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Theatre and Dance

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.

Tickets

“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.

Nature - A Walking Play

Grinnell College will host three outdoor performances of “Nature — A Walking Play” about Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau from Sept. 11-13 at the Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA).

TigerLion Arts will present the mythic telling of Emerson and Thoreau’s mutual love affair with the natural world. Grounded in the story of their friendship, the production offers a perspective on their lives that is strikingly relevant, richly complex, and yet utterly simple. 

A professional ensemble of actors will take the audience on a journey through the natural environment as scenes unfold around them. Bagpipes, ancient flutes, drums and rich choral arrangements will be intricately woven into the experience. 

“Nature” is an extraordinary, family-friendly journey that co-mingles story, spirit, and nature, as a means to reconnect its audience with the natural world. This original work was collaboratively created with writer and actor Tyson Forbes, a direct descendant of Emerson. 

Two Grinnell College alumni have key roles in the production. John Catron ’02 plays Thoreau, and Sara Shives’97 serves as production manager.

For more information, including ticket and transportation information, see Nature — A Walking Play.

Nature: A Walking Play

Grinnell College will host three outdoor performances of “Nature — A Walking Play” about Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau from Sept. 11-13 at the Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA).

TigerLion Arts will present the mythic telling of Emerson and Thoreau’s mutual love affair with the natural world. Grounded in the story of their friendship, the production offers a perspective on their lives that is strikingly relevant, richly complex, and yet utterly simple. 

Bolstering the Arts

Chris Bulbulia ’10 came to Grinnell College as a Posse Foundation scholar interested in theatre. He wanted to become a professional actor, but a wealth of support and experience combined with intellectual flexibility honed at Grinnell opened up an even richer path of discovery.

Two short years after leaving Grinnell, Bulbulia had already climbed from post-graduate intern to a full-time development assistant at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. One night at the urging of a friend he journeyed across town to see Congressional Chorus perform its annual cabaret at the historic Atlas Performing Arts Center. It changed everything.

“I’d seen ballet and opera. I’d seen lots of shows at the Kennedy Center,” Bulbulia says. “But I saw this show and my jaw fell to the floor. I was like, whoa, what is this? There was such a range of genres — a cappella singing, bands and dancing, soloists and ensembles. It was a wonderful production.

“I fell in love with Congressional Chorus the first time I saw the cabaret,” Bulbulia says. “I feel very proud to be part of the organization today.”

Congressional Chorus and American Youth Chorus — its full name — is a family of five choruses devoted to American choral music. It performs a full slate of concerts and special appearances each year in Washington, D.C., including The White House and Capitol Hill occasions.

Bulbulia became a Congressional Chorus singer in 2013. He quickly transitioned to become the organization’s director of marketing, production, and development.

“We have a performance style for everyone,” Bulbulia says. “You’re not going to get the same thing every time you come to a show, which really lends to a dynamic season that people enjoy.”

Building relationships

Far from being overwhelmed by his multi-faceted job, Bulbulia is energized by the integration of functions he came to appreciate as a theatre major at Grinnell, as a freelance fundraiser for non-profit groups, and as an intern and employee at the Kennedy Center.

“There is a whole other side to the arts besides being a performer,” Bulbulia says. “I’ve come to understand that relationships need to be built in order to sustain organizations. This job incorporates all of the elements that allow Congressional Chorus to be healthy.”

Posse support

Bulbulia grew up in Maryland and Washington, D.C. He arrived at Grinnell as a Posse scholar through the College’s partnership with the Posse Foundation in his hometown. The Posse Foundation’s model is based on the idea that a small, diverse group of talented and carefully selected students can serve as a catalyst for individual and community development. It worked especially well for Bulbulia. 

“I had a great experience at Grinnell because of my Posse’s support system, and also because the Posse Foundation correctly decided that I would be a great fit for Grinnell,” he says.

Bulbulia’s activities at Grinnell included two years with the Grinnell Singers. His participation with the Student Publications and Radio Committee (SPARC) gave him insights into fundraising, allocations, and non-profit relationships.

Shortly after graduation, Bulbulia worked as an overhire stagehand in and around D.C. while “doing the struggling actor thing.” He even went to bartending school. The plan shifted, he says, when opportunities at the Kennedy Center refocused his attention on arts management.

“The arts are in need of people who can bolster the craft and provide good representation for artists themselves,” Bulbulia said. That includes helping artists make sound financial decisions and building their marketing and technical skills to assist in the creation of their best productions and performances.

Bringing people together

Bulbulia continues to work in support of community organizations such as Afromoda Dance Theater, City at Peace, D.C. Public Library’s Punk Archive, and Funk Parade. He is a member and officer in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, which is dedicated to the principles of friendship, love, and charity.

He also manages events and partnerships for the city’s largest online music magazine, DCMusicDownload.com, which provides in-depth coverage of the local music scene and hosts major music events at prestigious venues like 9:30 Club, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Howard Theatre.

“I have strong commitment to community and to bringing people together through fellowship,” Bulbulia says. “That is why I’ve been a part of all these organizations — to help communities grow and enjoy life together.”

Professor's Fellowships Lead to Taiwan

Craig Quintero, associate professor of theatre and dance, has been named the Frank and Roberta Furbush Faculty Scholar for the 2015-16 academic year. Quintero has also received a Fulbright Scholar Award and an Academic Enterprise Leave grant, funded by a grant made to the College by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to support his research and creative work in Taiwan during his sabbatical year.

