Spring Dance Concert Opens at Meadows This Week

March 30, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Christine Jonas

Spring has finally arrived and with it comes the 2011 Spring Dance Concert presented by the Meadows School of the Arts Dance Ensemble. With choreographers from professors, to internationally renowned artists, to students, this show is sure to be an outstanding production.

This show, made up of a selection of ballet and contemporary works, takes place in the Bob Hope Theatre of the Own Arts Center. Opening today, March 30, this show runs every night at 8 p.m., with one final performance at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 3.

Four works will be performed throughout the night, opening with Prayers, choreographed by Jessica Lang, a New York-based choreographer. Originally commissioned by NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Lang has brought this work to SMU and is sure to be great.

New faculty member Christopher Dolder will present his Darwinian comedy/drama, Viglenad’s Garden, that dances around birth, life, death, and rebirth.

Camille…a Poem of Intimacy, a work-in-progress piece by guest artist-in-residence Jean Paul Comelin, is not something to miss. Comelin is an internationally renowned choreographer who has worked around the world creating more than 70 works for major dance companies.

Also on the program is a work choreographed by SMU dance student Jamal Jackson White. No Contact was premiered by White at a Brown Bag Dance Concert last fall.

Friday and Saturday audiences will receive a special performance of Martha Graham’s work Panorama by SMU dancers. The Martha Graham Dance Company is the oldest and most celebrated dance company in the country and has presented this spectacular opportunity for SMU dancers.

Come out and support the Meadow’s dancers and their 2011 Spring Dance Concert.

Tickets cost $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and @7 for students, SMU faculty and staff. Free parking is available at Hillcrest and Binkley or in the garage under the Meadows Museum. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 214-768-2787.

Brown Bag Dance Series Is Back This Week

February 28, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Christine Jonas

Meadows’ Dancers Perform at Brown Bag Dance Series from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

The spring Brown Bag Dance Series will kick off today, February 28 at noon in the Lobby of the Bob Hope Theatre in the Owen Arts Center.

The Brown Bag Dance Series is a student run dance performance held each semester, where the students choreograph, plan and set up each dance. There is one faculty advisor that oversees everything, but really leaves it up to the students.

“I am beyond impressed with them. It is a great opportunity for them to figure out how to audition, select dancers, schedule rehearsals and create new and exciting work,” says Professor Danny Buraczeski, the faculty advisor for the upcoming series.

The series runs daily for a week with lunchtime shows at noon on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Admission is free.

There are typically 10-15 performances in each show, featuring all kinds of dance like ballet, modern and jazz.

“This time there are 10 performances and this series is really diverse. We are doing a hip-hop dance, a musical theater dance, two pointe ballet pieces and a contemporary piece,” says Brianna O’Connor, a sophomore SMU dance student who will be in the upcoming Brown Bag.

With different students choreographing new pieces every semester, this series never gets old—keeping the audience intrigued every time.

“It is really great going each semester, I never know what to expect and it really impresses me that they come up with such diversity in every Brown Bag,” says Myles Luttman, a senior SMU student. “It is fun to watch because I have friends in the show, but it is also great to see an art form that most people aren’t familiar with.”

Even the faculty is impressed when the series comes around each semester.

“Every Brown Bag is unique and different. Every one is better than another one in some way. It’s always, always dynamic and exciting. It is fantastic preparation if a student wants to have their own dance company once they graduate,” says Buraczeski.

The preparation with Brown Bag starts off with student Choreographers creating different dances. They teach the dance students a small portion of their routines and perform it in front of faculty adjudicators—which is typically made up of SMU dance professors. From there, the adjudicators help narrow down the performances that will make up the show. Then the choreographers sit down to barter and trade the dancers they want for their performance.

“We have two weeks to learn it, then it gets adjudicated, then another two weeks to rehearse before we perform, “says O’Connor.

O’Connor also pointed out how great the opportunity is for dance students, because it is a relaxed environment where they can dance barefoot or in their socks, unlike their more serious performances like the Hope Show coming later in the semester. It is also a chance for the students to take the process into their own hands.

“It is really about the choreographers, because it’s their chance to get their choreography out and test it. It’s a chance to see if they have the skills to do this. The whole process is about them,” says O’Connor. “I haven’t done it yet, but I want to—maybe next year.”

This is an opportunity for SMU students to go see something new and experience a new for of art and expression.

“Don’t be afraid or intimidated by dance. It is a non-verbal art form to be enjoyed without preconceptions,” says Buraczeski. “Every viewer will have a different experience and that’s what it’s all about. It’s a celebration.”

