04/15/16

Spring 2016 Dance Concert Program Announced

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Join our Department of Theatre & Dance students and faculty, April 15-17, 2016, for the annual Spring Dance Concert. This year’s theme is the Five Elements: ether, water, air, earth, and fire. The pieces feature both classic and original choreography, presented in a variety of styles. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30pm; Sunday is at 2pm. Please arrive early if purchasing tickets at the door. All performances are in the UM-Flint Theatre, located at 303 E. Kearsley Street, Flint, MI.

The program will include:

The Wilis – (Excerpt from the Ballet Giselle)

  • Original Choreography: Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot
  • Choreography Adaptation: Beth Freiman
  • Composer: Adolphe Adam
  • Dancers: Jermariana Chandler, Danielle Emerson, Ashlynn Feige, Kacee Myczkowiak, Brooke Olney, Ashinique Wesaw, Frieda Yang

Water

  • Choreography: Emma Davis
  • Lighting Design: Briannah Rench
  • Music: “Water Dripping” by Priscilla P. Wood; “Soothing Water Stream” by Mistral Wind; “Rushing Stream” by SwiftDK; “2 Ghosts” by Nine Inch Nails; “Dirty Water (instrumental)” by Lecrae
  • Dancers: Frederick Fields, Jameel Gilbert, Dominique Hinde, Shakeda Mitchell, Nataniel Morales, Lydia Parker

A Bird in The Hand

  • Choreography: Beth Freiman
  • Music: Tres Para Uno A Cinco by Christian Matjias Mecca
  • Dancers: Ashlynne Feige, Brooke Olney, Ashinique Wesaw

Earth

  • Choreography: Adesola Akinleye
  • Costume Design: Lydia Parker
  • Lighting Design: Nicole Stafford
  • Dancers: Ashlynn Feige, Jodi Jaruzel, Charity Lloyd, Nataniel Morales, Octavish Morris, Hannah Nettleton, Farrell Tatum
  • Music: Karsh Kale

The Firebirds – Inspired by George Balanchine’s “The Firebird”

  • Choreography: Beth Freiman and Classical Repertory students
  • Costume Design: Adam Dill
  • Lighting Design: Tyler Rankin
  • Dancers: Jermariana Chandler, Danielle Emerson, Ashlynn Feige, Kacee Myczkowiak, Brooke Olney, Ashinique Wesaw, Frieda Yang
  • Music: Igor Stravinsky

Air

  • Choreography: Adesola Akinleye
  • Dancers: Ashlynn Feige, Jodi Jaruzel, Charity Lloyd, Nataniel Morales, Octavish Morris, Hannah Nettleton, Farrell Tatum
  • Music: Restrung, Vitamin String Quartet
  • Film: Barry Lewis

For more information, visit umflint.edu/theatredance.

12/1/15

Giving Blueday – December 1, 2015

Impact students. Start a journey. Fund the future.

On Giving Blueday, Tuesday, December 1, 2015, we are asking you to donate any amount you can to the departments or programs that mean something to you. Even $5 makes a difference if everyone gives!

We also ask that you share the stories of our programs’ requests–so others can give, too!

Read below for specific requests and links for each of our programs.

Give proud, give loud, and GO BLUE!

 

AfricanaStudies.StampAfricana Studies
The Africana Studies Department is dedicated to diversity and global awareness. To do so they utilize literature, theatre, film, and traditional academic studies. Each year they bring Africa Week to the Flint Community and they work with the Flint Public Library to present a visiting writer or author.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/AfricanaGBD

Anthro.StampAnthropology: AIYER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
Dr. Aiyer was an associate professor of anthropology and a passionate researcher and teacher. The Regents of the University of Michigan regarded him as “a valued student advisor [and a] respected leader in his department.” Make a gift to his namesake scholarship and help future students who demonstrate a special commitment to education.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/Aiyer

Biology.StampBiology: STUDIER and SUCIC SCHOLARSHIPS
The Biology Department is celebrating two of its dedicated faculty by requesting gifts to their memorial funds. The Eugene “Doc” Studier Scholarship offers research support to Biology graduate students. The Holly Sucic Memorial Scholarship serves students in the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology programs.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/Studier or go.umflint.edu/Sucic

