Performing arts students across campus are starting rehearsals and preparing for a fall season full of events, performances and concerts. New music, fresh scripts and inventive choreography begin to test skills, and some students begin to fully realize that summer experiences will stay with them far beyond Labor Day. We caught up with a few students who spent their summer embracing passions and making art. Graduate dance students Andrea Alvarez and Amanda Clark Tanruther both spent time performing various works at the San Diego International Fringe Festival, along with dance faculty member Shannon Sterne. Tanruther says, “Taking works from Cleveland to perform on the West Coast gave us an opportunity to be ambassadors for dancers in the city and to give a glimpse of what is happening in our growing bailiwick.” For Alvarez, the trip provided an opportunity for personal growth. “I think the way I handle situations, including stress, is more productive. School just started and some of my professors and classmates have already told me that I dance, look, act, speak and portray myself differently compared to last year—in a more mature, confident, and positive manner,” she says. Both Alvarez and Tanruther will be performing in Department of Dance concerts this upcoming school year.
Theater undergrads Jason Sleisenger and Sara Bogomolny both attended the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts (RADA) through the CWRU Theater Department-RADA partnership in the spring and early summer. Jason spent the beginning of summer exploring England and Paris. Museum hopping, attending theater performances, studying the Beatles early life in Liverpool and attending the Paris Bread Festival provided Jason with new perspectives on a variety of artforms. He describes his experience of seeing The Drowned Man by Punch Drunk Theatre Company as an “environmental theater where audiences members walked throughout a warehouse and were observers to ongoing scenes by the actors portraying a corrupt Hollywood film studio.” He is already finding that his summer spent exploring parts of Europe has led to a deeper cultural understanding that will impact his class work. Bogomolny started her summer in similar fashion to Sleisenger and then spent the later part of the summer teaching and choreographing for Playmakers Performing Arts Camp at the Cleveland Jewish Community Center, She also performed as Judy in A Chorus Line at Chagrin Valley Little Theater. “A Chorus Line was my first foray into community theater and the longest I have ever run a particular production. With 13 performances spread over five weekends, I learned valuable lessons about how to keep a character and a show feeling fresh, enabling me to tell the story with the same energy and creative integrity each night,” she says. Bogomolny and Sleisenger will both appear in the Eldred Theater production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in November. Sleisenger can also be seen onstage in the October Eldred season opener, Waiting for Lefty.
Elena Mullens and Cynthia Black, music graduate students in the Historical Performance Program, also performed together this summer along with other students in the Case/CIM Baroque Orchestra at the Early Music America Young Performers Festival in Berkeley. Both women say the festival provides a unique experience to meet other young musicians who enjoy playing early music. “One of the highlights of participating in the Berkeley Early Music Festival is meeting students from early music programs at other schools who share the same passions as me. I loved attending their concerts and seeing what musical projects they had been working on to prepare for the festival,” Back says. Mullens adds, “It’s always especially fun to perform for a group with knowledge of the music that you’re performing, and to interact with other specialists in the field.” Both Mullens and Black will be performing this school year with the Case/CIM Baroque Orchestra and other early music ensembles. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for more student stories and to see the most current performing arts news from Case Western Reserve University.