Wesleyan University to present Spring Faculty Dance Concert "Storied Places" April 15 and 16, 2016

Wesleyan University to present Spring Faculty Dance Concert "Storied Places" April 15 and 16, 2016

Wesleyan University’s Dance Department, Center for the Arts,
and Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life present
Spring Faculty Dance Concert
"Storied Places: A Renaissance Project"
Performances on Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16
 feature a collaborative project by Nicole Stanton, Jay Hoggard, Lois Brown,
and L’Merchie Frazier inspired by African American histories of
movement, memory and migration

Middletown, Conn.—Wesleyan University’s Dance Department and Center for the Arts present the Spring Faculty Dance ConcertStoried Places: A Renaissance Project" on Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 8pm in the CFA Theater, located at 271 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown. The work features choreography and direction by Nicole Stanton in collaboration with the performers, original composition and musical direction by Jay Hoggard, narration by Lois Brown, and visual scenography by L'Merchie Frazier. Performers include Wesleyan faculty and students alongside renowned jazz musicians and dancers, as well as members of the Cross Street A.M.E. Zion Church Choir.

Acts of “renaissance” are nuanced and deliberate efforts of revival and of renewal that often suggest hopeful restorations and vibrant re-creations. Yet, even as these processes of revival and renewal may suggest a visible flowering, they simultaneously call attention to matters of decline and undoing. This project is rooted in a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary conception of renaissance, and evokes the moving body as a site of memory, recollection, and departure.  The work explores states of past and present, of vitality and decay, and of presence and absence.

The collaborators ask: What kinds of narratives shape the places in which we move, live, and remember?  When do sites become tragic, romantic, beyond our reach, or an inescapable part of our selves?
"As we worked together, we began to embrace the complexity of who we are as a community, to value the way each of our stories rubs up against the other/each other," said Nicole Stanton. "We are a kinetic crossroads, and what better place to share our unique stories but here, skin to skin?"

Tickets for the performance are $5 for Wesleyan students, and $10 for all others. Tickets are available online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/boxoffice, by phone at (860) 685-3355, or in person at the Wesleyan University Box Office, located in the Usdan University Center, 45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown. Tickets may also be purchased at the door beginning one hour prior to the performance, subject to availability. The Center for the Arts accepts cash, checks written to “Wesleyan University,” and all major credit cards. Groups of ten or more may receive a discount – please call (860) 685-3355 for details. No refunds, cancellations, or exchanges.

This project was made possible by support from Wesleyan University's Dance Department, the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Center for the Arts with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Office of Academic Affairs, and the African American Studies Program.

About Nicole Stanton
Nicole Stanton is currently Chair and Associate Professor of Dance at Wesleyan University.  She is also an Associate Professor in the African American Studies Program, the College of the Environment, and the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance. Prior to coming to Wesleyan, she was a faculty member with the Ohio State University and also taught at Yale University, Kenyon College, and Antioch College.
In addition to her academic appointments, she has worked as an actor, theater technician, community organizer, and educator with organizations such as In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, the Minnesota Dance Alliance, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and San Francisco’s Make A Circus.
Her choreography has been presented at venues including the Wexner Center for the Arts, ProDanza Italia, the Minnesota Dance Alliance, the Congress on Research in Dance, and the American College Dance Festival, among many others. Her selected credits as performer include the Thoissane West African Dance Company, Bebe Miller, Irene Hultman, Victoria Uris, Lisa Gonzales, and Katja Kolcio.
She received her M.F.A. in Choreography from Ohio State University, and studied West African dance with the Maimuna Keita African Dance Company in Senegal, West Africa, as well as contemporary dance at the Center for New Dance Development in Arnhem, Holland.

About Jay Hoggard
An Adjunct Professor of Music and African American Studies, Jay Hoggard received both his B.A. and M.A. from Wesleyan University, and has been the director of the Wesleyan University Jazz Orchestra for the past 24 years. He majored in the renowned World Music program, and toured Europe and played at Carnegie Hall during his freshman year. In his junior year, he traveled to Tanzania to study East African marimba music. After graduation in 1976, he returned to New York City where he was proclaimed "the most dazzling new vibraphonist in jazz" by Robert Palmer  in The New York Times.

