2013 MacArthur Fellow, Abraham began his dance training at the Civic Light Opera Academy. He later studied dance at State University of New York at Purchase, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and at New York University, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts in the Tisch School of the Arts.

Abraham’s choreography has been presented throughout the United States and abroad in countries including Canada, Ecuador, Germany, Ireland, Japan, and Jordan. In November 2012, Abraham was named New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist for 2012-14. One month later, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater premiered his work, “Another Night at New York’s City Center,” to rave reviews.


“When the Wolves Came In” is free and open to the public, although tickets are required.

Ticket distribution will begin at noon Tuesday, Sept. 8, in the box office of the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. A limited number of tickets are also available at the Pioneer Bookshop located at 823 Fourth Ave.

Any tickets not distributed by the box office will be available the night of the show beginning one half hour before show time. For more information, call 641-269-3236.

No tickets are needed for Friday's talk.

Teaching Science through Dance

Ana NovakAna Novak ’14 loves science. She also loves dance. Through independent work and a yearlong Mentored Advanced Project (MAP), she combined her passions to both teach and learn.

Dancing DNA

When Novak was a second-year, Celeste Miller, associate professor of theatre and dance, introduced her to Dance Your Ph.D. In the competition, scientists use choreography to answer the question, “What is your Ph.D. about?”

“It’s not dissimilar to using models and diagrams to make concepts more understandable. The difference,” Novak says, “is that in dancing a scientific text, you make it a more personal learning experience and take ownership of the material for yourself.”

Her third year, Novak worked with some members of the College’s dance ensemble to create a performance based on DNA. “I would come in with different pictures of DNA, and we looked at how it was represented in texts,” she says.

Her visual aides included:

  • a three-dimensional model of a double helix;
  • pages filled with the letters C, A, T, and G;
  • X-ray crystallography; and
  • the lines of DNA gel electrophoresis (a way to separate fragments of DNA for analysis).

Kinesthetic Kids

Her senior year, Novak worked with Miller on a two-part MAP.

The first semester, she worked with elementary school students at the Galaxy youth center to examine the efficacy of kinesthetic learning.

She presented the children with a concept that they wouldn’t learn about in school for a decade, a formal definition of DNA:

Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the instructions used to aid in the development and growth of all known living organisms.

“That’s quite a punch as a definition,” Novak says.

The kids worked from the vocabulary that they were able to relate to, embodying concepts such as “contain” and “growth.”

“Hopefully, when they learn the science later in life,” says Novak, “they’ll relate the words to the reality of DNA.”

Solo Show

Jackie Brown, a biology professor, shares Novak’s interest in the intersection of science and art — particularly dance. He offered her the use of a research proposal developed with Idelle Cooper ’01 on the evolution of color in Hawaiian damselflies.

She based her performance, “Performative Reflections on an Evolutionary, Ecological Research Proposal,” on the language from the proposal’s introduction.

Novak says that the dance can be analyzed based on her specific interpretations from Brown and Cooper’s proposal. But there’s nothing wrong with simply appreciating the beauty that science can inspire.

Novak took the MCAT this summer and is working as a medical scribe for a year before entering medical school. She hopes to do more work kinesthetic learning with children in classroom settings.

Ana Novak dancing

"The Contingency Plan" premieres Oct. 7-10

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am

GRINNELL, IA—The Grinnell College Department of Theatre and Dance will premiere the U.S. production of “The Contingency Plan” by British playwright Steve Waters, Oct. 7-10, in Flanagan Arena Theatre in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts on the Grinnell campus.

The play, which debuted in London and was hailed by critics as a “massive achievement,” focuses on current debates about responses to environmental disasters caused by climate change. The production combines elements of family drama, farce and thriller, with a conservative British government in power and a young, maverick glaciologist predicting catastrophe.

The Grinnell premiere is an adaptation of Waters’ BBC radio play, redesigned for the stage by director Lesley Delmenico, associate professor of theatre and dance. Waters, a lecturer at the University of Birmingham (England), collaborated with the Grinnell student cast during a two-week campus residency which was sponsored by the college’s Center for International Studies and included a playwrighting short course.

Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. for the Oct. 7, 8 and 9 performances and 2 p.m. for the Sun., Oct. 10 performance. Tickets are required for this free event and may be obtained at the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts ticket office beginning Oct. 4 from 12-5 p.m. daily. The Bucksbaum Center for the Arts is located at 1108 Park St. on the Grinnell College campus. Box office and ticket information is available at http://web.grinnell.edu/theatre/facilities/box_office.html or by calling 641-269-4444.