As a Frank and Roberta Furbush Faculty Scholar, Quintero will direct his new production Rice Dreams at the Avignon Off Festival in France this summer as well as his multi-media performance Dreaming David Lynch at Taiwan’s National Experimental Theatre in November. During the fall he will also teach a class on site-specific art at Taipei’s National University of the Arts as a Fulbright Scholar. In the spring, Quintero will study filmmaking with Taiwanese director Hung Ya-yen and produce his first short film.

Quintero has spent more than ten years in Asia and has worked to forge cultural exchanges between Grinnell College and Taiwan.

As the artistic director of Riverbed Theatre, he has staged his image-based productions in Germany, Taiwan, France, Macau, Singapore, and Japan. Last year, Quintero collaborated with Professor John Rommereim, music, and six Grinnell students in staging an adaptation of Richard Wagner’s opera Das Rheingold in Taipei. The production was nominated for Taiwan’s prestigious Taishin Arts Award.

The Frank and Roberta Furbush Faculty Scholarship was established in 2000 by the late Roberta Stanbery Furbush in appreciation for the influence of Grinnell College upon the lives of her and her husband, Frank. Both Frank and Roberta were highly active in the Des Moines community, and both enjoyed theatre, art, and music.

Liberal Arts and an Embodied Life

Jonathan Miller-LaneJonathan Miller-Lane’s teaching and writing center on a single question: How do we draw from the best traditions of a liberal arts education while responding creatively and compassionately to the realities and challenges of contemporary society in the USA?  

Miller-Lane will present “A Liberal Arts Education and the Making of an Embodied Life” at 8 p.m. Monday, April 27, 2015, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101. The event is free and open to the public.

The philosopher John Dewey argued that, “Freedom is not the absence of an external limit of control, but rather the presence of an internal locus of control.” If that’s true Miller-Lane asks, “In a society that places such a high value on ‘productivity’ and that seems increasingly obsessed with measuring academic achievement using ‘objective’ measures, what possible role might a liberal arts education still play? How might an embodied approach, that is, an approach that takes seriously the possibility that our bodies are sites of knowing, inform our understanding of the meaning and purpose of a liberal arts education?”  

His talk, he says, “will explore these questions, offer some initial responses, and invite discussion.”

While here, Miller-Lane joins theatre professor Celeste Miller, developer of Curriculum in Motion, to present a College-only workshop to experiment with embodied learning methods.

About the Speaker

Jonathan Miller-Lane is associate professor and director of the Education Studies Program at Middlebury College, Middlebury Vermont.

His is the author of "Toward an Embodied Liberal Arts" and the faculty head of a residential commons, where he helps foster deeper connections between academic and residential life. 

He addresses questions such as:

  • Is ‘disinterested learning’ still ethical in a post Ferguson world?
  • Which cherished ideals should we keep and which should we allow to rest in peace? 
  • How should we choose? 

Miller-Lane holds the rank of Sandan in the Japanse martial art of Aikido and founded Blue Heron Aikido of Middlebury in 2004.  The philosophy of Aikido informs many aspects of his work.

Miller-Lane’s visit is a collaboration of athletics and recreation and theatre and dance, and is supported by a Midwest Conference athletics integration grant.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

The Making of an Embodied Life

Jonathan Miller-LaneJonathan Miller-Lane will present a free public talk, "A Liberal Arts Education and the Making of an Embodied Life," at 8 p.m. Monday, April 27, in Rosenfield Center, Room 101.

The philosopher John Dewey argued that, “Freedom is not the absence of an external limit of control, but rather the presence of an internal locus of control.”

Jonathan Miller-Lane asks “In a society that places such a high value on ‘productivity’and that seems increasingly obsessed with measuring academic achievement using ‘objective’ measures, what possible role might a liberal arts education still play? How might an embodied approach, that is, an approach that takes seriously the possibility that our bodies are sites of knowing, inform our understanding of the meaning and purpose of a liberal arts education?”

In his talk, Miller-Lane will explore these questions, offer some initial responses, and invite discussion.

The departments of athletics and recreation and theatre and dance collaborated on this event, which is supported by a Midwest Conference athletics integration grant.

About Jonathan Miller-Lane

Jonathan Miller-Lane is associate professor and director of the Education Studies Program at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont. He is also the faculty head of a residential commons, working with colleagues and the student residential life staff to help foster deeper connections between academic and residential life.

His teaching and writing center on a single question: How do we draw from the best traditions of a liberal arts education while responding creatively and compassionately to the realities and challenges of contemporary society in the USA? 

For example, is ‘disinterested learning’ still ethical in a post-Ferguson world? Which cherished ideals should we keep and which should we allow to rest in peace? How should we choose?

Miller-Lane holds the rank of Sandan in the Japanese martial art of Aikido and founded Blue Heron Aikido of Middlebury in 2004. The philosophy of Aikido informs many aspects of his work.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from the event sponsors or Conference Operations.

 

Artists/Writers@Grinnell: Dan O’Brien

Dan O'BrienAward-winning poet and playwright Dan O'Brien's second visit to Grinnell College this semester features a reading of the first act of his award-winning play, The Body of an American, at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 17.

In March, O’Brien taught an English and theatre short intensive course on the creation of a one-act play. Students of the course learned the fundamentals of dramatic structure. They will present 10-minute excerpts from their one-acts at 3–6 p.m. Saturday, April 18.

Both events are free and open to the public, and will be held in Wall Theatre Lab, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Room 154.

The Body of an American records the story of the relationship between war reporter Paul Watson, known for his iconic photograph of a dead American soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, and O’Brien, who helped each other process their roles in bearing witness. The Body of an American won the Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play, the PEN Center USA Award for Drama, and other awards. O’Brien’s poetry collections include Scarsdale and War Reporter.

O’Brien’s visit is sponsored by Writers@Grinnell and Artists@Grinnell.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.