Available to view starting Thursday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. through Thursday, Nov. 26
Q&A Sessions (via Zoom)
Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 22 at 3 p.m.
Meeting ID: 978 0877 1892
“Ubuntu”* (I am because you are)
Choreographer: Jason Aryeh
Music: MAW Expensive, MAW Records - Tribute to Fela Kuti
[Fela Anikulapo Kuti (October 1938–August 1997) was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist.]
Dancers: Shania Davitt, Cynthia Duran, Morgan Frazier, Nicole Henkel, Danielle Larned, and Elaine Ortiz
Costumes: Aboubacar Soumah
*Program note from Jason Aryeh: Ubuntu means "I am, because you are." The word ubuntu is part of the Zulu phrase "Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu," which literally means that a person is a person through other people. I am celebrating the African dance form through different lenses of African dance movements. I brought borrowed, brought together, modify and explored different traditional West African movements from the following tribes: Susu people from Guinea (Kuku), Ga people from Ghana (Kpanlogo), Dagomba people from the north central Ghana (Damba Takai), Yuroba people from Nigeria, and the Wolof culture from Senegal (Sabar), unifying the African dance form in a simplistic aesthetic. My vision is to celebrate the life of the community in this COVID-19 world we find ourselves in currently, a work to provide a voice to all members of the community, as well as bringing in the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with race and diversity to increase one’s awareness, knowledge, and empathic understanding of the complex ways African cultures and individuals interact within institutions and beyond leading all in deeper explorations of community, spirituality, and liberation.
Choreographer: Angela Vital-Martowski
Music: Sand by Nathan Lanier
Dancers: Angelina Cohen, Cynthia Duran, Jillian Michaud
Costumes: Angela Vital-Martowski
How about “we”
Choreographer: Sarah Zehnder in collaboration with dancers
Music: Change by Mavis Staples, Mimi by Senking
Dancers: Megan Casey, Angelina Cohen, Cynthia Duran, Jenna Feld, Morgan Frazier, Nicole Henkel, Danielle Larned, Alexandra MacPherson, Elaine Ortiz, and Sydney Schwartz
Costumes: Sarah Zehnder
Never the same**
Choreographer: Alexandra MacPherson (student)
Music: Amazing Grace performed by Aretha Franklin, written by John Newton
Dancer: Alexandra MacPherson
**This solo was created as part of MacPherson’s choreographic research in Advanced Dance Seminar class towards her senior show, which was postponed due to Covid-19.
It’s a Human Affair
Choreographer: Sarah Zehnder
Music: Me Gusta by Anitta with Cardi B and Myke Towers
Dancers: Angelina Cohen, Shania Davitt, Cynthia Duran, Jenna Feld, Nicole Henkel, Danielle Larned, Alexandra MacPherson, Savannah Marcello, Elaine Ortiz, and Gabriela Penarrieta
Costumes: Sarah Zehnder
About the Choreographers
Jason K. Aryeh is a modern and traditionally trained dancer and historian from the coastal area of Accra, Ghana, and born into the Aryeh family of court traditional historians and dancers of the Ga-Ngleshie people. Aryeh has toured the world extensively with traditional and contemporary West African dance groups, and has diverse experience as a performer, teacher, choreographer, and movement research scholar throughout West Africa and the United States. He is currently a Lecturer of Dance at the University of Georgia, Athens.
Aryeh is the artistic director and founder of Africa Alive Dance Company, a project research-oriented movement performance ensemble. He was the lead dancer and choreographer for the Performing Arts Workshop, a resident performance dance company affiliated with the University of Ghana. Aryeh also was featured performance soloist and choreographer for the Sankofa African Dance and Drum Company, affiliated with the College at Brockport, State University of New York. He was the director, choreographer, and movement research scholar for the resident theater company at the Center for National Culture, Sunyani, Brong-Ahafo Region, Ghana.
