Displaying items by tag: COVID19

Welcome to Fall 2020 at the University of Utah College of Fine Arts! 

It's a whole new world for all of us. Throughout the summer, the College of Fine Arts worked tirelessly to prepare for the safe return of our students, faculty and staff.  Determined that COVID-19 cannot stop education, our college has come together in unprecedented collaboration to establish safety guidelines that will best protect the safety of our community while still allowing for a rigorous environment in which to study and pursue the arts. 

Each academic unit in the College of Fine Arts has created customized webpages where students can find crucial updates, guidelines and advice. These pages will be regularly updated as the semester progresses. They are the best place to start with questions related to coronavirus, remote and hybrid learning, performances, and more. 

The University of Utah also regularly updates their Return to Campus page. All CFA guidelines are led by University-wide policies and procedures, so familiarize yourself with this important resource as well.  

Return to Campus: University of Utah

Department of Art & Art History 

School of Dance 

Department of Film & Media Arts

School of Music

Department of Theatre

Published in Finer Points Blog

2020 continues to keep us all on our toes — with things changing rapidly as the public health situation evolves in our community. The University of Utah and College of Fine Arts continue to work tirelessly to plan the fall semester with safety as a top priority, and while things will look different, our commitment to the student experience is central and will not waver.

We know there is still a lot to be determined, and many of us are standing by for concrete answers and more specifics.

But here is the good news — we have identified several ways you can take action today to start to set yourself up for a rewarding year.  


Here are 7 things to do right now:  

1. Plan to Register

As you may know from the University’s Return to Campus plan, Fall 2020 classes will be conducted with a hybrid in-person and online approach. 

Plan to register for your classes now! If you are a continuing CFA student and have not already registered for Fall, we encourage you follow the directions that the University Registrar’s Office has sent to students to ensure you will be ready to complete your registration as soon as the system opens up (anticipated date: July 1, 2020). 

If you are already registered for classes, the University’s Registrar’s Office will encourage to check your schedule on or around July 1 to make sure you are aware of any scheduling changes that happened in the process.   

With things still taking shape, please also keep your eye on your Umail for any updates.

2. Create Success

Navigate on over to createsuccess.utah.edu which is packed with tips, links and resources for students to help them succeed in the CFA. This handy site provides you with the information to plan what to do early and what to do often. Now is the perfect time to get your calendar all lined up with your to-dos, setting yourself up for a great Fall 2020 and beyond. 

3. Lean on CFA’s Advisors

Not sure what classes to take or how to start creating success for yourself? CFA Academic Advisors are here to help you navigate the university so you can meet your academic goals. They are excellent problem solvers. They can help know what classes to take, discuss University policies and procedures, explore other campus opportunities, and connect you to campus resources.    

From Create Success, you can book an advising appointment with a CFA Academic Advisor. Don’t wait to get to know these wonderful student advocates!  

4. Join ArtsForce and explore its many resources

CFA students who have joined ArtsForce have access to important information about how to effectively articulate the knowledge and skills they are gaining in their arts degrees to those in and out of the arts. 

The ArtsForce canvas community has a ton of resources: advice from working professionals, how to prepare for internships, effective networking strategies, and ways to maximize your professional development. ArtsForce regularly announces professional development and internship opportunities (even now, as many positions have moved online).

Use time now to read through this information and make a plan to start your career in the arts today. If you aren’t already, join ArtsForce now.  

5. Join ProjectThriveCFA

Right after the COVID-19 pandemic hit our community, we started #ProjectThriveCFA to keep our students, faculty and staff connected from afar. This summer, we are continuing #ProjectThriveCFA on Instagram!  You can follow along to see how our community is deepening their practices, continuing to learn from a distance, and staying connected to their creativity during this time of continued uncertainty.  While much is unknown, we truly believe not just in the value of, but the need for art in trying times. 

So, use #ProjectThriveCFA and tag @uofufinearts on Instagram to be featured, and follow along to see how art persists.

6. Incoming student? Take a virtual campus tour!

University of Utah student ambassadors have put together a virtual campus tour on YouTube, walking you through the U’s most beloved spaces. Take the tour and get a bit more oriented before the fall begins.

If you have other orientation questions, visit https://orientation.utah.edu/orientation/first-year-fall-semester.php  

7. Get updates fast: Follow the CFA

Follow! Follow! Follow! Our social media channels will help you stay up to date with all the latest information both as we prepare to reopen campus and throughout the academic year. The CFA shares information from the university and across our five units. For more detailed curricular and programming info, check with your specific academic area.

