Five College Consortium

Five College Dance Department

Jake Meginsky's New Album featured on WIRE Magazine

[Jake Meginsky photo]

FCDD Electronic Musician, Percussionist and Composer Jake Meginsky's new Seven Psychotropic Sinewave Palindromes was released by NNA Tapes on March 18th, 2016. The new album was recently featured on the WIRE Magazine, where Nick Cain wrote, “the album uses little more than a couple of sounds, extracting often head spinning complexity from a minimum of means.” Seven Psychotropic Sinewave Palindromes was recently listed in FACT Magazine’s top 25 albums of 2016

Music critic David Keenan called Meginsky’s 2014 solo record, L’appel Du Vide, “a hallucinatory electro percussion masterpiece”  Art In America Magazine says, “Meginsky’s digital concrète takes percussion to outer extremes.” 

Meginsky frequently collaborates with choreographers and has worked with Cori Olinghouse, Paul Matteson, Jen Nugent, Susan Sgorbati, Katie Martin, and Nora Chipaumire. He has a longstanding artistic relationship with Gwen Welliver , and recently composed the score for her new work, “What a Horse”.  In 2017, Meginsky and Welliver will debut a new work at the Gibney in NYC. His sound installations have been shown internationally including CONTEXT ART in Miami, Duolun Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai, CONTEXT ART in New York, The Mead Art Museum, Usdan Gallery, the Beijing Today Museum, APE Gallery and the Jinse Gallery in Chongqing.

His recordings can be found on NNA (Burlington, VT), Mantile (London, UK), Second Sleep (Milan, Italy), Feeding Tube Records (Northampton, MA), Rel Records (Providence, RI), Open Mouth Records (Northampton, MA), Hells Half Halo (Seattle, WA), Wooden Finger Records (Belgium), Ultra Eczema Records (Belgium), and Ecstatic Peace Records (Northampton, MA). He recently remixed Body/Head’s (Kim Gordon & Bill Nace) “Last Mistress” for Matador Records (NYC).


American College Dance Association 2016 Results

The American College Dance Association (ACDA) New England Conference was held at Springfield College February 11-14, 2016. FCDD students participated in dozens of classes and lectures, and performed in concerts adjudicated by distinguished artists Anjali Austin, Jim Lepore, and Edisa Weeks.

Dances from Hampshire College and UMass Amherst represent two of the ten dances that were selected by the adjudicators to perform in the Gala Concert on Sunday, February 14.

Ellen Oliver (HC '16). Photo by Jim Coleman

Ellen Oliver (HC '16) premiered Words Quicksanded, a solo that Ellen choreographed and performed as part of her upcoming thesis dance concert. Ellen draws inspiration from the artistic process and the methods of decision making in the dance studio. Her thesis Hollow Hands is a kinesthetic and visual journey through the dream world and the waking world as the stage is flooded with red props, video projection and text. This is her seventh collaboration with original music by Dylan Eldredge Fitzwater (HC '16). Ellen has collaborated at San Francisco’s Red Poppy Art House in Teobi’s Dreaming, OceA Dance in Martha’s Vineyard, and Tiny Crush Society. She has screened her dance films at Movies By Movers in North Carolina, Dance Shorts College Film Festival in Florida, and the Five College Film Festival. Most recently, Ellen performed her work In Layers/La Cebolla at Hampshire College Family and Friends Concert and the Sixth Annual Festival de las Artes in Havana, Cuba with students from the Universidad de las Artes, Cuba. Her studies at Hampshire include dance and Latin American Studies. Ellen will be an Artist Resident in Bearnstow’s Young Artist Residency 2016 after she graduates. Don't miss her thesis concert on March 24-26!

Tom Vacanti by John Solem

UMass Assistant Professor of Dance Thomas (Tom) Vacanti premiered Interludium, a duet performed by Céline Barreau (MHC '16) and Kelsey Saulnier (UMass '18), set to music by Santiago de Murcia and Billy Cowie. The piece explores the emptiness and fullness of the exterior persona, in relation to both the musical score and the words of poet Federico Garcia Lorca. Tom is continuing his research working with techniques and theories developed by Alexandre Munz in his choreographic system “Graphisiology”—a sensorial approach to movement and gesture in conjunction with the volume of space and body. He is fascinated with small gestures and how the dancer can do less, not more in performance- and inviting the audience to closely observe the fine details of the action onstage. ¡Ay! by Federico Garcia Lorca is a very passionate poem that inspired Tom to make “less” through chroegraphy and distill the meaning of the poem into very small, fine gestures. Adjudicators described Interludium as a duet that “reveals an interplay of arms that separate and recombine like strands of spiraling DNA. The delicate, tensile, expressivity of the performers encourages the viewer to lean in and pay attention.”

Interludium has been chosen as the first alternate for the 2016 National College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., along with finalists from Dean College and the University of Hartford/Hartt School. Tom presented his work Arena last year at the International Global Theater Conference in Austria, and a solo work Proverb at the Peridance APAP Showcase in NYC in January 2016. Don’t miss Interludium at the FCDD Faculty Concert on March 3-5 at Mount Holyoke College.

