Dance Fall 2012

12th Annual Clifford Symposium:
Creativity and Collaboration


 This year the Clifford Symposium is part of the 20th anniversary celebration for the Mahaney Center for the Arts.

The listed events are only a portion of what’s on offer during this exciting weekend.

For a full schedule, check the Events and News tab at or on campus: go/clifford

All events are FREE.

Sept. 27 Clifford Symposium Keynote Speech: Julie Burstein

Thursday 7:00 p.m.
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Concert Hall


Burstein is a Peabody Award-winning radio producer, best-selling author, and public speaker who has spent her working life in conversation with highly creative people—interviewing, probing, guiding, and creating public radio programs about them and their work. In her book Spark: How Creativity Works, she offers a tour through some of creativity’s essential byways. She shines a beam onto its mysterious workings, helping us find more of that dimension within ourselves and putting it to good use.

Click here for more information on Julie and the Symposium.

Sept. 28-29    A Curious Invasion/Middlebury
PearsonWidrig DanceTheater

Friday & Saturday 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. each day,
Mahaney Center for the Arts

Award-winning PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER is one of the outstanding U.S. dance companies exploring site-specific choreography over the past four decades.  Collaborating with The Dance Company of Middlebury, an elaborate journey moves the audience in and around the MCA with live music performed by Japanese-Peruvian composer Pauchi Sasaki.  The work includes snippets of The Alumni Solos Project, see description below.  A Curious Invasion has been presented globally, including sites in China, Korea, Japan, India, and New Zealand.  Middlebury’s four performances draw focus to both the architecture and the landscape of the Mahaney Center.  Funded by the Middlebury College Arts Council.

Sept. 28-29    Alumni Solos Project: This is How it Looks


Friday & Saturday 3:00-4:15 p.m. each day,
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre

Peter Schmitz creates one solo with four distinct artists: Paul Matteson ’00, Simon Thomas-Train ’09, Pamela Vail ’90, and current student Otto Pierce ’14. Music by Michael Chorney, costumes by Maile Okamura. Introduced by Simon Thomas-Train.  Funded in part by the Middlebury College Arts Council.

Sept. 29    Pina

Saturday 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Dana Auditorium


Few choreographers have had more influence in the world of modern dance than the late German artist Pina Bausch. T his incendiary documentary film by Wim Wenders explores Bausch’s life and work while we see her company perform her most notable creations, where basic things like water, dirt, and even gravity take on otherworldly qualities.  Pina “should be read less as a polite memorial than as a palpitating act of resurrection”— The New Yorker.
       The 3:00 p.m. screening features an introduction by Daniel Houghton, Visiting Lecturer in Film & Media Culture, and a post-screening discussion with Leger Grindon, Professor of Film and Media Culture.

Sept. 30    Buddha Prince Backstage

Sunday 7:30 p.m.
Dana Auditorium


Film screening, discussion, and workshops with Markell Kiefer ’96.5, Tyson Lien ’98, and Tenzin Ngawang. Buddha Prince Backstage is a documentary film on the creation and staging of their outdoor walking play “The Buddha Prince,” celebrating the extraordinary life and teachings of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.  Additional workshops on theatrical collaboration and traditional Tibetan dance and music will be held on Sunday afternoon and Monday.  Registration required for some events. Master of Tibetan music and dance Tenzin Ngawang will present workshops in traditional Tibetan music (1:00-3:00) and dance (3:30-5:30) on Sunday afternoon prior to the film screening. 
Pre-registration is required for the three workshops, and space is limited.
Please contact Ellen McKay ( for more information and to pre-register.


Toni Renee Johnson Residency

Oct. 1-12


Artist in Residence Toni Johnson is a performer, choreographer, dance educator and entrepreneur who earned her Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in choreography and performance from Florida State University.  She danced with Nathan Trice Rituals, Peggy Choy Dance Company, INSPIRIT, Nia Love/Blacksmith’s Daughter and apprenticed with Urban Bush Women.  In 2008, she formed her own company, Maverick Dance Experience, to make dances from raw instinct and to serve as a platform for expressing her perspectives, social commentary, relationships, social-emotional themes, and political views. Toni’s choreography has been presented at Judson Church, The Riverside Theater, Mulberry Street Theater and Union Square in New York City; Mandell Theater, Philadelphia, PA; Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD) and GreenSpace in Queens, NY.