College of Fine Arts
@uofufinearts | UofUFineArts  

Department of Art & Art History
@uofu_art | UtahArtArtHistory

School of Dance

Department of Film & Media Arts
@uofufandmad | UofUFandMAD

School of Music
@uofumusic | UofUMusic 

Department of Theatre
@uofutheatre | @UofUTheatre

Arts Pass

Published in Finer Points Blog

By Kerri Hopkins

Even a global pandemic cannot stop the arts from reaching across divides.

When schools closed down in mid-March, we had to find a way to continue to connect with local youth through the arts. University of Utah ArtsBridge projects typically happen within schools, working directly with kids and classroom teachers. Following suit with other educators who took their classes online, we began filming instructional art videos for the new ArtsBridge Art Challenge.

Knowing that kids may not have many art materials at home, our activities use the simplest of materials; paper, pencils, and random found objects. Often at ArtsBridge, we work to support other academic subject. But for our online initiative, we simplified. Our goal was clear: provide an opportunity for creative expression and allow students to have some fun. To create further connection, our activities were appropriate across grade levels so they could be completed by different aged siblings in the same household.  

Four ArtsBridge scholars pretty flawlessly stepped into the role of remote educators to bring 20 (and counting!) free art lessons to any student who can access the internet.  

When our group was featured in a conversation on KRCL’s RadioActive back in April, the students had the chance to talk about their experience.  Here’s what they had to say:   

“This project has challenged me as an educator, as I thrive on face-to-face interaction with participants. I’ve developed skills such as designing resourceful lesson plans that can be done at home, recording lectures, and being creative with technology. I have also become more innovative and adaptable, which is vital in both art and education. Overall, this project has provided an opportunity for both young participants and educators to develop their creativity.” AB ArtChallenge
-Sydney Williams, Art Teaching BFA graduate 2020  

“Making art videos like these seems like it might be how we reach our students in the future. I hope that this doesn't become a permanent teaching tool because there is a beauty in communicating and using art as a relationship builder. However, learning how to operate this way and getting familiar with being in front of a camera can be a great tool for the future.”   
-Tiara Cook, Art Teaching BFA alum, current graduate student in the College of Education

“I would do more stuff like this. It’s helped me to brush up on my skills with video editing and animation, which is the kind of work I want to do anyways. And it’s fun!" 
-LeAnne Hodges, Film & Media Arts-Animation BA graduate 2020

“It is a lot of fun!  It makes me think about teaching a lot differently and making sure things are clear because these are lasting resources and the students are not right there to ask me questions if they’re confused. So, it makes me think about teaching and lesson planning differently. I think the whole world is learning skills about working remotely that I think we’re going to carry with us forever.”  
-Laurie Larson, Film & Media Arts-Animation major, Sculpture minor


As we continue to create and promote online lessons, the digital divide in our community is always forefront in our minds. Since many students we would normally serve may not have access to videos, we have other plans underway. University Neighborhood Partners is currently reimagining their west side Partners in the Park program and we are planning to create art activity kits that can be distributed at socially distanced events in June and July. We’re also working with other summer partners like the PATHS program to provide arts in a new way this year. 

 As we look ahead to next school year, we’re ready to continue to adapt and find ways to bring the joy of the arts to kids. After all, we believe in the arts -- in good times, and especially in the face of new challenges.

Author Kerri Hopkins is the Director of ArtsBridge at the University of Utah.

Published in Finer Points Blog

By Marina Gomberg 

When you study at University of Utah College of Fine Arts, you’re not just introduced to some of the finest faculty members on the planet. You oftentimes also get to enjoy the benefits of those faculty members’ vast and esteemed networks, too.   

This was the case with the graduating seniors in the University of Utah Department of Theatre’s Actor Training Program (ATP), who got to have one final guest artist experience with assistant professor, Rob Scott Smith’s graduate school buddy — oh, and Emmy and Golden Globe winner — Jim Parsons

Smith wanted to provide something really special to the ATP students who are graduating during this global pandemic, and a visit with Parsons was his Big Bang Theory (har har), especially because the two of them had their own experience graduating during a particularly challenging time. 


“I think the thickest common thread of our experience to this experience is that it forces you to realize your commitment to what it is you want,” Parsons said, as he reflected on how the world’s uncertainty made him surer of his own drive and passion as an artist. 


