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Last modified: Thursday, January 12, 2012

Funding awarded for IU modern dance projects

Jan. 12, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington faculty members Selene Carter, George Pinney and Elizabeth Shea have been selected to receive funding in 2012 from the Fran Snygg Grant for Artistic Collaboration and the Fran Snygg Endowment Fund.

The awards were announced by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs at IU Bloomington, which administers the grant programs. Shea and Carter are faculty members in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, where Shea is a clinical associate professor of kinesiology and director of the Contemporary Dance Program and Carter is a lecturer. Pinney is a professor and head of musical theatre in the Department of Theatre and Drama in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The awards were established in memory of Fran Snygg, professor of modern dance at the School of HPER and associate dean of the faculties, who founded and directed ArtsWeek at IU Bloomington. ArtsWeek 2012, which begins April 1, marks the celebration's 28th year.

The $1,500 Grant for Artistic Collaboration encourages collaboration in a performance, exhibit or other artistic endeavor. The Endowment Fund, which provides a total of up to $2,000 a year, was created to develop awareness and appreciation of dance as a performing art.

Fran Snygg Grant for Artistic Collaboration

Selene Carter received the award for "Seeing Choices: Scored and Improvised Dance in Performance," a scored improvisation involving 11 dancers working with a musician who is also improvising with acoustic and recorded play-back technology.

A 10-minute, participatory performance, "Seeing Choices" includes the audience in the thinking process of the performers. Audience members are invited to contribute to the work by making "calls," verbal cues that reveal what they are seeing and would like to see more of. In this way, the engagement of all participants, including dancers, musician and spectators, will be accentuated.

The project includes local and regional performances.

Elizabeth Shea

Elizabeth Shea

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Fran Snygg Endowment Fund

Elizabeth Shea was awarded endowment funding for "Celebrating 85 Years of Modern Dance at Indiana University Bloomington," including an ambitious performance planned for November 2012 at the IU Auditorium.

The grant will help support artistic fees and licensing for "Mattress Suite," a contemporary masterpiece of wit and sensuality by New York choreographers Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott, which will be performed for the anniversary celebration. Keigwin will travel to Bloomington in the spring to set the work, giving students ample time to rehearse. His five-day residency will benefit modern dance majors and faculty at IU who will have the opportunity to take classes and observe his creative process.

The performance at the IU Auditorium will also include Paul Taylor's "Esplanade," a traditional Chinese folk dance, and David Parsons' "Nascimento Novo."

George Pinney was awarded funding for "Stop!," a new contemporary dance piece, created for this weekend's annual IU faculty contemporary dance concert, which challenges audience members to take action when they observe bullying.

George Pinney

George Pinney

Either a dance of hope or a dance of tragedy, the cast for the piece includes a junior-high-school student who is confronted by slurs and finds a refuge in dance; a woman who is subjected to sexual taunts and relies on dance to escape from ugliness into beauty; and a man who tries to express his convictions but is trampled by a cruel political system. As accompaniment, the dance piece will employ a soundscape composed by Jonathan Vanderkolff and built on interviews about people's trials with bullies.

The ultimate goal of the work is to help student dancers grow in their technique and vision as artists.

For more information on the Fran Snygg awards and other awards and competitions administered by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, visit the office's website for awards or email