Professor Constance Valis Hill Honors the History of Tap Dance in the Library of Congress

[Constance photo]

Five College Professor of Dance Constance Valis Hill has created “Tap Dance in America: A Twentieth-Century Chronology of Tap Performance on Stage, Film, and Media,” a 3,000 performance record database with 180 biographies of twentieth-century tap dancers for the Library of Congress.

Also see "Tap Dance in America: A Short History" and "The Missing Scholarship of American Tap Dance" by Constance Valis Hill, which highlight the significance of tap history and artists.

Charnice Charmant (SC '16) awarded 2015-16 Wagner Scholarship

[Charnice Charmant]

The FCDD is happy to announce the winner of the 2015-16 Virginia J. Wagner Scholarship: Charnice Charmant (SC ‘16). This is an endowed award started by Virginia J. Wagner, an alumna from the University of Massachusetts. The scholarship is need-based and is awarded by recommendation of the faculty to students who have made substantial and valuable contributions to the Five College Dance Department.

Charnice is a consistently excellent student and member of the dance community at Smith College. She is a charismatic and skilled performer and is an active participant in the creative process. Charnice is an artist who, on the one hand, contributes richly to the development of the choreography through a process of critical engagement with the choreographer and fellow dancers, and, on the other hand, delivers physically captivating performances with high standards of technique, expressivity and musicality.

Charnice has been clear and positive in helping the Smith Department of Dance to grow by urging them to include more opportunities to study dance and dance theory from minority cultures. She is forthright in presenting the need to re-consider the role of race in dance and how this history is reflected in the cannon of choreographers that are studied within the Department while also being a healing influence as we work to come to terms with the on-going and often violent race issues in America. Charnice is a networker and community-builder in dance, at Smith College, and in the Five College Dance Department. Her social and intellectual interests stretch beyond the walls of any one group, and she brings them together to generate bigger coalitions and solutions.

We congratulate Charnice on this well-deserved award!

New FCDD Production Team

After seeing the incomparable production team of Jean Baxter and Gwen Niven off to retirement and grad school respectively, the FCDD is excited to welcome our brand new production team: Matthew Adelson and Olana Z. Flynn. Matt and Olana can be found in the FCDD Production Office on the 2nd floor of the Green St. Annex at Smith College. Please greet them warmly and make them feel at home!

Matthew AdelsonMatthew Adelson is the Production Manager for the Five College Dance Department, and has worked in Lighting Design and Production Management since 1996. From 2000 to 2005, he was the Production Coordinator for Dance Department at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts, and from 2005 to 2015 was the Lighting Designer for the Dance Department at Williams College. Additionally, from 2005 to 2014, he was the Director of Production at the Mahaiwe Performing Art Center, in Great Barrington. Matthew is also the Production Manager for the annual Yidstock festival at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst. His design credits includes work throughout the Berkshires, across the country, London and New York. Matthew holds a BA from SUNY-Albany and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. He is also a member of the United Scenic Artists, IATSE Local 829.

Olana FlynnOlana Z. Flynn, Production Assistant for the Five College Dance Department, received a BA in Performance and Choreography from Hampshire College. Before joining the FCDD she worked as the Administrative Assistant at Pioneer Valley Ballet. In 2013, she co-founded and directed Workbench, a monthly choreography showcase, for which she received a Northampton Arts Council grant. She was an adjunct dance faculty member at Springfield College during the 2014-2015 year. Her choreography has been performed in New York, Providence, Boston, and Brattleboro. Olana continues to teach and perform locally and show her choreography regionally. Currently, she is working alongside other FCDD alums in Loculus, a performance collective of which she is a founding member.

Sherrerd Award for Outstanding Teaching

[Rodger Blum]

Dance Professor and Department Chair Roger Blum received the prestigious Sherrerd Award for Outstanding Teaching at Smith College 2014. Each year, Smith students, faculty and alumnae submit nominations for the Sherrerd teaching prize, which recognizes the distinguished teaching records and demonstrated enthusiasm and excellence of Smith faculty members. It has become a symbol of the value, commitment and dedication Smith places on pedagogy.

Lifetime Achievement Award from NDEO

[Peggy Schwartz headshot]

  Peggy Schwartz, Professor and Director Emerita of the University Dance Program, "in  recognition of Outstanding Leadership, Advocacy, and Achievement in Dance and Dance  Education" was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award 2013 from the National  Dance Education Organization.

Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

[Lester Tomé photo]

In 2014-2015, Lester Tomé, Assistant Professor of Dance at Smith College received a $50,400 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support work on his new book on the history and globalization of post-revolution Cuban ballet. He spent the year conducting research as a resident scholar at Harvard's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.

Choreography Fellowship from MCC


Paul Matteson, Assistant Professor of Dance at Amherst and Mount Holyoke Colleges, received a $10,000 Choreography Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 2014.