Video by Sydney Giesey and Fernando Valdez
Editing by Sydney Giesey

Dancers Kick Off Brown Bag

October 5, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By LaKeisha James

Meadows School of the Arts opened this year’s Brown Bag series, Oct. 4 in the Hope Lobby, celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Students, faculty and families gathered together in the spirit of community support to participate in the presentation.

The showcase selects students in the division of dance to choreograph and run the series. Sets feature lunchtime performances of 10-15 original short ballets, modern and jazz works. The series is primarily student produced with one faculty advisor.

“The show expresses intimacy and is a informal enjoyable experience,” said Jasmine White, a sophomore and one of the dancers from the series.

Eleven groups performed with a one to seven dancers in each group.

SMU dance students Christine Harris, Joshua D. Deininger, Rachel Trippett John Mingle, Jamal Jackson, Allison Leopold and Alex Nowlin, Landes Dixon, Amanda Owen, Tenley Dorrill, Claire Cuny and Ken Bell wore two hats; they choreographed the pieces they performed in as well.

All of the dances embodied unique crafts of dance interpretation. However, one piece choreographed by Jamal Jackson stood out the most, according to the audience’s reactions. “No Contact” showed great execution of body language and using all of the stage.

“No Contact piece had so much strength, I would have rather seen the dancers in red to bring out the dance, but over all I loved it” said Heather Guthrie, a dance coordinator in the Meadows.

Each dance has something different to offer, all expressing artistic and emotional pieces.

Some students, like SMU sophomore Kim Gardner, said they enjoyed the show more than previous years.

“This is my second year attending the Brown Bag series, I enjoyed this year show because I actually had friends in the pieces,” Gardner said.

Brown bag will continue this week on Wednesday and Friday at noon and Tuesday and Thursday at 12:30 p.m.

“Come and support the arts,” White said. “It’s free, fun and a great show.”

Campus News Blog: Meadows Hosts Group Alash for Brown Bag Concert

March 29, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted By Monica Sharma

This Wednesday, March 31, members of the award-winning singing group Alash will be performing a Brown Bag concert in Owen Arts Center.

In this performance, called Expanding Your Horizons, members will show off their mastery of the Tuvan style of singing. Tuvian throat-singing can be described as an ancient Central Asian musical tradition.

What’s unique about this type of singing is the way the individual vocalists sing multiple pitches at the same time creating sounds of the natural world like birds or streams.

Along with the vocalists, the Brown Bag performance will be accompanied by traditional Tuvan instruments.

Alash is deeply committed to the music and culture of Tuva, but they also mix western elements into their performances. This creates a personal style that is both fresh and cultural at the same time.

This free perfromance will be held at noon. For more information, click here.

Campus News Blog: Brown Bag Dance Showcase at Meadows

October 8, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Ashley Foerster

As a senior, I feel like there are still so many things at SMU I have yet to experience. One of them in particular is Brown Bag.

Holding my sack lunch, I joined several other students in the packed lobby of the Owen Arts Center to watch SMU students perform student-choreographed dances.

The students’ performances left me impressed beyond words. Brown Bag showcased every type of dance from classical ballet to modern dance, each piece more moving than the last. My friends have always told me of this spectacle known as Brown Bag, but in the past three years I had always found an excuse to not go.

I encourage all students to put down whatever they are doing and go see the Brown Bag performances this week. Before you know it you will have graduated and missed out on an amazing SMU experience.

Dee Donasco “Follows Her Dreams” of Opera

May 3, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

By Kaitlyn Dunne

The sixth and final Brown Bag opera series, “Free for All” featured theatrical songs from the original piece Opera in a Box: Follow Your Dreams, written and directed by Hank Hammett.

Four members of SMU Emerging Artists Program, as well as The Dallas Opera, wowed an audience of nearly 50 friends, family and guests, with their performance. The SMU opera stars, Soowon Seo, Juan de Leon, Selby Hlangu, and Dee Donasco, shared their voices and musical talent with audience members lobby of the Meadows School of the Arts.

In a comical performance as a life-size mechanical doll, the only female performer onstage, Donasco, got the audience laughing and feeling amazed through her high-pitched singing solos.

Donasco was born and raised in the Philippines. Watching her sing onstage dressed as a life-size mechanical doll, you never would have guessed she came to SMU with hopes of being a biologist.

When Donasco was four-years-old her mother moved to the United States, leaving Donasco back home in the Philippines with her grandmother. Growing up with a turbulent family-life, Donasco found school to be her sanctuary.

