We will reign: Melanie George

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 13, 2017 12:49:17 PM

 

Since graduating from Western Michigan University's Department of Dance in 1994, Melanie George has forged a multifaceted career as a jazz dancer, choreographer, educator, scholar and advocate. From our Q&A conversation with Melanie, it is clear that these roles do not just overlap. Rather, they are deeply intertwined and synergistic. According to Melanie in her artist statement, "my scholarship purposely and strategically informs my choreography and pedagogy. I have great interest in upsetting traditional hierarchies in dance on the stage and the page."

For the past week, we have been lucky to have had Melanie back on campus bringing her wide-ranging expertise and perspective to our students. Last Friday, Melanie served as a celebrity judge for the annual Dancing with the WMU/Kazoo Stars competition and scholarship fundraiser, offering thoughtful praise, critique and commentary on the evening's performances. Over the past several days, Melanie has also worked in the studio, teaching jazz dance classes and staging new choreography on first-year students. And later this afternoon, in recognition of her years of research, education, innovation and excellence in the world of dance, Melanie will be presented with the 2017 College of Fine Arts Distinguished Alumni Award for the Department of Dance.

Get to know more about Distinguished Alumna Melanie George in her interview with the Fine Print:

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Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Careers in the Arts, Alumni, We Will Reign

We will reign: Palmer Jankens

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 10, 2017 3:44:02 PM

 

Meet Palmer Jankens, a self-proclaimed entertainment sound nerd and this year's Distinguished Alumni Award honoree for the Department of Theatre. From designing for prestigious theatre companies and productions throughout Chicago to mixing shows around the world, Palmer has built a career doing what he loves. And by the sounds of it, the experiences he was afforded during his time in the Department of Theatre's design and technical production program had a lot to do with his success. Hear all about it here:

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Topics: Careers in the Arts, Department of Theatre, Alumni, We Will Reign

We will reign: Alex Jokipii

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 6, 2017 5:31:25 PM

 

2017 School of Music Distinguished Alumnus Alex Jokipii has held the position of Principal Trumpet with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for nearly two decades. In addition, he has appeared as a soloist on countless occasions, and he has performed as a guest Principal Trumpet with numerous world-class symphonies and orchestras. But according to Alex, his success was far from instant.

In our interview with Alex, he touches on the struggles of totally reinventing the way he played trumpet when he arrived at WMU in 1988. He also talks about learning harsh lessons of time management and hard work, and he discusses how persistence played a part in breaking through as a professional (Mary Brodbeck, 2017 Frostic School of Art Distinguished Alumna, also asserts that persistence is the key to success as an artist. We're noticing a theme here...).

Learn what - and who - contributed to Alex's great success as a musician in his responses below.

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Topics: School of Music, Careers in the Arts, Alumni, We Will Reign

We will reign: Mary Brodbeck

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 4, 2017 4:51:40 PM

 

Each fall, the Western Michigan University College of Fine Arts recognizes four alumni who have put their stamp on their field. 2017 Frostic School of Art Distinguished Alumna Mary Brodbeck has done just that. Mary's artwork, which employs traditional Japanese woodblock printmaking methods to transfer ink to paper, has received critical acclaim in both Japan and the United States. With a portfolio of celebrated work, a series of prints housed in the Detroit Institute of Arts' permanent collection, and an extensive career of teaching, visual storytelling and printmaking, Mary continues to share her art and expertise with the world. Today, Mary's sharing even more with us.

Read Mary's essay below to learn about not only the time-honored art of woodblock printing, but also about the turning points in Mary's career and the traits that allowed her to succeed.

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Topics: Frostic School of Art, Alumni, We Will Reign

Frostic School of Art students collaborate with Audiotree Music Festival

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Sep 18, 2017 11:16:23 AM

 

Next weekend, Audiotree Music Festival will return to Arcadia Creek Festival Place, once again bringing "music and community together" in downtown Kalamazoo. But this year, the artists on stage aren't the only ones sharing their talent with audiences; the work of Gwen Frostic School of Art students will also be on display for concertgoers to enjoy.