ChemBio.StampChemistry & Biochemistry: BLECKER CHEMISTRY SCHOLARSHIP
Professor Harry H. Blecker was the founder of the Department of Chemistry and a faculty member from 1957 to 1989. This fund honors him and helps Chemistry students complete their studies at UM-Flint. In his obituary, Professor Blecker’s family said “It was important to him to help future generations. This vision was his passion for working with thousands of students at UM-Flint.”
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/ChemistryGBD

ComVisArts.StampCommunication: UM-FLINT DEBATE TEAM
The UM-Flint Debate team has had a winning tradition at national-level debate for the last few years. Gifts made to this fund will allow the team to continue traveling and debating at tournaments near and far. Although housed in the Communication Program, the team is open to all UM-Flint students. Give today and keep them the Victors of Debate!
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/Debate

ComScience.StampComputer Science & Information Systems
Help fund study and research by Computer Science & Information Systems students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the program leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/ComputerScienceGBD

CriminalJustice.StampCriminal Justice
Help fund study and research by Criminal Justice students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the program leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/CriminalJusticeGBD

EarthScience.StampEarth & Resource Science
Help fund study and research by Earth & Resource Science students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the department leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/EarthResourceScienceGBD

Economics.StampEconomics: SCHOLARSHIP FUND
The Department of Economics awards $500 scholarships every semester to our highest achieving majors. These scholarships allow students to cover any cost associated with attending, such as tuition, books, fees, etc.  Our students are very grateful to the generosity of our donors, as these scholarships make a meaningful impact on their lives.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/EconomicsGBD

Engineering.StampEngineering
Help fund study and research by Engineering students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the program leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/EngineeringGBD

English.StampEnglish: STUDENT BOOK SCHOLARSHIPS
Every student has to buy books, but English majors have to buy a LOT of books! In the department we try to keep book costs as low as we can, but the reading remains essential. We were all cash-strapped English majors ourselves, and that’s why we want to establish the English Book Scholarship Fund. For us, anything we can do to defray these expenses is worth doing, but we can’t do it alone.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/EnglishGBD

FLLshortForeign Language & Literatures: MONICA KARNES SCHOLARSHIP
Monica Karnes was a student in Spanish at UM-Flint. Although she was seriously ill, she “continued to pursue her education . . . demonstrating a commitment to excellence which is in the best tradition of the University.” Our UM-Flint Chapter of the Phi Sigma Iota Int’l Foreign Language Honors Society established this fund in 1985 in her memory “to benefit students who share Monica’s hopes, her dreams, and her spirit.”
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/ForLangGBD

History.StampHistory: MUSEUM OF LONDON INTERNSHIP
Help one of our students travel to London, England, for our first international internship! This experience will have a profound effect on their love of history and future studies and career. The student will work at the Museum of London.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/HistoryGBD

InterGlobalStudies.StampInternational & Global Studies: STUDY ABROAD SCHOLARSHIP
Named for Dr. Matthew Hilton-Watson, associate professor of Foreign Language and the Director of the International and Global Studies Program, this scholarship helps undergraduate and graduate students travel the globe. Give the gift of experience, diversity, and expanded horizons to UM-Flint students while you pay tribute to Dr. Matt.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/GlobalStudiesGBD

Math.StampMathematics: FAMILY MATH NIGHT
Twice each year the Math Department hosts Family Math Night, a free event where young children and their families have fun together with math. The kids learn two important lessons: math can be fun, and they can do it! Help us continue this tradition of community engagement and inspiring future mathematics majors!
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/MathGBD

Music.StampMusic: MUSIC MAJOR SCHOLARSHIP
Voice. Instrumental. Classical. Jazz. Contemporary. Music can mean so many things, but, at UM-Flint, each definition has passionate students in common. Your gift to this scholarship will help future Music majors follow their dreams toward a life of making music. Encourage them to embrace creativity! This is an endowed scholarship, so your gift will be continuous.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/GBD

