The Oberlin Review

Coltrane Show Offers “Escape” into Music, Dance

Julia Hubay, Staff Writer

March 16, 2012

A disembodied voice rang out in the darkened cavern of Warner Main Space: “May there be peace and love and perfection throughout all creation, oh God.” Slowly, musicians joined in with the repeated mantra, and the homage to John Coltrane swung into motion. Essence presented “Escape from New Babylon to the Sweet Music of John and Alice Coltrane” on March 9 and 10 with sponsorship from the African American Studies and Theater and Dance departments. Adenike Sharpley, artistic director for Dance Diaspora, performed beautifully expressive pieces in addition to directing the show. In the program notes she commented: “I didn’t want to give lip service to [Coltrane], rather I actually wanted to honor him by doing...

Essence Dances to Music of John and Alice Coltrane

Elizabeth Dobbins

March 9, 2012

“Escape from New Babylon to the Sweet Music of John and Alice Coltrane,” presented by Essence dance troupe, is the second in a trilogy of artist showcases that began with 2010’s celebration of musician Eric Dolphy. Showing in Warner Main on March 9 and 10 at 8 p.m., the event will be a mix of music, dance and spoken-word performances. The show’s artistic director, the African American Studies Department’s artist-in-residence Adenike Sharpley, explained that the dance portion of the show will feature black expressionism, a form of dance improvisation heavily influenced by West African styles ,originally introduced to Sharpley by her mentor, Margaret Christian, OC ’74. Sharpley said this improvisational...

On the Record: Nusha Martynuk, Founder of OASIS

Kara Brooks, Arts Editor

March 2, 2012

Can you tell me a little bit about how OASIS started? In the spring of 2006, I became the director of Dance, and I was talking to the dean at the time about collaboration, teaching more collaboratively and allowing the arts to do more work of that sort. Then, in fall of 2010, it so happened that the President’s Office called a meeting with the arts chairs about a wonderful organization on the west side of Cleveland called the Gordon Square Arts District that represents a number of arts organizations which are housed in that area. Gordon Square was interested in partnering with Oberlin to say “Let’s see if we can do programming that is more educationally oriented for us,” something they don’t do and t...

Ntozake Shange on Why She Had to Dance

Kara Brooks, Arts Editor

February 10, 2012

Every seat was filled in the Science Center’s West Lecture Hall at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 8, which was surprising for the time of day. After a brief delay due to wheelchair inaccessibility, Ntozake Shange finally made her way to the stage. The room hushed to hear the acclaimed playwright and poet speak, and Associate Professor of African American Studies Caroline Jackson Smith chimed in, “It’s my experience that a conversation between two artists can be even richer than just one artist.” Choreographer Dianne McIntyre joined Shange, taking the seat angled next to her, both of them smiling. The experience was indeed rich as the two artists read and discussed passages from Shange’s new collection of writing, lost in ...

Art Departments Collaborate with Gordon Square Arts District

Nancy Roane, Staff Writer

October 14, 2011

Oberlin College’s departments of Theater, Art and Dance are collaborating with the Gordon Square Arts District located in Cleveland’s west side. Oberlin students will soon have the opportunity to get involved in art exhibitions, Winter Term projects and other artistic programs from the neighboring city of Cleveland. The Gordon Square Arts District is an initiative that has worked since 2006 to bring economic and artistic development to an area in Cleveland previously in decay. The three founding partners of GSAD are Cleveland Public Theatre, Near West Theatre and the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization. With the goal of sparking economic development and job creation, the GSAD works to bring arts...

Dancing Community: The Dance of Social Resistance

Kara Brooks, Arts Editor

September 30, 2011

In celebration of Latino/a Heritage Month at Oberlin College, Ana María Alvarez, OC ’99, came to Oberlin this past Tuesday to provide a public lecture, as well as instruct two master dance classes. After studying at the North Carolina School of the Arts and training with the Urban Bush Women, Alvarez, a Cuban-American choreographer, created CONTRA-TIEMPO, a dance program at University of California Los Angeles Lab School, which is now the focus of her work. CONTRA-TIEMPO serves not only as an arts education program, but also as a dance company suitable for concert stage. “We struggle with communicating to people that we do both and that we do both well,” Alvarez said. Activist performance work is a key element...