As a performer, Jay Hoggard has toured the globe to rave reviews. Noted journalist Owen McNally wrote "Jay Hoggard's artistry has a universal quality, an intellectual and emotional resiliency that makes it seem very much at home when creating something new and fresh in every genre, from the roots of African music to the outer reaches of the blues. He is not just one of the premier voices on vibraphone, but also one of the top-seeded instrumentalists and composers of the jazz world today."

Mr. Hoggard’s music has touched the hearts and souls of listeners around the world for over thirty years. He has performed in special concert collaborations with vibraphone masters Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson, Tito Puente, and Bobby Hutcherson. He has recorded and toured with creative artists such as Kenny Burrell, Dr. Billy Taylor, Max Roach, James Newton, Hilton Ruiz, Oliver Lake, Bennie Maupin, Sam Rivers, Jorge Dalto, Terumasa Hino, Dwight Andrews, Geri Allen, Anthony Davis, Henry Threadgill, Vishnu Wood, Chico Freeman, Muhal Richard Abrams, Sherry Winston, and Ahmed Abdullah; and was a guest artist with the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band. He has accompanied singers, instrumentalists, and poets; and has performed with gospel, theater, dance, percussion, and orchestral ensembles.

Mr. Hoggard has performed in many of the finest venues throughout the United States, Africa, Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and Asia. He has performed in major venues such as the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Schomberg Center; jazz festivals including St. Lucia, JVC, Montreux, Mt.Fuji, Pori, Hartford, and New Haven; and colleges, universities, churches, galleries, libraries, and clubs around the globe. He has been featured on NPR and Pacifica Radio. National and international television appearances include ABC Times Square, CBS Sunday Morning, and BETJazz. He also led a quintet on an extensive tour sponsored by the United States government to North Africa, the Middle East and India.

Jay Hoggard has been honored and commissioned as a composer in various contexts. Jay was commissioned by Wesleyan University to compose "Joyful Swamp" and "Crossing Point" for Max Roach and percussion ensemble, and “Vibarimbala" for symphonic and jazz orchestras. In 2009, Mr. Hoggard was commissioned by dance troupe Sankofa Kuumba and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra to write "The Other Side of the Ocean" and "Let Me Make It Clear." Previously, he collaborated with choreographer Cleo Parker Robinson by composing "The Wisdom of the Baobob Tree," commissioned by Lincoln Center Out of Doors. And he was commissioned by the Hartford Festival of Jazz to compose "La Tierra Hermosa," dedicated to Tito Puente.

About Lois Brown
Lois Brown is the Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor at Wesleyan University, where she teaches in the English Department, chairs the African American Studies Program, and is Director of the Center for African American Studies. Her teaching, research, and scholarship focus on African American and New England literary history and culture, 18th and 19th century African American memory, as well as the politics of identity, faith, and privilege in colonial and antebellum America. Her courses are informed by her belief in the transformational power of purposeful and empowered thinking, writing, and speaking.

Professor Brown’s most recent scholarly work, "Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins: Black Daughter of the Revolution" (UNC Press, 2008), is a literary biography of the pioneering New England writer, dramatist, performer, and journalist.  In addition to essays on American and African American literary history and culture, she also has published an encyclopedia on the literary Harlem Renaissance. She edited the first modern edition of an 1835 work entitled "Memoir of James Jackson, The Attentive and Obedient Scholar Aged Six Years and Eleven Months" by Susan Paul (Harvard UP, 2000), which is the earliest known work of African American biography and the first published prose narrative by an African American woman. One of her current book projects is a biography of Bostonian Nancy Prince, whose pioneering 1850s travel narratives documented her sojourns in Russia and the West Indies and were the first such narratives written by an African American. In addition, she also is at work on a book on William Lloyd Garrison and emancipatory feminism,  and is crafting a modern edition of the history of the African American community in Concord, Massachusetts.

Professor Brown’s passion for African American history, women’s history and writing, and public history has led to several opportunities to curate and to collaborate on exhibitions with the Museum of African-American History in Boston and the Boston Public Library.  She became a board member of Connecticut Humanities Council in fall 2014.  She has been a board member of Massachusetts Humanities Council and chaired its Grants Committee, and also is enjoying her second appointment to the Board of Trustees of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.  Currently, she is a member of the Advisory Board of the Drinking Gourd Project, and is President of the Board of Women’s Voices Worldwide, Inc.  

