Fall Photos: Tula Telfair: Invented Landscapes—Michael S. Roth Interviews Henry Adams

On Wednesday, October 19, 2016 in The Ring Family Performing Arts Hall, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth ’78 interviewed Henry Adams, Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University and Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment at Wesleyan, about Professor of Art Tula Telfair’s new book, Tula Telfair: Invented Landscapes.

Photos by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography. Click here to view the entire album on Flickr.

Spring Photos: China’s Youth – Another Cultural Revolution

“We Chat” exhibition Guest Curator Barbara Pollack moderated a panel discussion about issues facing the post-Mao generation in China on Saturday, February 27, 2016 in the Ring Family Performing Arts Hall.

Click here to view the full album on Flickr. Photos by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography.

Spring Events Include New England Premiere and Connecticut Debuts

Kota Yamazaki/Fluid hug-hug performs the New England premiere of "OQ" on February 12, 2016 as part of the Performing Arts Series.
Kota Yamazaki/Fluid hug-hug performs the New England premiere of “OQ” on February 12, 2016 as part of the Performing Arts Series.

The Center for the Arts is one of the rare places in the state where you can consistently experience arts from around the world. This semester is no exception. In January and February, the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery hosts the work of ten contemporary Chinese artists born after the Cultural Revolution who are challenging traditional notions of Chinese identity and inventing new ways to shout out in the global arena. In February, Syrian singer Gaida brings her band to Crowell Concert Hall. At a time when her country is under siege, her soulful voice will remind us of the beauty and power of Syrian music and culture. And playwright Guillermo Calderón will discuss his award-winning works about Chile in the aftermath of the dictatorship.

The CFA is also the home of countless premieres. In April, you’ll be the first to hear Harlem Heiroglyphs, a new album by composer, vibraphonist, and Adjunct Professor of Music Jay Hoggard, both in concert and as the music for Storied Places, directed and choreographed by Dance Department Chair Nicole Stanton with text by Center for African American Studies Professor Lois Brown.

Finally, the Music Department will host a March symposium on the work of the legendary experimental music composer David Tudor and, in April, the Theater Department offers Wes Out-Loud, a site-specific work created by Assistant Professor Marcela Oteíza and her students.

The semester ends on May 7 with Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter, the second annual eco-arts festival featuring world music bands, educational exhibits, and site-specific performance works by area organizations at Middletown’s Harbor Park, located on the bank of the Connecticut River.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Pamela Tatge
Director, Center for the Arts

Sonya Levine ’17 talks to Hari Krishnan about Alarmel Valli (Oct. 10 & 11)

Wesleyan University DanceLink Fellow and CFA Arts Administration Intern Sonya Levine ’17 talks to Associate Professor of Dance Hari Krishnan about internationally acclaimed Indian dancer and choreographer Alarmél Valli, who makes her Connecticut debut on Sunday, October 11, 2015 at 3pm in Crowell Concert Hall as the conclusion of the 39th annual Navaratri Festival. Mr. Krishnan will also have a conversation with Ms. Valli following the free screening of the film “Lasya Kavya: The World of Alarmél Valli” on Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 2pm in CFA Hall.

Alarmél Valli. Photo by Narendra Dangiya.
Alarmél Valli. Photo by Narendra Dangiya.

How does Alarmél Valli bring the forms of music, dance and poetry together? 

Seamlessly and with great sophistication and accessibility! As a dancer who embodies the word “articulate” in every fiber of her being, Alarmél Valli is also trained extensively in music, and has an innate love for literature and poetry. So, her dance is literally visual music in the highest order. She is acclaimed as an artist who sings with her body. She has often been described as a painter who uses her body as an empty canvas, painting upon it all the glorious colors, hues, and tints of life.

What are the stories that she tells?

Her stories are always about the sensual and spiritual coming together in a complex, integrated manner. Her stories give great hope and affirmation of life and humanity. Her stories have the unique ability to cut across linguistic, social, political, and cultural boundaries. Alarmél Valli is a rare, one-of-a-kind artist whose dance touches everyone universally.

Why is Alarmél Valli important to the dance world?

