Sarabande Open Dance Class back after cancellation
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 07:10
Sarabande’s Open Dance Class has been reinstated after its initial discontinuation by the new Director of Dance Renata Celichowska last month.
The weekly class is taught by members of the student dance ensemble Sarabande and open to all Tufts students interested in learning modern dance.
The cancellation was due to a miscommunication with Celichowska, who expressed legal, safety and insurance concerns.
Although the Department of Drama and Dance has no direct jurisdiction over Sarabande, the group must meet with the department each semester to reserve time in the Jackson Dance Lab for the classes.
In early September, Sarabande was informed that they would not be allowed to use the space in Jackson for the Open Dance Class, according to Sarabande President Kathryn Eckert, a senior.
Celichowska then notified Sarabande via email on Sept. 28 that Open Dance Class could return as long as it was restricted to currently registered Tufts students, after discussing her concerns about Tufts’ liability for student injuries with Director of the Office for Campus Life Joseph Golia.
Sarabande last Sunday held its first Open Dance Class of the semester, attended by seven students, coordinator of the classes Yessenia Rivas, a junior, said.
Sarabande had hoped to have Open Dance Class participants perform in the group’s semester shows on Nov. 15 and 17, but the month-long halt on the class has prevented those plans from moving forward, Rivas said.
The group expects to be able to have participants perform in the spring semester show, she added.
Spirit of Color’s (SoC) Open Class was unaffected by the policy, according to Rivas, who also performs with that student dance troupe. Rivas believes that Celichowska, who is in her second month at Tufts, was unaware of SoC’s program.
“We were a little confused as to why we were getting singled out ... for something that we thought was benefiting the Tufts community,” Eckert said.
Celichowska said Sarabande is now free to arrange dance classes at its discretion.
“We don’t have anything to do with it,” she said. “My concern is that everyone in the dance studio is safe.”
Celichowska has also cut a master ballet class popular with Sarabande members. For the last two years, the Dance Department has subsidized six non-academic classes taught on campus by local ballet instructor Dean Vollick at the request of Tufts students involved in both the Dance Department and Sarabande.
Special Topics: Advanced Ballet will instead be offered by the Dance Department during the spring semester.
Rivas believes the cancellation of Open Dance Class was partially due to confusion surrounding Vollick’s master ballet classes.
“Even when she was talking to us, we could tell she didn’t quite understand the difference between the advanced ballet class and the open classes,” Rivas said.
Since many of Sarabande’s dancers were trained in technique during high school, they benefited from ongoing professional instruction, which was particularly convenient on campus, according to Rivas and Eckert.
Eckert said Sarabande members have been attending drop-in classes at the Dance Complex in Cambridge this semester, but transportation and participation fees present obstacles to group members.
“We’re not really equipped to giving ourselves the technical critiquing that we look for when dancing, and so I think it was that component that we’re missing this semester,” Eckert said.
Both Celichowska and Eckert expressed interest in improving the relationship and communication between student dance groups and the Dance Department.
“We feel like things were a little on-edge between Sarabande and the Dance Department during certain points of our Tufts career and want to foster a positive relationship between the two for the future,” Eckert said. “In the end, we’re just really happy that [the Open Class] is back.”