Acclaimed dancer Malavika Sarukkai presented the New England premiere of Rasamanjari, a celebration of the classical dance language of India, as the conclusion of the 38th annual Navaratri Festival. Photos from the Sunday, September 28, 2014, performance at Crowell Concert Hall. Images by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography. Click here to view the full album on flickr.
The United States debut of the duo of Grammy Award–winner Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, who plays Mohan Veena (a modified lap slide guitar), with 19-year-old virtuoso Keyboard Sathya, took place on Saturday, September 27, 2014, in Crowell Concert Hall as part of the 38th annual Navaratri Festival. Images by Lucy Guiliano for Perceptions Photography. Click here to view the full album on flickr.
The Planet Hip Hop Festival featured an evening concert by international Muslim women in hip hop, including the U.S. debut of Montreal-based Algerian singer-songwriter and rapper Meryem Saci as a solo artist, the New England debut of Washington, D.C.-based and Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter, poet, and emcee Maimouna Youssef a.k.a. Mumu Fresh as a solo artist, and Tavasha Shannon a.k.a. Miss Undastood of Queens, New York. Photos from the evening concert on Saturday, September 20, 2014, at Fayerweather Beckham Hall. Images by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography. Click here to view the full album on flickr.
Afternoon workshops by international Muslim women in hip hop, including Montreal-based Algerian singer-songwriter and rapper Meryem Saci, Washington, D.C.-based and Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter, poet, and emcee Maimouna Youssef a.k.a. Mumu Fresh, and Tavasha Shannon a.k.a. Miss Undastood of Queens, New York, took place on Saturday, September 20, 2014, at World Music Hall. Images by Ed Rudman for Perceptions Photography. Click here to view the full album on flickr.
“In its emotional nakedness, free-associative logic, and frank sensuality, the work of the Israeli-born couple Lee Sher and Saar Harari is inventive and arresting” (The New Yorker). The New England premiere of LeeSaar The Company’s Princess Crocodile was performed on Friday, September 19, 2014, in the CFA Theater. Images from dress rehearsal by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography. Click here to view the full album on flickr.
In “Women’s Voices, Verbal Ability, and Symbolic Power: The Case of Moroccan Shikhat,” Alessandra Ciucci analyzed a wedding celebration in Morocco to determine the role(s) of the shikhat, a class of professional female singer-dancers. Photos from the Wednesday, September 17, 2014, talk in the Daltry Room of the Music Rehearsal Hall. Images by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography. Click here to view the full album on flickr.
Grammy-nominated composer-pianist Vijay Iyer–“one of the most interesting and vital young pianists in jazz today” (Pitchfork)–along with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Tyshawn Sorey MA ’11, performed as the Vijay Iyer Trio at Crowell Concert Hall on Saturday, October 11, 2014. Images by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography. Click here to view the full album on flickr.
Professor of Art Tula Telfair’s A World of Dreams exhibition of new large-scale paintings presenting monumental landscapes and epic-scale vistas that are simultaneously awe-inspiring and intimate, runs through December 7, 2014. Photos from the opening reception on Tuesday, September 16, 2014, in the Main Gallery of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. Images by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography. Click here to view the full album on flickr.
“A startlingly original talent” (The New York Times), choreographer and director Faye Driscoll is a Creative Campus Fellow at Wesleyan during the fall of 2014, researching and developing “Thank You For Coming: Play,” one of a series of works she will be creating over the next several years. Photos from her artist talk on Thursday, September 11, 2014 in the Cross Street Dance Studio. Images by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography. Click here to view the full album on flickr.
CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 talks to Sara Guernsey ’15, Wesley Martinez-Close ’15, Jillian Roberts ’15, Eury German ’16, Ari Markowitz ’17, and José Louis Sanchez ’18 about their involvement with “In the Heights,” which is being presented by the Theater Department tonight through Sunday, November 16, 2014 in the CFA Theater.
With book by Wesleyan’s Shapiro Distinguished Professor of Writing and Theater Quiara Alegría Hudes, In the Heights is the winner of the 2008 Tony Awards for “Best Musical,” “Best Original Score” (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Theater ’02), “Best Choreography,” and “Best Orchestrations” (Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman, Music ’02).
Mr. Miranda wrote the first draft of In the Heights in 1999 as a sophomore at Wesleyan. Wesleyan’s student theater company Second Stage presented the play in April of that year. Four Wesleyan students—seniors at the time—then approached Mr. Miranda and proposed the play be expanded to a Broadway production.
Nine years later, in March 2008, In the Heights premiered on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
In the Heights tells the story of a close-knit community on the brink of change in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood. “I think it was mainly the story that made me want to audition,” said Eury German ’16, who plays the male lead Usnavi, and an ensemble member named Ángel.
Wesleyan’s production brings together students with diverse performance backgrounds.
“We have dancers, we have singers, we have actors, and not all of us were good at everything,” said Sara Guernsey ’15, who plays Camila Rosario. “But we were able to teach each other.”
“I learned a lot of choreography skills that I didn’t know before,” says José Louis Sanchez ’18, who plays Piragua Guy. “I think that’s the beauty of this process—all of us were strong in one suit and through this process we were able to grow in others.”
“Our director, Cláudia Tatinge Nascimento, often told us that [this is not the Broadway production], that this is going to be our own different version,” says Ari Markowitz ’17, who plays Sonny. “I’m glad that I hadn’t seen the Broadway production before because I got to come at it with a blank slate, and everything I saw forming was purely ours without any preconceived notions about what the show should be.”
“I went into it with a very open attitude,” said Wesley Martinez-Close ’15, who also plays Usnavi and a member of the ensemble named Jesús. “It was all new to me.”
“Two weeks before school started I was listening to the soundtrack nonstop,” said Mr. German. “The music is unlike any other musical.”
Jillian Roberts ’15 and Naomi Wright ’17 co-choreographed all of the dancing in the production.
“The movement in the show is a fusion of hip-hop, Latin, and Caribbean dance,” said Ms. Roberts. “Naomi and I combined our dance histories, knowledge, and vocabulary to assemble a body of choreography that both represents the fusion of cultures in the show and also the styles of music that are represented in the show.”
Wesleyan’s production of In the Heights has been months in the making.
“I’m really excited for everyone to have their hard work displayed for the larger community,” said Ms. Roberts. “A show that is this multicultural and diverse doesn’t often show up on a main stage university theater, and it’s exciting for us to be a part of this kind of unique theater production.”
“This is by far the most exciting thing that any of us are going to do this semester,” says Mr. German. “I am, deep down, so excited for this to come together.”
In the Heights
Wednesday, November 12 through Saturday, November 15 at 8pm
Sunday, November 16 at 2pm and 8pm
$15 general public; $12 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, Middletown residents; $7 all students
Click here to purchase tickets online for the Sunday evening performance.