Category Archives: Theater

Radical Democracy and Humanism: Intersections Between Performance and Action (2/9 – 2/27)

_DSC5655Swarthmore College (Departments of Music and Dance, Black Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, Theatre, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility) and the William J. Cooper Foundation present a three-week performance residency RADICAL DEMOCRACY AND HUMANISM: INTERSECTIONS BETWEEN PERFORMANCE AND ACTION. Conceived by Professor Sharon Friedler and led by Swarthmore graduate Kate Speer ‘08, the residency centers around engagements with David Dorfman Dance (DDD), a leading American modern dance company known for politically relevant works centered on community responsibility. From February 9 to February 27, 2015, workshops, classes and lectures will address a spectrum of positions and assumptions regarding intersecting issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, politics and the environment. The central performance, David Dorfman’s PROPHETS OF FUNK, for this residency will take place on Friday, February 20, 2015 at 8PM in the Lang Performing Arts Center.

Participating facilitators for the residency include the following scholars and artists: Kate Speer ‘08, who has written and delivered papers on Dorfman’s dances, creative processes, and their connection to radical democracy, Teya Sepinuck, the founder and director of the Theater of Witness model of performance, David Kyuman Kim, a Connecticut College scholar of race, religion, and public life and George Lakey, visiting professor, non-violence advocate and civil rights activist. In the lectures and workshops, selections of David Dorfman’s repertory works will be taught as aids in broadening individual performing range and exposure to these processes will provide a common basis for the study and discussion of different aspects of performance. Discussions will delve into multiple opinions and perspectives in order to encourage participants to begin dialoguing about the questions at stake, effectively employing democratic practices within the concert stage environment. The residency will seek to explore how Dorfman creates dance that de-stigmatizes the notion of accessibility and interaction in post-modern performance and how dance can add a positive challenge to engage audiences in action.

A schedule for these events is available on our home page: These events are free and open to the public without reservations, but space is limited for some of the smaller lectures and workshops. Please contact or 610-328-8260 for more information.

Susan Marshall & Company brings PLAY/PAUSE (2/14 @ 8PM)

Susan Marshall brings one of her new and exciting dance-theater pieces to Swarthmore this February.


LPAC Pearson-Hall Theater (Mainstage)

8PM, Friday, February 14, 2014
Free and Open to the Public

In an electric guitar-fueled evening of postmodern dance-theater, Susan Marshall couples her intimate, structured choreography with the seductiveness of pop culture to explore our complex relationship to the media we consume. This evening-length piece for six dancers features a commissioned score by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, performed live by members of electric guitar quartet Dither and Mantra Percussion. Play/Pause premiered in Chicago in September 2013.

Here’s a little preview:

The company will offer a Master Class with the dancers on Thursday 2/13 in the Troy Dance Lab at 4:30PM.

Need a campus job? Studio Art classes are looking for Models!

Prof. Logan Grider is looking for clothed student models to assist with life drawing and studio art classes.  Applications for the job are available in 306 of Beardsley Hall (Art Dept. Office) and in LPAC 004 (Dance Office).

General Info:

  • Models will be needed for studio art classes in the morning (8:30-11:10A) and afternoon (1:15-4P)
  • Most models will be scheduled to work one to two sessions a week and sessions will be scheduled in advance by the professor of the art class
  • Models are paid through Work Study
  • Models will be asked to pose in clothes for 30 minute blocks during scheduled class times.

For further questions and more information, contact Prof. Logan Grider in Beardsley Hall 215 (


5pm, Thursday May 2
Tarble in Clothier (upstairs space)

Come see a series of short pieces created by students in this
semester’s Movement Theatre Workshop.  The pieces will include mask
work, a melodrama, tragic chorus pieces and other original works of
physical theatre created by the students during the semester.  Should
last no more than an hour. –Professor Quinn Bauriedel

It’s Tamagawa Taiko time again!

Tamagawa 2013Truly one of the highlights of the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival – the Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance group return to Philadelphia for a week of awe-inspiring performances.  Ready yourself for thundering drums, intricate dances, beautiful costumes and a whole lot of fun.