Philosophy.StampPhilosophy: CANDACE BOLTER SCHOLARSHIP ENDOWMENT
Our Candace Bolter Scholarship is $2,500 away from reaching endowment status. Once endowed, the scholarship will always be available to fund future Philosophy students. Says past recipient Thomas Mann, “[scholarships] give the student the sense that someone else believes in what they’re striving for, and for the student, that can mean the world.”
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/PhilosophyGBD

Physics.StampPhysics
Help fund study and research by Physics students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the program leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/PhysicsGBD

PoliticalScience.StampPolitical Science
Help fund study and research by Political Science students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the program leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/PoliticalScienceGBD

Psychology.StampPsychology
Help fund study and research by Psychology students by donating to their general gift fund. This ensures donations go to the area of highest need, as dictated by the program leaders.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/PsychologyGBD

PublicAdmin.Stamp-2MPA Program: ALBERT C. PRICE SCHOLARSHIP
Professor Albert Price served as Director of the Master of Public Administration Program for 24 of the its 35 years. He was also one of the program’s best known faculty members and a mentor to many of its graduates. Donations to this scholarship will help future MPA students complete the program that means so much to Dr. Price.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/Price

Sociology.Stamp-2Sociology: MARSTON CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AWARD
Gifts to this fund will benefit our students AND our city! Established in 2010 to honor the memory of Professor Wilfred Marston,
this endowed fund supports students who undertake a civic engagement project with a sociologically relevant research component that focuses on the improvement of Flint.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/Marston

Official.Theatre.Horz.Sig.png.binTheatre & Dance: FRIENDS SCHOLARSHIP
This fund supports Theatre & Dance students as they cultivate the necessary tools, both artistic and personal, to meet the demands of an ever evolving world and profession. With your support our students will stand ready to take a place of responsibility in the community at large and excel as fearless artists, flexible workers, and compassionate citizens. Thank you for giving!
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/TheatreDanceGBD

Untitled-1[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkv8B1VeXaE[/youtube]
Visual Arts & Art History: STUDENT TRAVEL
The Visual Arts and Art History Faculty would like support for students and student travel for Giving Blueday. In summer 2015 our students traveled to Paris, France. They loved the experience and can already see the benefits of their time there. Your gift will allow future Visual Arts & Art History students the chance to expand their horizons and find new inspiration!
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/VisualArtsGBD

WomenGenderStudies.StampWomen’s & Gender Studies: CRITICAL DIFFERENCE FUND
The WGS would like gifts to be made to the Women’s Education Center Critical Difference Fund. This small grant helps students facing emergency situations stay in school. Says one recipient, “I believe this grant is important because everyone needs help sometimes and even the littlest thing can save a life.” Give today and be a victor for those who need it the most.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/CriticalGBD

WritingCenterlogoWriting Center: C. SCOTT RUSSELL SCHOLARSHIP
The C. Scott Russell Scholarship helps writing students with the expense of higher education. The scholarship is awarded to students enrolled in English 109: College Writing Workshop based on their writing improvement and financial need. ENG 109 is designed as an independent study in writing. Students focus on writing issues that interest them and are important to their academic success.
Share or Give: go.umflint.edu/WritingCenterGBD

09/2/15

CAS Faculty Welcomed and Honored at 2015 Convocation

On Monday, August 31, both new and seasoned faculty gathered together for two events: the Academic Affairs Convocation that welcomes new faculty and celebrates our award-winning, promoted, and long-serving faculty members, and the Thompson Center for Learning & Teaching‘s pre-convocation workshop titled “The Actual and the Possible: Cultivating Learning at UM-Flint.”

The workshop featured sixteen faculty presentations, with representatives from each school or college at UM-Flint, focused on innovative and effective teaching methods used in (or out of) classrooms.

The College of Arts & Science was well represented with six faculty speaking on topics ranging from technology to storytelling.

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Brian DiBlassio discusses teaching musical elements online.