Oct. 9 DanceTalk with Toni Johnson

Tuesday 12:30-1:15 p.m.
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre

Tiffany Rhynard Residency

Tiffany Rhynard: Technique for Animals

Wednesday Oct. 17 and Thursday Oct. 18

Wednesday 2:50-4:15 p.m. Intermediate/Advanced Dance Class
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre

Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.mAdvanced Beginner Dance Class
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre
Thursday 3:00-4:15 p.m.   Beginner Dance Class
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre


Former Artist in Residence, Tiffany Rhynard will return to Middlebury teaching Technique for Animals (or humans, same thing).  Considering all four limbs as equal partners, Rhynard will inspire gutsy dancing by utilizing strength training, spatial precision, musical consciousness, and upper-body weight-based dynamics.  By training both sudden and subtle reflexes, participants will engage speed and power while acknowledging the nuances of being human. We will roll, flex, invert, take weight, use momentum, stretch, and maybe even growl. The motto: no wimpy dancing.  Tiffany Rhynard is an activist, filmmaker, movement artist, and teacher.  She is the artistic director of Big APE, an experimental performance company exploring the intersection between human behavior and theater.

Šara Stranovsky Residency

Monday Oct. 22 and Tuesday Oct. 23


Šara Stranovsky ’04.5 returns to Middlebury to share the work she has been doing in Cape Verde (off the coast of Senegal) with Raiz de Polon, a dance company that has created its own language of contemporary dance based on traditional dances of the archipelago. Šara’s work, seeking to understand this “language” as danced Kriole, the unofficial language of Cape Verde, forms the basis for her Ph.D dissertation with the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures. Does this dance language resolve debates about Cape Verdean national identity? Let’s talk about it!

DanceTalk with Šara Stranovsky

Monday, 12:30-1:20 p.m.
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre

Illustrated lecture/demonstration.

Tuesday, 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Room 126

Discussion with Modern Dance History class about understanding and interpreting contexts from which contemporary traditions spring.

 Tuesday, 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre

Beginning/Intermediate Dance Techniques class.  Learning through the body—experience a blend of Cape Verdean traditional and contemporary styles.

Pearl Primus: Life, Work, and Legacy


Peggy and Murray Schwartz
Wednesday, Oct. 24 and Thursday, Oct. 25

Wednesday 4:30 p.m.
Harmon Periodical Reading Room Davis Family Library

The Abernethy Lecture Series presents Peggy and Murray Schwartz, co-authors of The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus, published in 2011 by Yale University Press.  The Schwartzes share the depth of their research and affection for this singular trailblazer in U.S. and African-American culture.  


Primus stunned both audience and critics at her New York solo debut in 1943.  She was a dancer who broke all the rules, defying the boundaries of both expectation and gravity.  Named an honorary man in order to be taught a dance performed only by Watusi men, Primus comes alive in this introduction to the underappreciated icon.  Never before available photographs and video footage will illustrate the lecture.  Presented by the Abernethy Lecture Series and the Dance Program, among others.

Thursday 11:00 a.m-12:15 p.m.
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Room 126

Join the Modern Dance History class for further insight into the life, work and ongoing impact of the extraordinary Pearl Primus.

Fall 2012 Dance Concert: Mosaics from the Underground

Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1

Friday & Saturday  8:00 p.m.
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre

This choreo-lab features the works of emerging dance artists at the intermediate and advanced levels; the annual Newcomers’ Piece, choreographed by Penny Campbell; and a new work for the Dance Company of Middlebury by Visiting Assistant Professor Catherine Cabeen.  They add up to an evocative evening of new works exploring individual integrity and communal strength. Directed by Catherine Cabeen in collaboration with the dancers.
Tickets: $12/10/6; on sale November 12.


Taking Flight Fall 2012

Wednesday, Dec. 5

Wednesday 4:30 p.m.
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre

A “lightly produced” showing of dance experiments by the new batch of choreographers emerging from the Advanced Beginning Dance course, facilitated by Assistant Professor Christal Brown.

Simply Light

Informal showing of the Dance Company of Middlebury’s 30th Anniversary Performance and Tour: Simply Light

December 6       Thursday , 4:30 p.m.
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre


DCM will show and discuss the progress they’ve made in constructing a repertory of diverse and dynamic new works featuring choreographer-composer collaborations by Catherine Cabeen with musician Kane Mathis, Paul Matteson ’00 with Peter Jones, Andrea Olsen with David Darling, and Peter Schmitz with Michael Chorney.  Under the artistic direction of Olsen, the seven-member company will tour in January to San Francisco and the Monterey Institute following their Middlebury College premiere.  The repertory reflects an historical span, presenting dance artists from past, present, and future companies as we celebrate our 30th season.


Program in Dance

Mahaney Center for the Arts
72 Porter Field Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753