Category Archives: Dance

Feeling in the dark? Take Lighting Design!

If you look around, lighting adds impact to our visual world in movies, television architecture, interior design, special events, and so much more! This class is intended to demystify light as a powerful medium in design and familiarize students with design fundamentals. The course objective introduces lighting concepts with a focus on lighting for theater and dance, but the skills are applicable to many areas and other majors. This hands-on class guides you artistically through the design process from start to finish. The course is designed to serve all students regardless of prior experience in theater production.
Fulfills a general requirement for all theater majors and minors.
Humanities. Register for THEA 004B.

Class meets Mondays 1PM – 3:45PM LPAC 310 Discussion followed by hands-on lab from 4:15PM -6:15PM with James Murphy, Managing Director of the LPAC.
1 credit.
Catalog chapter: Theater
Department website:

Contact Jean Tierno ( or Jim Murphy ( for more info!

Acting and Martial Dance in Peking Opera with M’me Li Shuyuan (10/24 at 4PM)

Workshop: Acting and Martial Dance in Peking Opera

Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Time: 4-6pm
Location: LPAC Frear Ensemble Theater (Lower lobby black box theater)

Let us know if you are coming! Please fill in the information below by
Thursday, October 13. Follow the link below to register.
Are you interested in participating in a master class on acting and martial
dance in Peking opera with Madame Li Shuyuan? This class is open to all
students and faculty members with or without Chinese language but has a
limit of twelve participants.
Meet the Master:
Born in a family with a long tradition of acting in martial roles, Madame
Li had been China’s top-ranked martial female role and enjoyed over forty
years of stage life before coming to America. Since 1999, she has been the
artistic director of the Philadelphia Chinese Opera Society and has
performed in Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Mann Center for the
Performing Arts, Lang Performing Arts Center and Wilma Theater.

AUDITIONS: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Fall 2017
produced by the Theatre Department
in collaboration with the Music and Dance Department


**Casting 8 singing roles and 1 non-singing role**

Monday, Sept 4, 7-10:30pm
Tuesday, Sept 5, 7-10:30pm

The Kuharksi Studio, rear entrance of The Matchbox



In Fall 2017, Swarthmore’s Theatre Department will be working on a production of the Broadway hit The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The show will be presented as part of the Theatre Department Course “Production Ensemble” (THEA 22), which is designed to provide students the opportunity to work with professional theatre artists in the creation of a fully-designed and rendered production. Students cast in the show will have to enroll in THEA 22.


Winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor.

An eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, they spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! At least the losers get a juice box.


We’ll be auditioning actors for all roles, including the non-speaking role.
If you’re interested in auditioning for this production:

Please sign up for an audition slot by filling out the online sign-up form which can be found here: Walk-up auditions are possible, but those who have signed-up will have first priority.

For the audition, we’ll ask you to do two things: sing and to tell us a story.

• For the song: please prepare 32-bars of a song from a musical or a contemporary pop song. Please bring sheet music in the correct key, an accompanist will be provided. If you’d like to sing a capella, that’s okay, though an accompanied song is preferred. It is perfectly acceptable to sing music from SPELLING BEE, but please still bring a copy of the music. • For the story: Tell us a 1-2 minute story about yourself, something you find funny, sad, or moving. We’re using this opportunity to meet you and get to know you a little bit.

• If you’re auditioning for the non-singing role, you will be asked to ONLY tell us a story; you will not be required to sing.

• If you don’t know the show, take a listen to the soundtrack to get a sense of the show’s style, humor, and music.

Select students will be invited to a Callback Session on either Wed, Sept 6 (7-10:30pm) or Thurs, Nov 7 (4-10pm).

Callbacks will be posted late on Tuesday, Sept 5th. Casting will be announced the morning of Friday, Sept 8th.

• All cast performers are required to sign up for THEA 22 and be available for all rehearsals, which occur on:
Sundays 12-6pm
Tuesdays 7:30-10:30pm
Thursday 4:10-7:30pm

• You may be asked to schedule time with the production’s vocal coach outside of rehearsal times, though we will set this around your existing schedule.

• Cast members will also need to be available for all technical rehearsals:
Friday, Nov 3 – 6-10pm
Saturday, Nov 4 – 10am-10pm
Sunday, Nov 5 – 10am-10pm
Monday, Nov 6 – 6-10pm
Tuesday, Nov 7 – 6-10pm
Wednesday, Nov 8 – 6-10pm
Thursday, Nov 9 – 6-10pm

• Performances will be on:
Friday, Nov 10, 8pm
Saturday, Nov 11, 2 and 8pm
Sunday, Nov 12, 2pm

• After Nov 12th, your scheduled work for this class will be complete. There are no additional class meetings (though there will be one reflection paper due).

6) Got any questions? Email Professor Alex Torra,

(Cast actors will play additional small roles not listed below)


Olive Ostrovsky: Mezzo-Soprano. A young newcomer to competitive spelling. Her mother is in an ashram in India, and her father is working late, as usual, but he is trying to come sometime during the bee. She made friends with her dictionary at a very young age, helping her to make it to the competition.

