Grinnell College Dance Ensemble/ACTivate and Grinnell College Jazz Ensemble

April 12, 2018

Thursday through Sunday, April 26–29, 2018

The Grinnell College Department of Theatre and Dance proudly presents Stranger in a Strange Land, a triptych of contemporary dances, live music, and spoken word.

The program includes three pieces of original choreography, each exploring investigations into the shared human experience of times when we have felt like strangers in some strange land. The audience is invited to arrive a half-hour before curtain to participate in a visual story-sharing installation in the theatre.

The free, ticketed performaces will take place in Roberts Theatre in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts on: 

  • 7:30 p.m. ​Thursday, Friday & Saturday, April 26–28
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, April 29

Tickets will be available at the box office in the Bucksbaum lobby beginning noon Monday, April 23, 2018.

Searching for the Eulipions

"Searching for the Eulipions" is choreographed by Celeste Miller, dance ensemble director, collaborating with the Jazz Ensemble,  directed by Mark Laver, assistant professor of music, and Gabriel Espinosa, lecturer in music, jazz music, and Latin American Jazz Ensemble..

 Miller, Laver, and Espinos, working through a collaborative process with eighteen dancers and thirteen musicians, incorporate the musicians as part of the overall choreography moving in and out of the stage picture with the dancers.

The title of the dance is from a poem by jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk and poet Betty Neals referring to the unexpected gifts we receive from strangers. Additional text inspiring the dance comes from biblical references to "the stranger" and an excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

Stranger Things: An Immigrant Story You Do Not See On TV!

Guest choreographer Mersiha Mesihovic's contribution to the triptych is "Stranger Things: An Immigrant Story You Do Not See On TV!"

Mesihovic's choreographic residency to create "Stranger Things" is made possible through the Strive Fund, which supports a five-week residency every spring for an international guest choreographer to create original work with Grinnell students. Mesihovic is a Bosnian/Swedish NYC- based dance/performance artist and cultural organizer.  

She worked with her cast of five Grinnell students to create a visual movement journey into the complexities of a refugee/immigrant reality, acknowledging the entanglement and impossibility of separation from one another in spite of our geographical and physical differences.  The dance unfolds as a collective re-imagining of the current world to a better, gentler place to exist together. "Stranger Things" was created using Mesihovic's interdisciplinary performance making approach that utilizes intersectional story-telling methods.


Niya Weedon ’18, a dance and theatre major, created "Wake-Up" for the triptych.

"Wake-Up" is a look into black existence at Grinnell College shown through movement and the original spoken words of Demarco Saffold ’20. This work focuses on the creation of Concerned Black Students (CBS) — the Black student union of the College. 

It moves chronologically from the influential convocation with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Grinnell in 1967 to the first demands created by the CBS student group, The Black Manifesto. "Wake-Up" then moves towards conventional issues of racial tension and the role of technology exposing the necessity of creating communities of belonging in strange lands.

"Wake-Up" was created in collaboration with a cast of movers from different backgrounds making the work representative of each individual member in an attempt to recognize that "Wake-Up" encompasses their own individual experience at the College.

​​​​​​Lighting design for Stranger in a Strange Land is by Tina Barrigan ’97.  Costume design is by Erin Gritsch-Howell


We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide a better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and to opt-out of cookies at any time, please refer to our website Privacy Policy.