Lois Brown has held fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, and Harvard University. The Museum of Afro-American History in Boston recognized her with one of its first African American History Awards, and lauded her for her “extraordinary commitment to American history” and her “obvious commitment to education and equality.”

About L'Merchie Frazier
Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Policy L’Merchie Frazier is a visual and performance artist, educator, and consultant. She is a native of Jacksonville, Florida now based in Boston. A mother of two sons and one daughter, Ms. Frazier has been active in the New England community for over twenty years. As a visual artist, she is best known for her highly skilled hand-crafted beaded jewelry, fiber, and metal sculptures, and mixed-media installations and quilt series, the “Quilted Chronicles”.

Ms. Frazier attended the City College of New York, the University of Hartford, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Currently she is Director of Education at the Museum of African-American History, Boston/Nantucket. She was formerly Education Director of Arts Are Academic serving several Boston cultural institutions, including the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Huntington Theater, and the Boston Public Schools, promoting art literacy for students and teachers across disciplines. She has taught African American Art and Culture at the Boston Community Academy for at-risk students. She teaches courses in cultural diversity; is a principal teacher of visual and performance art for the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists; and a workshop instructor for the Fuller Museum of Art in Brockton, Massachusetts. Certified as an artist educator by the Kennedy Center Artists as Educators program, she is on the roster of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Directory for Events and Residences; served on the MCC Folk Arts Review Panel, and the First Night 2001 Review Panel. She has served as director of urban art camps in greater Boston. She was commissioned by Legacy Productions for PBS as Art Curator for "Black America Facing the Millennium." She was honored as a teacher for TPS Adult Literacy in Hartford, Connecticut. Ms. Frazier has recently lectured at the University of Costa Rica and Veritas in San Jose and Limon, Costa Rica.

Ms. Frazier was awarded the Francis X. Merritt/Mary B. Bishop Grant, and is a recipient of several fellowships including the Lila Wallace, Reader’s Digest, and Arts International artist-in-residence fellowship in Brazil. She received the “Best of Boston” poetry award (1999). She is a recipient of an artist residency in Tainan, Taiwan; is a commissioned muralist for the New England Aquarium; and a commissioned kinetic sculptor for Boston ParkArts (2000-2002). She has received a City of Boston Public Art Award; and the New England Foundation for the Arts Visible Republic Public Art commission in holography. Recently, she founded “Pearls for Peace” jewelry in silver and pearls to create a philanthropic women’s fund. She serves on the Board of Paige Academy, and is an artist/consultant for Southend Technology Center, MIT FabLab. She received the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Celebration of Education Service Award in Boston, Massachusetts (2011).

Ms. Frazier's work has appeared in several publications, including "Journey of Hope: Quilts Inspired by President Barack Obama;" and "Spirits of the Cloth" by Carolyn Mazloomi; "A History of Art in Africa" by Monica Visona; "In the Spirit of Martin" by Sorin and Shannon; "Threads of Faith" by Mazloomi and Pongracz; Fiberarts magazine, the International Review of African American Art, Art New England, the Encyclopedia of Black American Artists, "Textural Rhythms" by Carolyn Mazloomi, and "500 Beaded Objects" by Lark Publishers. She was a featured artist in the three-part cable television series "About the Arts," and has appeared on "City Line," PBS, and other media programs. She was featured in the "Museum of Fine Arts: Devens Lecture" series by Edmund Barry Gaither. She is represented in numerous private collections and the permanent collection of the University of Vermont, the American Museum of Art and Design, New York, and the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C. Exhibition sites internationally and nationally include the Museum of Afro-American History Boston; the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston; New England Quilt Museum; Museu Lasar Segall, Brazil; Ain Ping Harbor, Tainan, Taiwan; the American Craft Museum, New York; the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.; and the permanent collection of the White House.

About the Dance Department
The Dance Department at Wesleyan University is a contemporary program with a global perspective. The curriculum, faculty research, and pedagogy all center on the relationships between theory and practice, embodied learning, and the potential dance making has to be a catalyst for social change. Within that rigorous context, students encounter a diversity of approaches to making, practicing, and analyzing dance in an intimate learning atmosphere. The program embraces classical forms from ballet, Bharata Natyam, Javanese, and Ghanaian, to experimental practices that fuse tradition and experimentation into new, contemporary forms.

For more information about the Dance Department, please visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/dance.