William Morris Barfée: Tenor. A Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year, he was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts. His famous “Magic Foot” method of spelling has boosted him to spelling glory, even though he only has one working nostril and a touchy personality. He has an often-mispronounced last name: it is Bar-FAY, not BARF-ee (“there’s an accent aigu, he explains with some hostility). He develops a crush on Olive.

Logainne “Schwarzy” SchwartzandGrubenierre: Mezzo-Soprano. Logainne is the youngest and most politically aware speller, often making comments about current political figures, with two overbearing gay fathers pushing her to win at any cost. She is somewhat of a neat freak, speaks with a lisp, and knows she’ll return to the bee next year.

Marcy Park: Mezzo-Soprano. A recent transfer from Virginia, Marcy placed ninth in last year’s nationals. She speaks six languages, is a member of all-American hockey, a championship rugby player, plays Chopin and Mozart on multiple instruments, sleeps only three hours a night, and is getting very tired of always winning. She is a total over-achiever, and attends a Catholic school called “Our Lady of Intermittent Sorrows.” She is also not allowed to cry.

Leaf Coneybear: Tenor. A homeschooler and the second runner-up in his district. Leaf comes from a large family of former hippies and makes his own clothes. He spells words correctly while in a trance. In his song, “I’m Not That Smart”, he sings that his family thinks he is “not that smart,” but he insinuates that he is merely easily distracted.

Charlito “Chip” Tolentino: Tenor. A Boy Scout and champion of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, he returns to defend his title. Relatively social and athletic, as he plays little league, Chip expects things to come easily but he finds puberty hitting at an inopportune moment.


Rona Lisa Peretti: Mezzo-Soprano. The number-one realtor in Putnam County, a former Putnam County Spelling Bee Champion herself, and returning moderator. She is a sweet woman who loves children, but she can be very stern when it comes to dealing with Vice Principal Panch, who has feelings for her that she most likely does not return. Ms. Peretti herself won the Third Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by spelling the word “syzygy”.

Vice Principal Douglas Panch: Non-singing Role. After five years’ absence from the Bee, Panch returns as judge. There was an “incident” at the Twentieth Annual Bee, but he claims to be in “a better place” now (or so we think), thanks to a high-fiber diet and Jungian analysis. He is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, but she does not return his affections.

Mitch Mahoney: Tenor. The Official Comfort Counselor. An ex-convict, Mitch is performing his community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students

GREAT PIECE OF TURF (Sound Design THEA 014E) by Anna Marfleet ’19

albumforwebListen up!

The Department of Theater presents an Independent Study in Sound Design (THEA 014E) by Anna Marfleet ’19, GREAT PIECE OF TURF (OR, KING OF THE KITCHEN), a multimedia concept album.

GREAT PIECE OF TURF (OR, KING OF THE KITCHEN) follows the life of Joel, an excellent cook, gifted gardener, avid CCR fan, and infamous host, and his unfortunate relationship with his father. Composed of half original songs and half non-musical ambient auditory “scenes” (as well as a booklet of visual accompaniments) this project gives us a window into both Joel’s childhood in the rural south touring with a youth choir, and his old age in an extravagant yet quickly crumbling country house in upstate New York.

Album Release Date: 12/13/16

Design class opportunities are not just for Theater majors!

Looking for a break from writing papers?  Interested in learning more about lighting? The Lighting Design class is now open and available to all!

In this hands on class you will learn the hows and whys to help you design lights for theater, dance, art, or music events. This knowledge is also useful for gallery installation, architecture, engineering and fashion! Your enrollment can lead to design opportunities and steady employment on campus with the LPAC, Olde Club, and beyond.

Meets Mondays 1:00PM – 6:15PM (break halfway through class for coffee).
Email, or enroll in THEA 004B.

Are you missing some basic skills of drafting and architectural model making? Want to make exciting interior and exterior spaces?

Explore scenery design from concept to production and how it relates to other elements in performance spaces and beyond. A lab component of this class will include an introduction to computer drafting, model making and additional information about materials used for basic construction. The course is designed to serve all students regardless of prior experience in theater production.

Meets Mondays 4:15PM – 6:15PM and Wednesdays 1:00PM – 3:45PM! NO PREREQUISITES! Fulfills a general requirement for all theater majors and minors.
Enroll in THEA 004A or email Prof. Saunders at for details.

If you are looking for a broad spectrum class in design processes, look no further! This course offers an introduction to creative aspects of designing scenery, costumes, lighting, and sound for theater and performance with emphasis on the correlation of text, imagination, and space. In a collaborative classroom setting, the students will have the opportunity to explore individual ideas and transform these into a design that is cohesive and relevant to a production. The lab component of the course will provide a broad introduction to the technical aspects of theater production. No prior performance experience necessary!

Meets Thursdays 4:15PM – 6:15PM and 7:15PM – 9:45PM.
NO PREREQUISITES! Fulfills a general requirement for all theater majors and minors.
Enroll in THEA 003 or email for more info.

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.