DECENNIUM Dance Decoded

Join us this weekend for Decennium: Elon Dance Program Spring Dance Concert as we celebrate 10 years of the BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography! The concert features performances by Elon BFA Dance majors and choreography by guest artist Gaspard Louis and faculty members Jason Aryeh, Gerri Houlihan, Jen Guy Metcalf, Sara Tourek, and Lauren Kearns.

But wait, there’s more!

Love dance and searching for new ways to talk about it? Want to understand contemporary dance? Enjoy dance performance but want to learn more about what goes into it? Then come to Dance Decoded, the Department of Performing Arts’ pre-show talk and demonstration series for dance lovers and dance novices alike.

Friday March 19 at 7:00pm: Choreographer Gerri Houlihan explains how collaboration with lighting designers, musicians, and physicians resulted in her work Change of Heart.

Saturday March 11 at 7:00pm: Choreographer Jen Guy Metcalf discusses how choreographers and dancers collaborated with musicians in the creation of her piece Catalyst. Continue reading DECENNIUM Dance Decoded

CATS Talk on the Steps by Amanda Chunco

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Dr. Amanda Chunco discusses why humans love cats in her Talk on the Steps for CATS, 12 February 2017, at the McCrary Theatre. Photo by Devin Kiernan.

Dr. Amanda Chunco, who teaches in Elon’s Environmental Studies Department, discusses the impact of human fascination with cats in her Talk on the Steps for Cats, 12 February 2017 at the McCrary Theatre. She explained how ancient humans welcomed domesticated cats as a vital part of agriculture, and reminded the audience that many organic farms today still use cats for pest control. She then explained the impact of domestic cats on our environment, how they are responsible for the extinction of thirty-three species, and how they kill billions of rodents, birds, and other small animals every year. In fact, if your cat goes outdoors, statistics hold that it makes a kill every seventeen hours. Dr. Chunco, an avid cat lover and wildlife biologist, concluded her talk by reminding us that collar bells and leashes are great ways to allow cats outdoors and also lessen their impact on the environment.  Continue reading CATS Talk on the Steps by Amanda Chunco

CATS Talk on the Steps by Scott Proudfit

Dr. Scott Proudfit, who teaches in Elon’s English Department, discusses the poetry of T. S. Eliot in his Talk on the Steps for Cats, 10 February 2017, at the McCrary Theatre. He explained that while Eliot is remembered as a modernist master, his whimsical Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats was long a children’s favorite in England. The famous song “Memory,” however, is freely adapted by original director Trevor Nunn from Eliot’s poem “Rhapsody on a Windy Night.” Compare the first verse of Eliot’s poem with the song lyrics: Continue reading CATS Talk on the Steps by Scott Proudfit

CATS Talk on the Steps by Dan Callaway

Professor Dan Callaway, who teaches voice for Elon’s Department of Performing Arts, explains how composer Andrew Lloyd Webber uses rhythm in the song “Memory” as a musical hook to capture the audience’s attention in his Talk on the Steps for Cats, 9 February 2017 at the McCrary Theatre. He divided his Talk on the Steps audience into two rhythm sections, each providing a different beat, and then sang the famous melody to demonstrate how the combination of melody and rhythm creates a musically satisfying whole.

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Professor Dan Callaway explains the satisfying rhythm of “Memory” in his Talk on the Steps for CATS, 9 February 2017 at the McCrary Theatre.

Continue reading CATS Talk on the Steps by Dan Callaway

CATS Talks on the Steps

Cats is a fantastical exploration of the secret life of cats, created by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1981 from the poetry of T. S. Eliot. In each Talk on the Step, an expert investigates Cats from a unique disciplinary perspective:

Thursday February 9 at 7:00pm: Professor Dan Calloway of the Performing Arts Department explores the famous song “Memory.” How can a song be both beloved by fans and scorned by critics? Professor Calloway will take us inside to music to explain why you can’t help but hum this melody.

Friday February 10 at 7:00pm: Dr. Scott Proudfit of the English Department explains how the poetry of T. S. Eliot is adapted for the musical, and how Cats the musical fits into the poet’s legacy as a Nobel Prize-winning modernist master.

Saturday February 11 at 7:00pm: Music Theatre and Arts Administration double major Alec Michael Ryan, who served as Assistant Director, will describe what he learned through the rehearsal process.

Sunday February 12 at 1:30pm: Dr. Amanda Chunco of the Environmental Studies Department investigates the consequences of our fascination with domesticated cats. Dr. Chunco will discuss Cats from the perspective of a wildlife biologist, and explore the impact of cats on the environment. Continue reading CATS Talks on the Steps

PARADE Talk on the Steps by Jack Smith

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Costume Designer Jack Smith discusses the early 20th century women’s suffrage movement in the United States in his Talk on the Steps for PARADE, 5 November 2016 at the McCrary Theatre. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

Parade Costume Designer Jack Smith describes how Civil War quilts were created and used in different ways by women in the North and South in his Talk on the Steps for Parade, 5 November 2016. Using a quilt he had created from fabric scraps from Parade costumes and sewed on a 1915 Singer machine, he demonstrated different quilt block patterns from across the United States that would have been used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by women like Lucille Frank. He then transitioned from the idea of women’s domestic activities to the notion of women taking part in the early 20th century suffrage movement. As Parade Costume Designer, he chose to include suffragist costumes in the musical’s opening number to reflect how women like Lucille Frank struggled to be heard and taken seriously by those in power.  Continue reading PARADE Talk on the Steps by Jack Smith

PARADE Talk on the Steps by Kim Shively

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Professor Kim Shively describes music’s effect on the brain in her Talk on the Steps for PARADE, 4 November 2016 at the McCrary Theatre. Photo by Devin Kiernan.

Kim Shively, who teaches Acting in Elon’s Department of Performing Arts, describes how scientific research has shown how music activates multiple parts of the brain, invoking both empathy and emotion even as it requires logical pattern-recognition, in her Talk on the Steps for Parade, 4 November 2016 at the McCrary Theatre. She explained how our training in music–starting in infancy with lullabies and nursery rhymes–results in feelings of satisfaction and comfort when we hear major chord progressions, and feelings of unease and anxiety when we hear dissonance or staccato percussion. She concluded her Talk on the Steps by describing how Parade composer Jason Robert Brown uses both comforting chord progressions and uneasy percussion in the musical’s opening number, “The Old Red Hills of Home,” to set the scene of an American South in distress. Continue reading PARADE Talk on the Steps by Kim Shively