“We finished our graduate work from the University of San Diego after 9/11,” Smith noted. “So, I thought the students might uniquely benefit from hearing how he faced life after school in what felt like a pretty uncertain world.” 

In an intimate and invite-only Zoom meeting, Smith and Parsons bantered back and forth about their time together in school, and Smith posed questions to Parsons from the personal to the professional.  

“I think the thickest common thread of our experience to this experience is that it forces you to realize your commitment to what it is you want,” Parsons said, as he reflected on how the world’s uncertainty made him surer of his own drive and passion as an artist. 

The two spoke about life in quarantine, protecting art in the dollar-driven business of artmaking, Parson’s work producing the series “Special,” and his works on Broadway, navigating between playing to a camera versus a live audience, the value of being prepared, and handing life when it all feels like trial by fire. 

He opened up genuinely about his own personal writing practices, the discovery of his aversion to the business side of the work, and how he overcomes his own doubts and fears.  

“I do think that’s a big part of it, is to understand that fear and uncertainty are the companions — they’re always in the side car. And when you quit fighting them — for me at least — they become smaller, for lack of engaging with them as much. But they also offer their own excitement and mystery, and you learn, sometimes, to let that be the joy.” 

After about 45 minutes of what felt like watching two longtime friends catch up in their living room (which even included the recipe for Parsons’ apparently famous Velveeta chip dip), Smith opened the session to student questions, which ranged from the more pragmatic and tactical to philosophical and lofty. Each of the questions, though, was paired with profuse gratitude for the opportunity to hear from Parsons and pick his brain. 

It was a big bang, indeed. 

Parsons sent one final thought after the call for Smith to share with the students: "YOU ARE ENOUGH. I think it’s THE most CRUCIAL information I ever received and it means something new and deeper to me with each passing year but, as an actor, I HIGHLY advise saying it to yourself as often as you can remember to do so and until you believe it!"

Published in Finer Points Blog

Music is known for bringing people together, in unprecedented times like these it’s important to remember what bonds us.

Which is why the University of Utah School of Music is celebrating the end of the year with the first of its kind, virtual Student Showcase—celebrating the class of 2020 as well as connecting with our music community. 

At the School of Music, students are constantly practicing and performing in ensembles. But this year those performance opportunities were cut short. The 2020 Student Showcase is an effort to highlight their hard work and celebrate their achievements. Each area will feature pieces reviewed and selected by faculty, for one night of home, yet high quality student performances. 

music showcase

Join the Facebook Watch party! 
Saturday, May 2 at 5 p.m. 

(If you can't make it, the video of the performance will be uploaded on School of Music’s YouTube page.) 

Published in Finer Points Blog

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2020! 

Your journey to this moment was herculean even before the pandemic, and that you made it to the finish line in spite of this life-changing reality makes you our heroes.
So, don your capes, turn up your volume, and enjoy this special graduation address from Dean John W. Scheib.  

Below it, you’ll find even more to celebrate, including a list of our students who are graduating with honors degrees, acknowledgement of our retiring and emeritus faculty members, and announcement of our esteemed Faculty and Staff Excellence Award recipients and a University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award.

To each and every one of you: thank you for all you bring to the University of Utah College of Fine Arts. And congratulations to our graduates!

Honors degrees 

The Honors College is celebrating another record-breaking academic year in terms of number of students graduating with an Honors Bachelor degree. Below are the College of Fine Arts students receiving honors degrees who contributed to the overall success:

Abigail Bowe

Department of Film & Media Arts
Tehua Clark

Department of Film & Media Arts
Morgan Cox

Department of Film & Media Arts, Entertainment Arts & Engineering 
Tony Elison
School of Music
Roxanne Fitzwilliam

Department of Film & Media Arts 

Erin Jackson
Department of Art & Art History
Sydney Porter Williams
Department of Art & Art History
Severin Sargent-Catterton
School of Dance
Michal Tvrdik
School of Music
Bryce Wallace

