Dance professor Penny Campbell reports:
Our graduating seniors in Dance are Simon Thomas-Train and Yina Ng. Together they represented the New England region of the American College Dance Festival Association at the National Dance Gala in New York City in the spring of 2008 with their duet, "It needs what we don’t want." In addition to their choreographic work, both received senior work fund grants to support their video work, which both presented in their joint senior concert in April 2009. Both also performed in the debut tour of Artist in Residence Tiffany Rhynard’s professional dance ensemble, Big Action Performance Ensemble, here at Middlebury and at other venues in New England. Simon continued to perform with "Big APE" in March at Town Hall Theatre.
Both Simon and Yina have received merit scholarships to attend the American Dance Festival (not to be confused with ACDFA mentioned above) this coming summer. ADF is the six-week summer dance event that began in 1934 at Bennington College, migrated to Mills and then to Connecticut College for many years before settling at Duke University in North Carolina. It is a premier meeting place for professionals dance in the country and the world.
These two graduating seniors in the Class of 2009, who participated in the Student Research Symposium both by showing excerpts from their duet in McCardell Bicentennial Hall moments before heading down to the Mahaney Center for the Arts for their senior concert, have had a fascinating trajectory together. Both are choreographers and videographers, each with a unique vision and aesthetic. And they are compelling, sparkling performers together. They should be performing their duet right there at graduation!
Because these two have been enormously close, both personally and artistically, it’s fitting that they will split the Mahlingaiah Family Dance Prize this year. Their paired trajectories just keep on trajecting!
Arabella Holzapfel works in the library at Middlebury, and one of her pastimes is producing a podcast of bellydance music: an eclectic mix of mostly Middle Eastern music, but also African, South American, and electronic and dance beats. The most recent "episode" of the podcast was downloaded more than 19,000 times by people around the world; there are a total of nearly 85,000 downloads of the eight episodes she's produced so far. "I'm sure that without the support and general ambience of being employed at a place with so much emphasis on international cultures and technology," Holzapfel says, "I would never have even thought of doing this."