“Life at school and life at home were very different,” she said.

One of Donasco’s fondest childhood memories was singing in church each week with her grandmother. It was there, in a Philippines church, that Donasco found her passion and love for music.

When Donasco was 13-years-old, she and her younger sister moved to the United States with their mother. At 18, after enrolling at SMU as a biology major, with hopes of continuing her education in med school, Donasco wondered what life would be like as a professional opera singer.

“As you can see, I’m not a biologist,” Donasco joked.

Next year Donasco will begin her second year in SMU’s master studies program. As she continues to follow her childhood dream towards becoming an opera star, it seems the Brown Bag show theme, Opera in a Box: Follow Your Dreams, was particularly appropriate.

Lecture Urges Students to Be Assertive

March 24, 2009 by · Comments Off 

SMU students and faculty gathered on Monday March 23, 2009 to hear Kristin Harris-McDonald lecture on assertiveness. Kristin Harris-McDonald is a Psychology intern at the Memorial Health Center (PHOTO BY MEREDITH CHRISTIANS / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

SMU students and faculty gathered on Monday March 23, 2009 to hear Kristin Harris-McDonald lecture on assertiveness. Kristin Harris-McDonald is a Psychology intern at the Memorial Health Center (PHOTO BY MEREDITH CHRISTIANS / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

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Arts Blog: Throat Singing Attracts Crowd

March 18, 2009 by · Comments Off 

When I first heard that “Alash,” a Tuvan throat singing group from Central Asia, was coming to SMU, I thought instantly about “The Simpsons Movie” and Homer’s encounter with an Eskimo woman who initiates the throat singing. Of course, “The Simpsons Movie” was presented to be humorous, but throat singing is actually very beautiful and interesting.

The group Alash made a stop at SMU on March 18 before going to Austin for their appearance at the 2009 SXSW festival. I’m glad I did not miss this experience because it is indescribable.

The music was peaceful and reflected much on nature. The instruments were made of wood and emphasized the precense of nature in the Owen Arts Center lobby.

When the four men sang, it sounded as if the instrument took on a human-form. It was unreal and it seemed impossible. It sounded like whistling simultaneously from multiple throats, and it sounded painful. According to the group’s translator, it is not painful because the technique allows them to make multiple pitches simultaneously by relaxing the throat muscles.

Experiencing this interesting performance made me want to learn about other cultures, made me want to discover new music, and made me want to expand my horizon beyond the popular culture in the United States.

–Posted by Laura Vasquez

Campus News Blog: You Know It’s Brown Bag When…

March 4, 2009 by · Comments Off 

posted by Lisa Rodriguez

SMU dancers have been sacrificing sleep, schoolwork, and social lives for the last month and a half. Why? To entertain you. The Brown Bag Dance Concert began Monday at the Lobby of The Owens Fine Arts Center. And continues for the remainder of the week.
To a non-dancer, Brown Bag means an hour of lunchtime entertainment, but to those who participate, it means dedicating endless hours of time and energy to rehearsal. Here’s a little glance into the minds of the dancers when they hear the words Brown Bag:

You know its Brown Bag when…

“…when your body wants to shoot you”

“…when dancers get locked in the dance studios at night”
Morgana Phlaum, junior

“…when a song comes on the radio and people say ‘that’s MY song!’”
Marielle Perrault, senior

“…when you don’t sleep.”
Christine Harris, sophomore

“…when I wake up Monday morning and actually put on make up.”

“…when I walk onto the stage and see all the faces right in front of you.”
Leah Mitchell, freshman

“…when you don’t sleep and you skip at least one class a day.”
Page Leahy

Brown Bag continues in the lobby of the Owens Arts Center Wednesday and Friday at noon and Thursday at 12:30 p.m.

Keep Calm During Stressful Finals Season

November 23, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Donnie Wyar

As deadlines for semester-long research projects appear much closer than they once did and with final exams looming right after Thanksgiving break, now is the perfect time to get some tips on stress management.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend an hour-long Brown Bag Presentation on Stress Management in SMU’s Memorial Health Center at noon Monday, Nov. 24.

Attendees of the event, which is located in the Counseling and Psychiatric Services office on the second floor (room 205) of the Health Center, will be given information about the effects of stress and tools to deal with it.

Enough with the mounting pressures of finishing the semester on a strong note and wanting to do well on exams. Prepare yourself for exams with helpful tips from the Health Center.

Relax. You can do this.

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