Taiko drumming has been a feature of the College’s dance offeringsfor nearly a decade, thanks largely to the efforts of Associate Professor of Dance  Kim Arrow . This event showcases the significant relationship between the College and Tamagawa University in Japan.  The renowned Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance Group return to Philadelphia for a week of performances. Heart-pounding drum rhythms intermingle with elegant dances in breath-taking fashion to create unforgettable memories. Experience the relentless energy and stunning visuals as Tamagawa takes you on a journey through ancient and modern Japan.


Please note: seating is limited and first-come-first-serve.

Free Admission
Swarthmore College, Lang Concert Hall
500 College Ave.
Swarthmore, PA 19081


Bryn Mawr Arts Series featuring Sheetal Gandhi (Contemporary choreography from the Indian diaspora…)

Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series Closes 2012-2013 Season with Tour-De-Force Performance by Sheetal Gandhi on March 22

 Final performance caps season of virtuosic and adventurous works in the arts

BRYN MAWR, PA – February 27, 2013 – The 2012-2013 season of the Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series concludes Friday, March 22 with Bahu-Beti-Biwi, a solo performance by intercultural, multi-disciplinary director, choreographer and performer Sheetal Gandhi. Reviewed as “striking” and “stunning” in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gandhi incorporates elements of contemporary and traditional dance, dramatic multi-lingual vocalizations and percussive text to comment on the Indian diaspora and the traditional roles of women in India.

In Bahu-Beti-Biwi, which translates to Daughter-in-law, Daughter, Wife, movement and music create the transition between characters inspired by women from Gandhi’s life. The piece is influenced by North Indian musical traditions that are brought into a contemporary context. Humor and tension create a platform for scenes of freedom and compromise, desire and longing, duty and love. Gandhi has performed the work around the globe.

“Bryn Mawr, an all-women’s college, looks forward to presenting Sheetal Gandhi’s important take on the changing roles of women. Gandhi is a mesmerizing performer who both entertains and addresses challenging issues,” says Lisa Kraus, Coordinator of the Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series.

Thursday March 21
– 4-5:30 pm Master Class: Sheetal Ghandi (this is the time we traditionally use for this, as a class meets at this hour) – Pem Studio
Contemporary Kathak
class which specifically focuses on learning the rhythms and the rhythmic cycles used in North Indian classical music, some technique from this form, and then a short traditional piece.  I show them how I translate the piece into a more contemporary language, and they learn this as well.  It is a speaking/dancing class.  I do this most often with students coming from a dance background. The rhythms can be learned by anyone, but when we get into the real choreography of it, it is better if they have some dance background.

– 7pm Lecture-demonstration   Aspects of  Ms. Gandhi’s experience moving from traditional forms and developing into a multi-disciplinary artist who works in a variety of theatrical contexts (possibly including screening of video clips).

Friday, March 22

-12-1:30 – Lunch in the Dorothy Vernon Room at Bryn Mawr for students of South Asian Women’s club and anyone interested in an informal meeting and discussion

-8 pm Performance: Bahu Beti Biwi on McPherson Stage

Saturday March 23

-10:30 -12:00 am Community Class in Bollywood Dance (children and adults) – on McPherson Stage

Burn off steam in the contagiously fun fusion style of dance that is called, “Bollywood Dance”.  Each class offers an injury-preventative warm-up of body isolations, integrated with stretching and preparatory technical exercises for Indian dance movement.  Participants will:
  • learn traditional Indian styles based on both folk and classical forms
  • learn important story-telling skills through dance
  • learn choreography to popular Bollywood and Bhangra songs

-12:30 – 2:30 pm Workshop: These Embodied Voices on McPherson Stage

This workshop is based on Liz Lerman techniques, exercises by Simone Forti, and Sheetal’s own artistic process as a multi-disciplinary story-teller.  The workshops focus on different ways of pairing text, song and sound with gesture to create meaningful and evocative, full-bodied stories. Participants work together and work alone to source material through improvisation, choreographic and theatrical structures, free-writing, research, and dialogue.  They may explore their cultural identities, histories, genders, and spiritual backgrounds as these subjects relate to the development of performance.


Bryn Mawr’s Campus is located at 101 N. Merion Ave.  Tickets to individual events in the Bryn Mawr Performing Arts Series are $20 for general admission, $18 for seniors, $10 for students with ID and Dance Pass holders, and $5 for children under 12. Tickets and more information are available online at or by calling 610-526-5210.