He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance and African studies from the University of Ghana and his Master of Fine Arts degree in performance and choreography studies from College at Brockport, State University of New York.
Aryeh was awarded the Wilhelmina Boyd Community Service Award by the Black Student Union for the outstanding contribution to the Black student community and the outstanding Black faculty in recognition of teaching and considerable skill in motivating and inspiring students by the Elon Black Cultural Society presented at the Black Excellence Awards.
Angela Vital-Martowski began her dance career studying locally at The New England Dance Conservatory and performing as a soloist with the New England Dance Theater, under the direction of Shelley Zeibel and Ken Lipitz. She has danced with many nationally renowned ballet companies, such as The Boston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet, Ballet South, American Repertory Ballet Theater, and working with famous American choreographers/artist’s such as Bruce Marks, Septime Weber, Dermot Burke, Marjorie Mussman, and Twyla Tharpe. Vital-Martowski was a University of Massachusetts Chancellor’s Award recipient and received her certificate in ballet pedagogy from the Hartt School (University of Hartford through The Hartford Ballet). She has trained in the Vaganova technique and is certified in the six-year syllabus. She also has a minor in early childhood education and enjoys teaching young children as a movement’s specialist. Combining dance and fitness has become a passion; she is certified in all forms of Zumba, Barre Method and hoop fitness. Vital Martowski is also the creator of Ballet Booty Bootcamp, a barre style fitness class that incorporates the same muscle used in a ballet class to build long lean muscle without injury in a low-impact fitness class. She has been teaching for more than 20 years all over New England, including opening her own studio, The Dance Studio of Wilbraham, where she has been the artistic director for 18 years.
Vital-Martowski is a member of The National Dance Education Organization, National Dance Week and Corp de Ballet (an organization for ballet in higher education). She has been a part of the Springfield College faculty for 13 years teaching ballet and mentoring and hosting interns from the College dance program.
Sarah Zehnder, artistic director of Zehnder Dance, and assistant professor and director of dance at Springfield College, is originally from Ohio, where she began her training as a hip-hop dancer. Zehnder Dance, established in 2010, is known for commanding physicality, boldness, and architectural precision, and has been produced nationwide, performing in such prestigious festivals as Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, Florence Summer Dance Festival (Italy) Reverb International Dance Festival, Pasadena Dance Festival, DUMBO Dance Festival, the MAD Festival, Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival, and the Women in Dance Project (in New York City and Chicago). Her work has been presented at Dixon Place, Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, Gowanus Arts, Triskelion Arts, 92nd Y, Greenspace, and the Center for Performance Research. Zehnder also has shared her choreographic passion through guest artist residencies at Grand Canyon University, Santa Monica College, Queens College, and Scottsdale Community College. Zehnder received her Bachelor of Science in dance from Bowling Green State University and her Master of Fine Arts from SUNY Brockport. For more information on workshops and future performances, visit zehnderdance.org or follow her on Instagram @sehnder_dance.
Alexandra MacPherson is an artist inspired by dance as a universal language, currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in dance as well as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, who desires to perform professionally and work with other active performing artists. MacPherson aims to combine her love of movement and science to enhance the ever-changing world in which we live. With experience ranging from concert to commercial dance, MacPherson’s training embodies a diverse movement vocabulary from athletic contemporary to old school hip-hop. She is an active dancer, choreographer, and educator. She enjoys the athleticism and adrenaline rush of hip-hop, jazz funk and African, as well as the control and variation in contemporary and musical theater. MacPherson has performed diverse choreographic works by professional artists Monica Bill-Barnes, Jason Aryeh, Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre, Monica Baroni, and Sarah Zehnder. She was invited to be a guest performer for Zehnder Dance Company in New York City and was a touring member of Velocity Dance Company (Quincy, Mass.) from 2015-18. MacPherson’s choreography also has been presented at Florence Summer Dance (Florence, Italy) and was selected for the American College Dance Association New England Regional Festival (Middlebury, Vt.) informal showcase.