Brian DiBlassio, Associate Professor and Chair of Music and recipient of the Provost Teaching Innovation Prize, was the first CAS faculty member to present. He discussed the ways in which he brings music alive for online students–where formerly they had only static words on a screen to inform their lessons. By incorporating video, moving graphics, sound, voiceover, and popular media, DiBlassio is able to answer the “challenge of teaching arts purely through text.”

Nicholas Kingsley, Assistant Professor from the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and recipient of the Lois Matz Rosen Junior Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, spoke to his peers about technology that works for both his teaching style and his students’ needs. From interactive digital presentations to a pen that allows recording and playback of his method for working through complex problems, Kingsley demonstrated how his technology choices serve students in the classroom and create resources for future use.

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Pat Emenyonu from the departments of English and Africana Studies listens to a presentation at the TCLT pre-convocation workshop.

Jill Slater, Lecturer of Biology, presented on this past spring’s Cell-ebration: a science symposium she created to inform and inspire students from all of her classes. Slater combined more seasoned students’ experiences and newer students’ questions to present cellular research being done across her courses. Her event engaged students in new ways and allowed there to be a focus on what happens after they learn research methodologies in lower level courses. All students came away with skills they can use later in their academic studies and in their professional and research careers.

Thomas Henthorn, Assistant Professor of History, spoke on an oral history project from his class Gods in the City. Henthorn uses the lesson to emphasize listening and communication skills while students explore new topics and religion through their interviews with community members. He spoke about the value of an assignment that can’t be simply gathered from online sources. Said Henthorn, “as wonderful as technology is . . . most of the world’s important business happens face to face.”

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Erica Britt talks about Vehicle City Voices and the stories of Flint residents.

Erica Britt, Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the English Department, continued with the storytelling theme by talking about her Vehicle City Voices project. Britt has utilized both graduate and undergraduate students in her collection, coding, and presentation of stories from residents around the city of Flint. In addition to being a documentation of memories, her project is a study in the vocal patterns of speakers in Flint. Students created transcripts and developed word-level, phrase-level, and sentence-level analysis on their collected stories.

Margaret Ware, Lecturer in Biology, was the final CAS speaker of the day. In her discussion she showed how combining factual health histories with fictional characters allowed her students to have a more involved and engaged experience when completing a case study project. Students worked individually to create a story from lab data and then as a small group selected their favorite story or combined elements to create a new one. Ware noted the students were able to utilize a wide variety of skills, including the unusual combination of creative writing and scientific data collection.

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UM-Flint faculty, staff, and administrators listen to presentations at the TCLT’s 2015 pre-convocation workshop.

After all the presentations were made, participants had small table discussions to talk about their favorite methods from the day and also to share their own unique methods of teaching. The event was closed by TCLT’s Tracy Wacker who spoke to the joy of teaching and learning as she wished all a successful Fall 2015 semester.


The focus on UM-Flint’s teaching excellence continued later that afternoon at the Academic Affairs Convocation in the UM-Flint Theatre.

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Provost Doug Knerr welcomed faculty back to another year of excellent teaching.

The event began with an introduction by Chancellor Susan E. Borrego and a warm welcome from Provost Doug Knerr.

Faculty Awards were announced, with CAS faculty claiming eight of the nine honors:

Lois Alexander, Professor of Music: Teaching Excellence Award

Lixing Han, Professor of Mathematics: Scholarly or Creative Achievement Award

Kathy Schellenberg, Associate Professor of Sociology: Distinguished Service Award

Ernest Emenyonu, Professor of Africana Studies: Alvin D. Loving Senior Faculty Initiative Award

Karen Salvador, Assistant Professor of Music: Lucinda Hinsdale Stone Junior Women Faculty Award

Peggy Kahn, David M. French Professor and Professor of Political Science: Dorthea E. Wyatt Award

Nicholas Kingsley, Assistant Professor of Chemistry: Dr. Lois Matz Rosen Junior Excellence in Teaching Award

Traci Currie, Lecturer of Communication and Visual Arts: Collegiate Lecturer Award

Ricardo Alfaro, David M. French Professor and Professor of Mathematics, was also honored as the UM-Flint nominee for the Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year Award.

