Local/Global Connections: The Department of Dance’s citizenship and art activism
The Department of Dance is committed to citizenship and art activism in Riverside and the Southern California region, as well as to creating opportunities for strengthening local connections to global cultural sites and artists.
Through UCR’s Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts, undergraduates, graduate students and faculty annually deliver more than a hundred dance performances, workshops and classes in Riverside K-12 schools, elder facilities, and other community associations and sites. The Gluck Contemporary Dance Ensemble, directed by faculty or graduate choreographers, and composed by undergraduate performers, combines contemporary dance approaches with entertainment sensibilities. Gluck Ensemble performances are designed to spark interest among the third-grade audiences bused to campus, art aficionados drawn to the Culver Center for the Arts, as well as family audiences passing by during downtown First Sundays.
Graduate students design their own Gluck Fellows projects arising out of personal dance experiences and areas of interest. To date projects have included choreographing works for elementary school dance troupes, introducing Afro-Caribbean Folkloric Dance to high school students, undertaking workshops that combine creative writing with movement, fostering interactive encounters with Korean Traditional Puppet Dance, lecturing/demonstrating on story-telling and costuming in traditional Mexican Folkloric dance and on Classical Indian dance, among others.
In 2010-11, under the Gluck Foundation’s sponsorship, the Department conducted MoveMore, a childhood obesity pilot project for third graders at a local elementary school. Faculty and graduate instructors presented weekly dance classes encouraging students’ confidence and awareness of healthy body practices through a creative approach.
The Culver Center for the Arts, inaugurated in 2010 and located in downtown Riverside, provides a beautiful venue for an array of public and invited events in the performing and visual arts. Through the department’s Body, Performance, and Dance Research Platform (BYPED), national and international artists/scholars have been brought to collaborate with our faculty in experimental, inter-cultural choreographic projects, as part of the BYPED Dance Tank series Choreographies of Access: Global Dances, Local Knowledges, (mis) Translated Bodies. In 2010-11, it’s first year, we have held BYPED Dance Tank activities with Zubin Mohamad (Fulbright, Malaysia), Setyastuti (Institute of the Arts, Yogyakarta), NuNu (independent artist, Shanghai), Sharon Wray (UC Irvine), Diyah Larasati (University of Minnesota), and Ananya Chatterjea (University of Minnesota). Our first off-campus, international BYPED meetings were held in Shanghai, in 2010. For more information visit http://www.byped.ucr.edu/.
Our BYPED Visiting Fellows program has hosted Won-sun Choi (artist/scholar, 2009-10), Zubin Mohamad (artist/scholar, 2010-11), and Sue Roginski (choreographer, 2010-11), inviting annually for applications.
Every year specific occasions arise from the intersections between department members and their active partnerships on and off campus. During the 2010-11season Lux Boreal, sponsored by UC Mexus, taught a master class at UCR as part of a residency at RCC; Dancing Earth-Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations, brought to campus as part of UCR Cultural Events, lead workshops with Sherman Indian School students on and off campus in partnership with UCR’s California Center for Native Nations; and VOLTA, a multidisciplinary event organized by UCR graduate students, concluded the 18th annual (dis)junctions Conference with a film festival, performances, and post-show discussion at the Culver Center of the Arts.