Department of Film & Media Arts, Entertainment Arts & Engineering 

Retiring and Emeritus Faculty

Ellen Bromberg
School of Dance

Distinguished Professor Ellen Bromberg is a choreographer, filmmaker, mediadesigner, curator and educator. A former dancer and choreographer with Utah’s Repertory Dance Theater, she has received numerous awards for her work including a Guggenheim Fellowship, three Bay Area Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, a Bonnie Bird American Choreographer Award, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the George Soros Foundation, among others. She has also been honored with a Pew National Dance/Media Fellowship, a UC Berkeley Townsend Humanities Fellowship, and two UC Davis Granada Artist-in-Residence Awards. Ellen’s screen works havebeen presented on public television stations, online channels, and at numerous national and international dance film festivals including Lincoln Center’s Dance on Camera Festival,Cinedans Amsterdam, VideoDanza, Buenos Aires, and Dance Camera West, Los Angeles, to name a few. Recent work focuses on the integration of media in performance and she has designed video for stage and installations in her own work and in collaboration with other choreographers including Della Davidson, Zvi Gotheiner, Pat Graney, Deborah Hay, Stephen Koester, Victoria Marks, Douglas Rosenberg, Doug Varone among others. Ellen is a recipient of a 2012 Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award and is the founding director of the Universityof Utah International Screendance Festival, which began in 1999. Ellen has also designed the first Graduate Certificate in Screendance, in collaboration with the Department of Film & Media Arts, which is now in its seventh year.

Kathy Pope
School of Music 

Professor Kathy Pope has been active musically in the Salt Lake area for many years as a teacher, clinician, adjudicator, and performer. Professor Pope was the Principal Clarinetist for Ballet West and also performed frequently with the Utah Symphony. She has played with the Opus Chamber Orchestra, Utah Chamber Artists, and has been a soloist with the Salt Lake Symphony. She is the National Clarinet Repertoire Consultant for the Music Teachers National Association. Her compact disc recordings, "From Bach to Gershwin," "Clarinet Kaleidoscope," and "A French Soirée" have all received critical acclaim. The American Record Guide cited her most recent CD, "A French Soirée," as “absolute perfection” and The Clarinet said, “this recording is very worthy of anyclarinetist’s library.” Ms. Pope has been very active in the International Clarinet Association including soloing at theconventions in Stockholm, Salt Lake City and Washington D.C. She was the conference coordinator for the 2003 Clarinet Association convention at the University of Utah. She has served as coordinator for the Orchestral Audition and High School Competitions, and is the Utah State Chair. Ms. Pope is an artist-clinician for both Buffet Crampon USA and Rico International.

Steve Roens

School of Music 

Dr. Steve Roens holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from Swarthmore College, a Master of Fine Arts degree in music theory and composition from Brandeis University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from Columbia University. He studied composition with Seymour Shifrin, Martin Boykan, Arthur Berger, Chou Wen-Chung, Jack Beeson, and Mario Davidovsky. He is the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Composers' Conference, and a former visiting assistant professor at Wellesley College. Roens's writing is freely atonal, rhythmically fluid, and spare. It has been called by one critic, neo-Webernian. Primarily for chamber groups of varying sizes and soloists, pieces have been commissioned by the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, the Nova Chamber Music Series, the Intermezzo Chamber Music Series, and pianists Jason Hardink, and Rebecca La Brecque. His music is published by the Association for the Promotion of New Music and is available on the Centaur label. As a teacher of composition, while his background and practice are informed by the literature of atonal music, Roens’s approach to teaching helps students find their own voices and originality in whatever direction their stylistic predilections evolve. In addition to teaching music theory andcomposition, during his 30 year career at the University of Utah Dr. Roens took on a variety of administrative positions, serving at different times as Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts, as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, as Director of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, and as Head of the School of Music Composition Area. Roens enjoyed dividing his time between teaching and his administrative duties and believes that these differenta ctivities can support each other in a variety of ways.He is also an avid photographer, amateur astronomer, and hiker.


CFA Faculty Excellence Awards 2020

Faculty Excellence in Research 

Jane Hatter
School of Music 

"Since her research transcends the field of Music and crosses over into Art and Culture, Dr. Hatter has an excellent record of engagement with scholars in the field of musicology as well as scholars in other research areas of Medieval and Renaissance Studies. In 2019 she presented her work at the Medieval-Renaissance Music Conference in Switzerland, the 25th Annual Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Medieval Association of the Pacific Joint Conference, and at an International Symposium at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.  In past years she also presented at conferences that are more broadly aimed at medieval and renaissance scholars, such as the conference of the Renaissance Society of America (in 2017 and 2018), and at the Medieval Association of the Pacific 50th Annual Conference (2016). She also has presented her work at important musicology conferences, such as the North American British Musical Studies Association (2018), and the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society (2018), which is the most prestigious U.S. annual meeting for musicologists."
- Faculty nominator 