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Traci Currie receives a congratulatory hug from Chancellor Susan E. Borrego

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Professor Ricardo Alfaro receives his Presidents Council Sponsored Faculty Award from Provost Doug Knerr

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Assoc. Professor Kathryn Schellenberg receives her Distinguished Service Award from Provost Knerr as Chancellor Susan E. Borrego looks on

Services awards were given to those who have been at the university for 10, 20, or 40 plus years:

Ten years or more: 
Jacob Blumner, English; Traci Currie, Communication & Visual Arts; Michael Farmer, CSEP; Janet Haley, Theatre & Dance; Terrence Horgan, Psychology; Jason Kosnoski, Political Science; Maria Pons-Hervas, Foreign Languages & Literatures; Jie Song, Chemistry & Biochemistry; and Jeannette Stein, Psychology

Twenty years or more:
Jamile Lawand, Foreign Languages & Literatures; Paula Nas, Economics; Stevens Wandmacher, Philosophy

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Assoc. Professor Jason Kosnoski receives his Faculty Service Award for 10 years or more of service

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Interim Dean Susan Gano-Phillips announced new and promoted faculty of CAS.

Promoted faculty were celebrated (click here for a full story), with those moving from assistant to associate or associate to full professor being named by Interim Dean Susan Gano-Phillips.

From associate professor with tenure to professor with tenure:
Lois Alexander, Music; Jami Anderson, Philosophy; Roy Barnes, Sociology; John Stephen Ellis, History; Michael Farmer, Computer Science and Information Systems.

From assistant professor to associate professor with tenure:
Dauda Abubakar, Africana Studies and Political Science; Julie Broadbent, Psychology; Daniel Coffield, Jr., Mathematics; Rajib Ganguly, Physics; Christopher Heidenreich, Music; Daniel Lair, Communication; Vickie Jeanne Larsen, English; Shelby Newport, Theatre and Dance; Greg Rybarczyk, Earth & Resource Science.

In addition to honoring our more seasoned faculty, the convocation also serves as a welcome to new faculty. The College of Arts & Science welcomed ten new faculty members:

Karen Bedell, Lecturer of Psychology; Halil Bisgin, Assistant Professor of Computer Science; David Duriancik, Assistant Professor of Biology; Jason Jarvis, Lecturer of Psychology; Jacob Lederman, Instructor cum Assistant Professor of Urban Sociology; Jeffrey Livermore, Lecturer of Computer Science; Brian Schrader, Lecturer of Communication; Amanda Kahl Smith, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice; Matthew Spradling, Assistant Professor of Computer Science; and Amanda Taylor, Lecturer of Psychology.

Each of the new faculty will be more thoroughly introduced to the campus and community through CAS Faculty Spotlights, located on the CAS website, throughout the Fall 2015 semester.

The College of Arts & Sciences would like to offer sincere congratulations to all of our faculty on their awards, recognition, promotion, or introduction to the University of Michigan-Flint. We are looking forward to a wonderful academic year of service and teaching.

04/13/15

“We Are” A Dance Inspired by the Poetry of Youth in Detention

UM-Flint’s Department of Theatre and Dance will be presenting a newly choreographed work by Dance Lecturer Emma Davis during the Spring Dance Concert, The Written Word, April 17, 18, 19, in the UM-Flint Theatre. The dance, entitled We Are, is based on poetry written by young women at Genesee County’s youth detention center as part of the Buckham/GVRC Share Art Project.

The dance choreography follows the themes presented by five poems, which are projected onto the stage during the performance. Four different sections of the piece explore the girls’ journeys as “statistics,” their time in detention, and their hopes, dreams, and futures beyond incarceration. In developing the piece, Davis worked with university students to explore movements that spoke to each poem’s narrative. The process was a delicate balance between finding the right moves that highlight and embody each girl’s voice without taking away from their message. The piece also utilizes movements that Davis, who also teaches dance at GVRC as part of the Share Art Project, taught directly to the young women in detention.