Sheetal Gandhi is a veteran performer whose career has spanned genres and disciplines for the last fifteen years. She worked as a creator and performer in Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion, played a leading role in the Broadway production of Bombay Dreams and is featured on the original American cast album of Stephen Schwartz’s Children of Eden.  Most recently, Gandhi was the choreographer for Los Angeles based Cornerstone Theater Company’s first-ever musical, Making Paradise: The West Hollywood Musical.  Gandhi is a 2011 recipient of the prestigious C.O.L.A. grant, awarded by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and a recent APPEX (Asian Pacific Performance Exchange) fellow, participating in a three week international artistic residency in Bali, Indonesia.  Gandhi’s solo and group work has been presented in theaters around the country including REDCAT (Los Angeles), Asia Society (New York), Mu Performing Arts (Minneapolis) and ODC Theater (San Francisco) as well as national and international Festivals including Black Magic Woman Theater Festival (Amsterdam), The National Asian American Theater Festival (New York), Bridges Choreographic Dialogs (Israel), Delhi International Arts Festival (India), Festival of Contemporary Dance (Mexico), and more.

Jane Comfort and Company 2/14-16/2013

The Department of Music and Dance at Swarthmore College and the William J. Cooper Foundation will present JANE COMFORT AND COMPANY on Friday, February 15th, 2013 at 8PM in the Swarthmore College Lang Performing Arts Center Pearson Hall Theatre. Here at Swarthmore her company presents two works:  Beauty and Underground River.  Beauty is a provocative dance theater piece that explores the American notion of female beauty through the lens of Barbie. The performance includes a Barbie beauty contest and an intimate encounter between Barbie and Ken. Underground River, described as a “risk-taking and profound theatrical tour de force,” is an exploration of the rich fantasy life of a girl who appears to be unconscious. Singing a cappella songs by Toshi Reagon and interacting with the magical visual creations of master puppeteer Basil Twist, the dancers dwell in a world of magic realism and eccentric beauty unseen by those who wish to make her “well.”

For the last 25 years, JANE COMFORT has created critically acclaimed, socially conscious dance theater. She has been on the front lines of dissent against the loss of gains for social justice since the Reagan revolution. JANE COMFORT is a choreographer, writer, and director based in New York City. She began creating her own interdisciplinary work in 1978, and has since created more than 45 original dance theatre works for Jane Comfort and Company. She has been produced throughout the United States, and in Europe and Latin America, and has been cited as “one of the most original choreographers on the downtown scene” by The Village Voice. Noted for her use of language, Comfort has been described as “far ahead of the curve” in experimenting with the intersection of text and movement.

JANE COMFORT AND COMPANY creates dance theater works that push the intersection of movement and language to a new form of theater. Called by the New York Times “a postmodernist pioneer in the use of verbal material in dance,” artistic director Jane Comfort addresses contemporary social and cultural issues with compassion and wit. The company is an extraordinary group of dancers, actors and singers whose multiple talents allow Jane Comfort to create deeply layered works utilizing a wide range of theatrical elements, from pure dance to chanted texts, a capella singing, film, lip-syncing, cross dressing, acted scenes and puppetry. The company creates theater in which transformation occurs through many voices.

JANE COMFORT AND COMPANY will also host a Master Class in the LPAC Troy Dance Studio (LPAC 002) on Thursday, February 14th from 4:30 – 6:00PM and a Workshop on Saturday, February 16th from 1:00 – 4:00 PM in the LPAC Troy Dance Studio (LPAC 002). These events are free and open to interested students, but please contact Professor Kim Arrow ( at x8670 or email our administrative office at

Congratulations class of 2012!

And best wishes as you venture forth into the world outside of Swarthmore and the beyonds.

Looking forward to hearing more about your future endeavors.
–The faculty and staff of LPAC, the Dance Program, and the Department of Theater

The Phoenix Notes Swarthmore Alumni in the 2011 Fringe Festival!

Swarthmore alums are well represented in the Fringe including Pig Iron Theatre Company (Dito van Reigersberg and Quinn Baureidel ’94 and Dan Rothenberg’95) and Tangle, a circus arts company founded by Lauren Rile Smith ’08.