Faculty Excellence in Teaching 

Carol Sogard 
Department of Art & Art History 

"Professor Sogard offers students a space to explore design in ways that they’ve yet been able to imagine, and helps them find the independence they need to become confident designers...Carol makes a point to teach her students that their work has an impact on the world around them. Her approach in the classroom is focused on connection and community building, and she makes a point to educate her students about important issues in or society, while also giving us the tools that allow us to use our design practice to create discussion and positive change. Her passion for sustainable design has been inspiring, and her efforts have helped my classmates and myself educate not only ourselves, but those around us."
Graphic Design student nominator 

Staff Excellence Award 

Penny Caywood
Artistic Director, University of Utah Youth Theatre 
Department of Theatre 

"Penny Caywood's years of service to the College of Fine Arts via her leadership of Youth Theatre at the U has inspired thousands of young people and families via the unique and robust educational programming and performance opportunities she directs year-round. Mrs. Caywood’s positive energy, genuine approach to teaching and directing K-16 as well as her ability to adapt theatre teaching core content to meet the needs of diverse learners and students is truly remarkable. Her ability to sustain and create new community engaged partnerships across the college, campus, and state is impressive. She is an amazing asset to the college for providing high quality arts experiences for young people, which in turn creates a direct recruiting pipeline for the college and university as a whole."
- Nominator 

University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award 

Beth Krensky 
Department of Art & Art History 

"Dr. Krensky has shown deep, enduring commitment to the development and implementation of cutting edge arts education curricula that pushes our arts teaching students to think inclusively and globally in an effort to forward the field of arts education. Presently, the community-based arts education research she is conducting is providing opportunities for select undergraduate and graduate students to experience the simultaneous ability to empower communities through art-making collaboration and partnership. These student researchers, through Dr. Krensky’s mentorship, are making important contributions to the field as they investigate global issues via art education, art-making, and community engagement. Dr. Krensky’s classes empower our arts teaching students to work authentically alongside young people and to utilize the community’s experiences as the inspiration for the creative work."
- Nominator 

Make sure you check out all our other Convocation 2020 virtual content:

Videos from our student convocation speakers, Jae Weit and Sydney May here
 CFA's Outstanding Seniors and Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher
 Don't miss out on an opportunity to share your memories, photos, and thank you's at our online message board!
We'll be cheering for you. Stay connected at @uofucfaalumni! 

Published in Finer Points Blog

Normally, the presence of our graduating seniors would be personified by one student on the stage of Kingsbury Hall, with wisdom, memories and gratitude echoing through the iconic theatre and into our collective consciousness. 

But this year is anything but normal. 

So instead, to accommodate the changes in our world, we’re bringing you the voices of two students speakers, each who have powerful, compelling, gracious, thoughtful remarks about their time here studying in the University of Utah College of Fine Arts and their hopes for the future.  

Without further ado, it is our pleasure to welcome to the main digital stage: graduates Sydney May from the School of Dance, and Jae Weit from the Department of Theatre.


Sydney May
School of Dance, Class of 2020


Jae Weit
Department of Theatre, Class of 2020

*Check back tomorrow for an official address from Dean John W. Scheib!*

Published in Finer Points Blog

As we celebrate the Class of 2020 during this convocation week, faculty members across the five academic units of the College of Fine Arts send their congratulations, encouragement and appreciation to this year's graduates. 

Here are just a few of our favorite video messages for the Class of 2020. 

From Beth Krensky
Professor, Department of Art & Art History 


 From Kelby McIntyre-Martinez
Assistant Dean for Arts Education & Community Engagement


 From Stacey Jenson 
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre 


 From Robert Baldwin
Professor, School of Music 

From Connie Wilkerson 
Associate Professor, Department of Film & Media Arts 


From Pablo Piantino
Assistant Professor, School of Dance 

To see all our faculty videos for the Class of 2020, visit our social media channels here: 

College of Fine Arts Facebook 
College of Fine Arts Instagram 
College of Fine Arts Twitter 

And don't forget you can leave messages for our grads all this week at our Live Message Board! 

Published in Finer Points Blog

Welcome to the Class of 2020 Message Board!

Leave a message.
Share a picture. 
Thank a mentor.
Give a shout out.

