April 23, 2020
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Kenyon’s Department of Dance, Drama and Film is taking a fresh approach to this year’s Spring Dance Concert, held Thursday, May 3, Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5, at 8 p.m. in the Bolton Theater.
The concert will deviate from tradition by showcasing four dances instead of the usual eight. Half of the show will be devoted to the department’s rendition of the ballet “Afternoon of a Faun,” a collaborative effort created from the senior theses of dance majors Severine Kaufman ’18, from New York City; Maya Luckett ’18, from Hyde Park, Massachusetts; Hannah Russ ’18, from Hingham, Massachusetts; and Luca Agunos ’18, from Lemon Grove, California.
The ballet, originally produced by Vaslav Nijinsky in 1912, was reconstructed from Nijinsky’s notebooks by world-renowned dance Labanotation scholar Ann Hutchinson Guest in 1988. This spring, Guest spent a week in Gambier to advise Kenyon students on their production of “Afternoon of a Faun.” Kaufman will preface the performance with a presentation on the ballet’s historical context, researched as part of her senior thesis.
“Dance historians have traditionally approached this piece from a certain lens, focusing on Nijinsky’s homosexuality and descent into madness,” Kaufman explained. “Because this piece has been written about in such a dramatic way, the version of the piece that people usually associate with ‘Afternoon of a Faun’ is super dramatic and sexualized, which wasn’t at all Nijinsky’s intention.” Kenyon’s rendition will attempt to stay true to Nijinsky’s original intention.
Laura David ’18, a dance major from Wilmette, Illinois, will present “Bushel,” a piece on womanhood, maternity and feminine strength. The dance was conceived as a character exploration of the biblical figure Eve, but developed into an exploration of the use of apples as props.
“I’ve explored various props while at Kenyon — shoes, flour, a bed — and was really excited to use a consumable prop,” she said.
Guest artist Nicole Stanton, assistant professor of dance at Wesleyan University, has advised this year’s annual dance showcasing seniors. She has incorporated dozens of students’ written reflections on individual and group identity into an exploratory dance on the meanings of community.
The concert will also feature a humorous piece on the annoyance of pet peeves, choreographed by Professor of Dance Balinda Craig-Quijada.
Tickets cost $7.50 for general admission, $4 for seniors, non-Kenyon students and children under 12, and $2 for Kenyon students. To reserve tickets, contact the box office at 740-427-5546 from 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
—Ben Hunkler ’20