Your Cart UMS

UMS Night School: Bodies in Motion – Session 5 Recap

Editor’s note: This post is a part of a series of by U-M student Sarah Squillante, who’s covering our free UMS Night School: Bodies in Motion series. Learn along side with them.

Educationally rich. Inspiring. Moving. Authentic. Sharing. These are just a few of the many words UMS Night School attendees provided when asked to summarize their experiences thus far.

“This is making me think so much more deeply about the play,” said Sharman Spieser.night school 2

Sharman’s comment was just one among many in a discussion of Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord’s production of The Suit that opened up Monday’s session, led by U-M Professor of Theatre, Jillian Eaton.

Points of reflection concerned the transformation of the play from a short story, the significance of music, the development of the main female character, the subtlety of apartheid undertones, and, of course, movement.

“[Movement] was not a layer that was added on. It was at the core of the performance,” said one attendee.

Host Clare Croft asked attendees how they connected physically with the performance. This was a night school session devoted to Bodies in Motion, after all. Attendees were invited to share how they physically reacted to certain moments, and how they thought they would feel if they were one of the audience members pulled on stage during the audience participation moment in the performance.

“What I’ve learned the most at night school is how movement is a part of everything that you do,” said Lisa Beard.

The session moved to a discussion with this question at its center: What does it mean to experiment in motion? U-M Associate Professor Dance, Amy Chavasse, got bodies moving instead lips, this time using an exercise in which pairs of two walked toward each other, slowly writing their names in the air with a body part. The room buzzed with discussion as soon as the lines collided.

U-M Associate Professor of American Culture, Larry La Fountain-Stokes, emphasized the value in performances that break the dance mold, specifically in regard to the traditional male/female stereotype. One such performance is the upcoming RMW (a)/RW and Toe, performances by DD Dorvillier and Jennifer Monson, performances that came out of a conference called Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance Research. The shows will be performed in the U-M Duderstadt Center Video Studio on North Campus on February. 26 and 27 at 7:30 PM.

The pleasure and value of experimentation was summed up by Clare Croft, who said, “I find that the kinds of performances I like the most are those when I end up saying what’s going on? What’s going on? What’s going on? This is awesome.”

Night School is taking a short break and will resume on Monday, March 10 at 7 PM in the U-M Alumni Center. Our sixth session, entitled “Bodies Make Music,” will delve into the movement of musicians and prepare attendees for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Interested in even more dance engagement? Pick up an adventure card to learn all about the dance activities we’re offering this year and for a chance to win a backstage meet and greet.

Session Resources

Share questions, comments, or suggestions in the comments below.

From Our Archives: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra visits Ann Arbor

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra returns to Hill Auditorium with long-time conductor Zubin Mehta on March 15, 2014 (they’ll perform Bruckner Symphony No. 8).

From our archives, a photo from the orchestra’s visit to Ann Arbor in 1972.

In another visit in 1989, here is conductor Zubin Mehta with his wife U-M alumna Nancy Kovack as they visit with U-M president James Duderstadt and wife Anne Lock-Duderstadt at the president’s house.

Later, during a visit to the Martha Cook dormitory, the home of Nancy Kovack during her time at Michigan.

Finally, the contact sheet from that performance gives a sense of the bustle backstage at Hill Auditorium.