The choreographic process started with a class discussion about the poetry pieces. Since university students hadn’t worked directly with youth at GVRC, Davis felt it was imperative for them to understand the girls’ characteristics and behaviors to better help share their stories. From reading the poetry, students were able to understand the difficult situations the young women experienced. At the same time, more positive poems about self-identify and personal beauty demonstrated the empowerment the girls at GVRC found through the arts, poetry, and a supportive group of females.

While the dance does not intend to speak for the young women, Davis hopes to propel their words while inspiring positivity. This portion of the production also involved work by several of the Women’s & Gender Studies Program, including Shelley Spivack, Director of the Share Art Project, Traci Currie as the leader of Spoken Word, and Shelby Newport who directed costuming.

Davis recently received a New Leaders Grant from the MCACA which will allow her to continue this dance project with the GVRC in the upcoming year.

For more information contact:
Shelley Spivack
Director, Buckham/GVRC Share Art Project
sspivack@umflint.edu
810-938-7840

04/13/15

Meet Emma Davis: Dancer, Choreographer, Educator

Emma Davis is a Dance Instructor at UM-Flint and one of the choreographers whose work will be presented at the upcoming Spring Dance Concert inspired by “The Written Word.” One piece, “We Are,” is inspired by poetry written by detained youth in Genesee County. Another, which includes both ballet and hip hop elements, is inspired by the short story “The Lottery.” Performances will be held at the UM-Flint Theatre on April 17, 18, and 19. Visit the Department of Theatre & Dance website for tickets and more information. 

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Name: Emma Davis
Title: Lecturer I and Dance Instructor
Department: Theatre and Dance

Classes I teach:
DAN 100 Intro to Dance
DAN 101 Performance Studies
DAN 101 Hip Hop I & II
DAN 120/121 Modern I & II
DAN 130/131 Jazz I & II
DAN 140/141 Tap I & II           

Emma Davis 1

Photo Credit: White Butterfly Studios

Professional Interests, Activities, Performances of Note, Publications:
– Faculty Advisor for Student Dance Organization since 2013
– Choreographer for Department of Theatre and Dance Spring Dance Concert 2013, 2014, 2015
– Faculty Representative American College Dance Association 2013, 2014, 2015
– Back up dancer for Flint pop signer Tunde Olaniran
– Program Facilitator with Shop Floor Theatre Company, Flint, MI
– Presented research, “Intersection of Dance and Poetry in Post-Industrial Michigan,” at the Society of Dance History Scholar’s conference 2014 and “Meet the Flintstones: A New Generation of Community Dance Artists Renews a City Given Up For Loss” in 2012

Awards:
– Share Art Flint Award 2014, made possible by Greater Flint Arts Council and Ruth Mott Foundation, for the Riverbank Park Community Dance Workshops (Read the M-Times article.)

Research or Specific Areas of Interest:
Community Dance, Site-Specific Dance

Degree(s)/Education:
University of Michigan-Flint, 2011
BA Journalism
BA English with a specialization
MA Liberal Studies, Theatre Culture – in progress

Memberships:
Buckham Gallery
Society of Dance History Scholars

Emma Davis 3How I fell in love with my field:
I have been dancing since I was young, eventually including techniques in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, and hip hop. It wasn’t until my undergraduate experience that really confirmed: “this is what I am supposed to be doing.” I was always planning rehearsals, performing, taking class, connecting others to dance. I’m not sure if there is a specific moment where I fell in love with dance – the love was always there. This was just the time I made the decision to professionally pursue a career in dance.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint:
I hope to guide and work with our community’s upcoming dance professionals to support and strengthen UM-Flint’s program and the Flint and Michigan dance community as a whole.

What I hope for students in my field:
To find their pathway in this challenging, yet greatly rewarding field.

Three things you should know about me:
I love popcorn, I ride a motorcycle, I don’t have a favorite dance style – I love them all!

2015 SPRING DANCE CONCERT

03/23/15

UM-Flint Dance Students Attend 2015 ACDA Regional Festival

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Nataniel Morales, Brooke Olney, Emma Davis, Ashlynn Feige, Ashinique Soney-Wesaw pose outside Ohio University’s Dance Department, 2015 host school for the ACDA East-Central Region.