Think of this live message board as a virtual Kingsbury Hall lawn, where students, faculty, staff, families and friends join together in celebration. Although we can't be together this year for convocation, use this space to share your appreciation, memories, and farewells.

Whether grad, parent, educator, alumni, or valued supporter -- you can leave your love here

1. Click the pink plus sign
2. Leave your message, photo, link, or video (or all of the above!) 
3. Sign your name! If you are a graduate, let us know your school or department. 
4. Read the messages from others!

Our remarkable graduates, here's to you! We couldn't be prouder. 

Made with Padlet
Published in Finer Points Blog

By Kate Mattingly 

As a researcher who teaches courses in dance histories, dance studies, and dance criticism, I spend a lot of time thinking about how we communicate through our bodies and our words. My dissertation, which I completed in 2017, analyzes how dance criticism not only responds to a performance but also shapes and influences our value systems and priorities. Historically, dance critics have wielded a lot of power: John Martin named the genre “modern dance” and heavily influenced the success of certain choreographers, like Martha Graham, in the 20th century. 

But digital platforms change the status and authority of critics’ words because there are more immediate opportunities to challenge a viewpoint and to use social media platforms to offer different perspectives. A great example of this happened in 2010 when a New York Times critic wrote that Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy with New York City Ballet, looked “as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many.” The outpouring of support for Ringer led to her appearance on The Today Show and Oprah. These interviews are still available online, making the critic's words less definitive. jennifer ringer

In my scholarship I analyze how the digital sphere opens spaces for a co-existence of different perspectives, and how this brings attention to artists and ideas that have been misrepresented or completely ignored. Much of my current research focuses on how criticism in the 21st century can challenge the sexisms, racisms, and classisms that have circulated through print critics’ writing.  On April 14, I gave a lecture for students and faculty at UCLA on digital dance criticism, and how traces of a project by Amara Tabor-Smith called “House/Full of Black Women,” circulated through photographs Amara posted on Facebook, thereby extending the reach of her processions that happened in Oakland, California. This is an important example of how artists bypass a critic who speaks “for” a project and instead gives the artist access to self-representation and self-definition. 

In my dance studies course this semester, when we shifted to an online format, students shared final projects through PowerPoint presentations and then we opened online discussions about the topics. The students’ work was stellar and the online discussions deepened and extended the conversations we had begun earlier in the semester when we were meeting together. One particularly timely project, by Todd Lani ’20, examined social media users who can promote social justice or their own fame. Todd used Matt Bernstein as an example of a social media “activist” who thinks of others and dismantles hate and violence against LGBTQ+ communities. Todd wrote, “Growing up in a smaller rural area, the media (more specifically social media) was the only outlet and opportunity that I had to see any representation of someone like myself.” 

During this pandemic, as we find ourselves relying on the digital sphere, we might also be noticing the differences between attending a live performance and watching dancing through a screen. There are undoubtedly things that seem to be missing, like the communal experience of watching a performance with a hundred-plus people, or the feeling of liveness and immediacy as an artist creates the movement in your presence. But there are also advantages: many companies are offering performances to view free of charge, and events that happened in far away places are now visible in our homes. 

A student-run group at the University of Utah, the Dance Studies Working Group, took a trip to San Francisco in 2018, supported by funding from a FAF Grant, to see a festival called Unbound and attend a Symposium of guest speakers who included Dwight Rhoden, Virginia Johnson, and Marc Brew. When the company’s current performance season had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, SF Ballet released performances from Unbound online. This Friday students and alumni of the Ballet Program are hosting a zoom conversation, organized by Victoria Holmes Johnson ’19, to discuss the possibilities of online transmission, and also what’s missing in this virtual realm. 

We think these conversations are important during this time of uncertainty because we hope that the future of dance, like the future of dance criticism, will be more inclusive and equitable. Artists are known for their imaginations, able to problem-solve and think creatively, and their expertise is invaluable at this moment. 

Finally, when people use words like “unprecedented” to describe this pandemic, they are making invisible a lot of people who have not had access to services or movement for years, if not decades. People who are confined and dependent on others due to disabilities could be our teachers. I hope that this moment of "uncertainty" is an opportunity for us to look at our interconnectedness: how do we support and nurture one another? how do we honor  our different needs and capacities? I hope we do not return to a world that is about individualism, convenience, and control, but rather one that embraces the interdependencies and indeterminacy of life. 

Author Kate Mattingly is an assistant professor in the University of Utah School of Dance. 

Published in Finer Points Blog
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