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Faculty News - Spring 2016

The Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies is proud to announce that Professor Noe Montez was presented with this year's Arts & Sciences Faculty/Staff Multicultural Service Award. This award recognizes the contributions of members of the Arts and Sciences and Engineering faculty and staff who have made significant efforts to define Tufts as a multicultural environment in which race, ethnicity, religion, class, gender, and sexual orientation are not barriers to the full enjoyment of community membership.

Congratulations, Noe!

Brian Lilienthal recently designed the world premiere of The Realness by Idris Goodwin at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, which ran in Spring 2016.

In addition, Brian received an Artistic Achievement Award from the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the 2016 Set the Stage Celebration on May 16, 2016. This award recognizes "one individual's extraordinary impact on an organization," and hails Brian as a wonderful artist, collaborator, and colleague. For details and acknowledgements, please visit the Merrimack Repertory Theatre

Three cheers for Brian!

Assistant Professor Noe Montez moderated a public dialogues discussion at ArtsEmerson on May 10, 2016. According to ArtsEmerson, "Some Other Race": Exploring the Diversity within the Latino story explored how Latinos are becoming a majority demographic in the US but yet still find themselves boxed into "some other race" on the US Census. How are Latinos updating our national narrative to be truly reflective of a changing America? How does the diversity inside of the Latino experience, whether Cuban, or Chicano, or South American, challenge and reflect the American cultural narrative? How do artists and communities create stories inside the breadth that is the Latino identity?

Way to go, Noe, for moderating such an important discussion!

Sheriden Thomas received a 2016 Best Actress Award from IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) for her performance in Moonbox Production's Kimberly Akimbo! The awards were presented on April 11, 2016. For more information on the awards, visit the IRNE website

Sheriden -- lots of congratulations!

In April 2016, Laurence Senelick participated in a Boston Lyric Opera Signature Series Event at the Boston Athenaeum as part of a pre-performance talk for The Merry Widow.

Since it was Laurence, it was both erudite *and* entertaining -- the audience had a wonderful time!

On April 1, 2016 SpeakEasy Stage Company honored Professor Barbara Wallace Grossman and her husband, former Massachusetts State Treasurer Steve Grossman, for their sustained and generous support of the arts at its 25th Anniversary Gala the Hyatt Regency, Boston. Thanks to the generous support of their sponsors, guests, volunteers, and artists, SpeakEasy Stage raised over $200K, a record-breaking amount, for the arts. For more information on this event, visit SpeakEasy Stage Company.

Congratulations to Barbara and Steve on being part of this great event!

Professor Monica White Ndounou participated in Shondaland: Television, Representation, and Color-Blind Casting in April 2016. Her discussion focused on race, casting, and representation in American entertainment.

Professor Ndounou also contributed to "Gods of Egypt": A Deeply Problematic Film About the Ancient World an online article discussing whitewashing, racism, and discrimination run rampant in the new mythological film Gods of Egypt. Read the article >

Congratulations to Monica for her contribution to two very important discussions!

Cleveland International Film Festival 2016 screened Kings, Queens and In-Betweens. This fantastic documentary about the drag scene in Columbus was produced by Jennifer Burton and directed by her sister Gabrielle Burton and their production company, Five Sisters Productions. Read the review >

Amazing!! HUGE congratulations to you and your sisters, Jenn!

Associate Professor Noe Montez kicked off a new Café Onda series with this post detailing how he had students in his Latina/o Theatre and Film class at Tufts University create Wikipedia pages for Latina/o theatre artists. His article Pedagogy Notebook: Creating Visibility and Empowerment for Latina/o Artists through Wikiturgy was featured online at HowlRound. Great work, Noe!

Brian Lilienthal designed the lighting for I and You at New York's 59E59 Theater. The piece was both comic and moving and the audience gave a standing ovation at the end. And as always, Brian's design was dynamic and it meshed wonderfully with the other elements of the production.

DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! Tufts' own Danny McCusker choreographed a new project at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) in Boston on February 12 and 13, 2016. "An exciting evening highlighting the diversity of dance in the Boston region, DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! offers the opportunity to compare four completely different contemporary dance styles born from four distinct traditions. Participating companies include: Daniel McCusker Dance Projects, Navarasa Dance Theater, Jean Appolon Expressions, and a duet by Wendy Jehlen and Lacina Coulibaly. Including a 15-minute performance by each company, DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! will conclude with a discussion among the four choreographers in which they will discuss how different forms of dance informed their own work."
More information >

Dance Senior Lecturer and Head of Dance Performance Activities, Daniel McCusker, was rehearsal director for the Boston Conservatory's celebration of Merce Cunningham. Under the direction of Silas Riener, Boston Conservatory students performed excerpts from early Cunningham dances including Dime A Dance, Springweather and People, Septet, Nocturnes, and Minutiae, accompanied by pianist Stephen Drury. On December 11, 2015 a group of Tufts students will visit the performance, funded by The Tufts Dance Program Innovation Fund. See what The Boston Globe had to say about the performance! The show runs through January 2016.
More info >

Tufts' Drama Senior Lecturer, Sheriden Thomas, performed in Moonbox Productions's Barefoot in the Park at the BCA Plaza Theater from November 20 - December 12. In this Neil Simon romantic comedy, Sheriden plays the role of Corie's mother, Ethel Banks. Congratulations, Sheriden on another excellent role! Check out Moonbox Productions performance page >

Kudos to Tufts' own Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies Lecturer, Khary Jones, for his work on He Named Me Malala, which opens in theaters nationwide on October 9th. The movie had a phenomenal NY Premiere with Malala and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, in attendance. View the He Named Me Malala trailer >

Congratulations to our new dance lecturer, Cristina Rosa, on her book, Brazilian Bodies and their Choreographies of Identification. In it she discusses the geo-political significance of non-verbal discourses within colonial and post-colonial contexts in Brazil.

In the Spring of 2015, the Department collaborated with Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies to hire Kareem Khubchandani as a Mellon Bridge Assistant Professor. He will join the faculty in the Fall of 2016. His book project, Ishtyle: Labor, Intimcay, and Dance in Gay South Asian Nightlife, complements his other writings on transgender theatre, Bollywood film, performance as research, and drag.

Daniel McCusker is the Project Manager/Rehearsal Director for the Cunningham Project which will culminate in performances by students from the Boston Conservatory at the ICA in October, November, December and January. Performances will take place in the exhibition gallery, in the context of an exhibit devoted to Black Mountain College, curated by Helen Molesworth.

Assistant Professor Noe Montez was elected to the American Society for Theatre Research's Executive Committee and as Conference Planner for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education's Latina/o Focus Group.

Fletcher Professor of Oratory and Director of Graduate Studies, Laurence Senelick, was visiting fellow at the Center for Advanced Study at the Ludwig-Maxmilian University, Munich, this past summer; he attended the ATHE conference in Montreal, and published the second, enlarged and revised edition of The Historical Dictionary of Russian Theatre.

Professor Senelick also presented in Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement's Annual Shakespeare Lecture in November 2015.