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Topics: Frostic School of Art, The Student Experience, Kalamazoo

The Cecily Shives story part I: To be a ballerina

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Sep 7, 2017 12:21:09 PM

 

Ask any young child what they want to be when they grow up, and ballerina often makes the list of ideal occupations. But how many of these dance dreams actually come true?

For Cecily Shives, a 2017 BFA graduate of the Department of Dance, the dream of becoming a ballerina has remained alive throughout her life. As a toddler, Cecily was already dancing around her family’s home in pointe shoes, and then in eighth grade, she was voted “most likely to become a ballerina” by her peers.

Well, her classmates had it right. This fall, Cecily will pirouette into the professional world as a company member with Ballet San Antonio.

Through a series of three installments, we’ll be profiling Cecily and the many steps – and turns, spins and leaps – she’s made in her journey to become a professional ballerina. We’ll open with the early days.

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Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Careers in the Arts, Alumni

How Music Mountain stole my heart and will steal yours too

Posted by Molly Hill on Sep 1, 2017 12:05:05 PM

 

You know those experiences where you leave and think to yourself, “That was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. When can I do it again?”?  That is how I felt when I left College Audition Advantage just a couple weeks ago, right as the Berkshires were starting to feel like home.

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Topics: The Student Experience, Department of Theatre, CFA Students in Summer, Going places - Summer 2017

Slam Dancing in Spain

Posted by Kirsten Smits on Aug 24, 2017 4:25:44 PM

 

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern through Performing Arts Abroad at a dance school in Barcelona Spain, Slam Dancing Studio. Over the course of six weeks, the internship involved many different roles and responsibilities. A role that impacted me most was the job of being a featured instructor at the school’s annual performing arts camp, which was taught in English. This camp was three weeks in length, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for ages 4-16.

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Topics: Study Abroad, Department of Dance, Dance, The Student Experience, CFA Students in Summer, Going places - Summer 2017

A summer tending to Victory Gardens

Posted by Samantha Berger on Aug 21, 2017 11:58:29 AM

 

This past May I packed up my car with the barest essentials for a three-month adventure and made the move to Chicago, Illinois. This would be a solo adventure, and I would be lying if I said I was without trepidation. My destination was reached in three hours and thus began a summer like no other: a summer interning with Victory Gardens Theater.

 Victory Gardens Theater offers a transformative space for young arts professionals, and I was lucky to have this door opened for me when I attended the National Arts Marketing Conference last November in Austin, Texas. I was able to network with people from the Chicago theater industry and ultimately land this internship and make my vision of speaking truth and affecting change through the art I love a reality.

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Topics: The Student Experience, Department of Theatre, CFA Students in Summer, Going places - Summer 2017

A time for the arts

Posted by College of Fine Arts Dean's Office on Aug 17, 2017 4:56:14 PM

 

The College of Fine Arts is beginning the 2017-18 academic year with a simple message: Now is a time for the arts.

The arts have long been a vital part of the human experience. Whether watching the Kabuki of Japan or classic ballet of France, taking in works showcased at MoMA, or absorbing the distinctive sounds of jazz, the act of engaging with the arts provides us an opportunity to examine our lived experiences and encourages us to be more creative, more observant and more aware.

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Topics: Department of Dance, School of Music, Frostic School of Art, Department of Theatre

About the Fine Print

The Official Blog of the WMU College of Fine Arts

Western Michigan University's College of Fine Arts is a place where passion meets practice, and The Fine Print is your lens into the lives of our students, faculty and community.

From behind-the-scenes looks at our performances and exhibits to tips and resources for prospective students, The Fine Print is rich with content that is both interesting and valuable. Subscribe below to read The Fine Print and stay in-the-know.

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