Members of the UM-Flint Dance Program recently attended the American College Dance Association (ACDA) East-Central Regional Conference at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The regional conferences and national festival presented by the ACDA provide a “venue for students and faculty to engage in three days of performances, workshops, panels, and master classes taught by instructors from around the region and country. The conferences also provide the unique opportunity for students and faculty to have their dance works adjudicated by a panel of nationally recognized dance professionals in an open and constructive forum.”

Faculty member and Dance Instructor Emma Davis brought with her Ashlynn Feige, Dance major; Brooke Olney, Molecular Biology major and Dance minor; Nataniel Morales, Dance major; and Ashinique Soney-Wesaw, Fine Arts major (concentrations in Drawing and Painting) and Dance minor.

When asked about her experience at the conference, Wesaw-Soney said, “This trip [ACDA] was absolutely amazing and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be able to go and represent UM-Flint! Having the chance to take so many different classes that I would have never dreamed of taking in my life (Dance Fusion Martial Arts, Kontemp Ballet, etc.) with other students from schools across the region that came to this conference made this trip so exciting and memorable.”

At the conference, all four UM-Flint students danced a performance of “The Lottery” as choreographed by Davis. Morales and Feige also performed an original work titled “Non-Existent Limits.”

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UM-Flint Dance students, wearing costumes designed by Shelby Newport, performed “The Lottery,” choreographed by UM-Flint faculty Emma Davis, in the ACDA Adjudicated Concert #3.

UM-Flint’s version of “The Lottery” is a contemporary interpretation of the 1948 short story by Shirley Jackson. In the original story, a yearly lottery is held among the residents of a small village. The chosen “winner” faces stoning by the rest of the townspeople. In Davis’ version, which uses both ballet and hip-hop elements, she explores the role of gender in traditional dance, the value of styles, and the ideas of conformity versus individualism. The ballet choreography was original to Davis; she worked with Morales and provided guidance as he developed freestyle hip-hop moves for his portion of the performance.

“The Lottery” was presented to a panel of three adjudicators on the main stage of the conference. Feedback on all main stage presentations was given at a session later in the day, with the adjudicators commenting on the dance performances and the choreographic choices as well as the costumes, lighting, and other elements. The adjudicators were unaware of whether students or faculty members were responsible for each portion of the dance performance. Davis said their feedback this year was positive, with some expressing surprise at her choice of an ending and variations on the traditional ballet. Although “The Lottery” was not one of ten performances selected for the conference’s closing gala concert, Davis expressed great pride in her students and thought they did very well for it only being UM-Flint’s fourth visit to the event.

“Non-Existent Limits, ” choreographed by Nataniel Morales and performed with his fellow-student Ashlynn Feige, was presented in an informal concert at the conference.  The informal concerts are conducted on a smaller scale and without the panel of adjudicators.

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Nataniel Morales and Ashlynn Feige practice for the ACDA informal concert #1, where they performed “Non-Existent Limits,” choreographed by Morales.

The trip to the ACDA conference is just one example of the ways in which UM-Flint Dance students take what they’ve learned outside of the studio. Members of the Dance Program will be dancing at schools and adult care facilities at the end of March and in early April to promote their upcoming Spring Dance Concert. When asked about studying Dance at UM-Flint, Ashlynn Feige said, “Studying dance at UM-Flint is a great experience because the instructors challenge you to be the best dancer you can be.  Not only that, but we form strong friendships and connections with the other students.  Dance has a way of bringing people together, and we all support each other which is very important.  It’s a positive environment where anyone can feel comfortable.”

Students, staff, faculty, and all members of the community are invited to see “The Lottery” as it will be performed at the upcoming Spring Dance Concert, April 17th-19th, at the UM-Flint Theatre. For this year’s concert “varying literary works inspire the dances. From the poetry for Rumi and Kalil Gibran to the local authors of Flint, the dances explore the written word.” Tickets are available through the UM-Flint Box Office or via the Theatre & Dance Department website.

2015 SPRING DANCE CONCERT

Photos provided by the UM-Flint Theatre & Dance Department and Emma Davis.