Solarity’s Neon Garden Presents Eye-Popping, Seizure-Inducing Blacklight Spectacle

Sarp Yavuz, Staff Writer

May 6, 2011

For many, Neon Garden began at 8 p.m. Saturday night in a very long line in front of the Science Center. Scheduled to begin at 10 p.m., the event’s pre-sale tickets had been sold out a week before, and countless Obies wanted to get the remaining 150 tickets at the door. The exact nature of the ticket numbering system remains unclear due to the amount of confusion in the long, disorganized queue, which ended with many students leaving frustrated and disappointed. This review is for those left behind. It is also for the chosen few who got in, covered in paint and wearing everything from tutus and bikinis to short shorts and Speedos. Neon Garden was Solarity’s big debut. Co-founded by College sophomores Eli Clark-Davis,...

OCircus! Leaps Back to the Future with Time Travel Show

OCircus! Leaps Back to the Future with Time Travel Show

May 6, 2011

ountless children have dreamed of running away to the circus, but what about time traveling away? Last weekend, College first-years Annie Minette and William Passannante and College junior Daniella Sanchez did just that before excited audiences in A Circus in Time, OCircus!’s spring show. The trio adeptly played a group of amateur scientists toying with lab equipment better left untouched. As a result of their folly, they sent themselves hurling through time in a machine that sounded remar...

Dance Review Overlooks Diversity

Nusha Martynuk

April 29, 2011

To the Editors: The review of the Spring Back dance concert by Claire Petras [The Oberlin Review, April 25] ended with this quote: “… hopefully in the future, the Oberlin dance department will be more willing to step out of the limiting prescriptions of modern dance and prominently feature even more inventive, energetic pieces that incorporate other dance forms.” This concert included seven dances, four of which were profoundly influenced by forms outside the “modern” tradition: Capoeira Angola, which is taught here by Justin Emeka; Hip-Hop, which will be featured as the dance program’s big Winter Term project in 2012; Chinese sword dance, offered by our visiting faculty member, Yu Xiao; and tap, by College...

Spring Back Concert Teeters Toward Sameness

Claire Petras, Staff Writer

April 22, 2011

“What was your favorite piece?” This was the question I asked my classmates after attending the Spring Back dance concert last weekend. Surprisingly, the response to this query was quite uniform, with most citing either College first-year Jess Gersony’s tap piece Heartbeats or visiting assistant professor of dance Yu Xiao’s duet At the Edge as their favorites. This split response was interesting, precisely because these two pieces were without a doubt the most distinct of the entire performance. Gersony’s tap piece was an energetic tap sequence set to José Gonzalez’s Heartbeats, a lovely, melancholic song. The juxtaposition of the song with the music initially struck the viewer as somewhat haphaza...

Haydée Souffrant Reinvigorates with Senior Dance Show To Say the Words, to Speak the Truth

Claire Petras

March 18, 2011

Equal parts performance art, spectacular drumming, traditional Guinean dancing, singing and spoken word, College senior Haydée Souffrant’s senior show addressed her personal struggle to navigate her relationship with her familial history. To Say the Words, to Speak the Truth; Following the Sound of Legacies was refreshing. It was exciting to finally see a dance performance at Oberlin that was not a vapid modern dance piece. Souffrant’s performance was anything but empty. The piece’s energy, soul and emotion resounded throughout the crowd in Warner Main Space. The space was decorated with large draped banners listing the names of her family members and her mantra, “Lakie ou se Kote Historie Kommence,” ...

Super Blown: The Super Halftime Show Disappoints Yet Again

James Blankenship, Sports Editor

February 11, 2011

Every time the overhyped monstrosity that is Super Bowl week graces us with its presence, a nation is left wondering, “Can this halftime show really be worse than last year’s?” In the last five years, a spectacle that has become more celebrated than several national holidays (I’m talking to you, Columbus Day) has failed to produce a mistake-free halftime show, let alone one that’s actually entertaining. At this point, it’s difficult to think of a 30-minute event that isn’t more deserving of our time. Even a re-run of Friends provides an opportunity to appreciate the acting repertoire of a young Jennifer Aniston. That being said, the people who consistently treat their Super Bowl viewing parties more lik...

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