Alarmél Valli is an internationally acclaimed superstar Bharatanatyam dancer. She has been a leading light in the industry for the past 40 years, touring major theaters, festivals, and opera houses from Europe to Asia. She has transformed the traditional solo dance of Bharatanatyam into a vibrant, dynamic, and engaging solo dance style—current and relevant for a 21st century global audience. This is why she is much sought after by the most avant-garde theaters and festivals in Europe to the most conservative classical arts-friendly venues in India. On a personal level, it has been a long-awaited dream of mine to have Alarmél Valli’s appearance at Wesleyan. Her dance teacher and my dance teacher were cousins. She is also a dear friend, and I have followed her work since the late 1980s.

Why is Wesleyan an ideal site for this performance?

Wesleyan University is a major site for the performance of Indian dance and music for the past 50 years, and that is why all the great artists of India consider it an honor to perform on this campus. From a dance perspective, Wesleyan is also a major historical site for the preservation of an important strand of courtesan-style Bharatanatyam, so to have someone like Alarmél Valli, who intersects tradition and modernity, is a natural progression as a testimony to this great institution. The audiences are in for a treat on Sunday afternoon where an iconic dance artist who has been compared to [Rudolf] Nureyev and [Mikhail] Baryshnikov will grace the stage.

Alarmél Valli
Connecticut Debut
Sunday, October 11, 2015 at 3pm
Crowell Concert Hall, 50 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown
$18 general public; $15 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students

Fall Photos: Theater After Wesleyan

Five Wesleyan Theater Department alumni—producer Roberta Pereira’03, director Michael Rau ’05, playwright MJ Kaufman ’08, producer Rachel Silverman ’09, and scenic and properties designer Emmie Finckel’14—talked about their work and careers in theater after Wesleyan. The talk was moderated by Associate Professor of Theater Cláudia Tatinge Nascimento on September 24, 2015 in CFA Hall.

Click Here to view the full album on Flickr. Photos by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography.

Theater After Wesleyan
Theater After Wesleyan
Theater After Wesleyan
Theater After Wesleyan
Theater After Wesleyan
Theater After Wesleyan
Theater After Wesleyan
Theater After Wesleyan
Theater After Wesleyan
Theater After Wesleyan
Theater After Wesleyan
Theater After Wesleyan

2015-16 Season Now On Sale! World, U.S., New England, CT Premieres

This year, we are looking forward to introducing you to artists who are asking important questions about our world today, questioning why things are the way they are, and helping us to envision how they might be.

Dorrance Dance make their Connecticut debut on September 25 and 26 as part of the Performing Arts Series.
Dorrance Dance make their Connecticut debut on September 25 and 26 as part of the Performing Arts Series.

Michelle Dorrance, described by the Chicago Tribune as “edgy, seductive and smart,” brings Dorrance Dance to the CFA Theater September 25 and 26. You’ll have the chance to see tap dancers push the boundaries of what tap dance looks and feels like: her company will dazzle you as they transform the stage into one sonic instrument.

At a time when our country is struggling to find its way in terms of race relations, we’ve invited writer/performer Daniel Beaty to campus for a residency that includes the October 9 performance of Mr. Joy, his highly acclaimed tour de force solo show about a community’s efforts to heal in order to dream again.

Composer, visual artist, and new media innovator R. Luke DuBois takes over the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery from September 16 through December 13 with his exhibition In Real Time, creating maps, scores, and videos that use real-time data flows and media footage to raise questions of artistic agency, privacy, and fair use. In time for the election season, the CFA has commissioned him to create a new work using research generated by the Wesleyan Media Project.

Dancer/choreographer Eiko Otake returns with a series of intimate performances in unlikely places, including a commissioned work in honor of the 100th-anniversary of Wesleyan’s Van Vleck Observatory.

This year’s Navaratri Festival of Indian music and dance features one of the world’s greatest veena players, Sri Rajhesh Vaidya, on October 10, and Bharatanatyam dancer Alarmél Valli on October 11.

All this shares the fall schedule with performances by faculty and students, including the final class performance by students of Adjunct Professor of Music Abraham Adzenyah, who is retiring after teaching Ghanaian drumming at Wesleyan for the past 45 years. You won’t want to miss that concert on December 4.

As always, we hope you will look to the CFA as a place of enlightenment and enjoyment in the months ahead.


Pamela Tatge
Center for the Arts