ArtsX

Visitors see arts in action at annual BGSU showcase & sale

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Song and dance  and more spilled into the corridors, classrooms, corners and stages of the Fine Arts Center and the Wolfe Center for the Arts Saturday during the 14th ArtsX. The gala showcases the creativity of all the arts on campus. This year ArtsX invited special guests Verb Ballets, a Cleveland-based company. The company adopted the name Verb Ballets because it evoked action, said Richard Dickinson, associate artistic director. The company’s performances at ArtsX showed how fitting that name was. In the second of the Verb’s two performances Saturday evening, it blended humor and sensuality to the music of Mozart in K281. That sensuality was evident throughout, whether on the contemporary “Between the Machine” with a pulsating score that mixed jazz with industrial sounds, to the climatic setting of Ravel’s “Bolero,” where European and Indian classical dance moves blended with flamenco. Verb didn’t restrict its action to the stage. It also presented classes for community and university dance students earlier in the day and performed and worked with middle and high school students on Friday. Dickinson said the company particularly enjoyed the middle school, where a two-hour delay on a Friday meant the energy level was particularly high. The company’s performances Saturday had people buzzing in the halls of the Wolfe Center and Fine Arts Center as they perused the jewelry, ceramics, glass, prints, and more on sale.  Artists also demonstrated their techniques. Music suffused the event from traditional sounds from Beethoven to taiko drums to the experimental work of doctoral students. As usual there was far more going on than any one visitor could take in. While the crowd attending seemed smaller than in the past, the energy of the participants was still high.        


Verb Ballets brings contemporary & classic dance moves to ArtsX

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Verb Ballets is pool putting the moves on ArtsX. The annual arts gala is being held tonight (Saturday, Dec. 1) in the Fine Arts Center and the Wolfe Center for the Arts on The Bowling Green State University campus. The Cleveland-based dance company will be the special guest performers. This is the first time ArtsX has brought in a featured guest without a connection to the university. That marks a further step in the development of the gala that started 14 years ago. Verb Ballets is a fitting artist for this year’s theme “Let the Arts Move You.” The company moves in a variety of ways. The full-time company of classically trained dancers mixes both classic and contemporary ballet, said Jen Garlando, Verb Ballets’ director of marketing. The ballet’s performances at 5:30 and 7 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre at ArtsX will demonstrate that range. The company will open with the Grand Pas de Deux from Don Quixote by the great 19th century Russian choreographer Marius Petipa and the music of Ludwig Minkus. Staging is by the legendary Cuban choreographer Laura Alonso. The classical pas de deux shows both technical virtuosity and glamour. The piece comes from the company’s ongoing exchange with Cuban dancers, Garlando said. “K281” choreographed by Adam Hougland brings together modern and classical moves for a quirky and humorous take on a beloved Mozart piano sonata. From Mozart, Verb Ballets will move to a DJ mix of industrial sounds to create driving pulse for “Between the Machine” by Charles Anderson. In a cross-cultural exchange, the choreography for Ravel’s “Bolero” will blend Indian and modern dance styles. “Its drive, propulsion, and intensity build with the famous crescendo” is how the company describes the work. “The piece, choreographed by Heinz Poll, the company’s founder, is a visual masterpiece set to the driving force of the well-known score.”  Romanian dancer Daniel Precup set the company’s premiere of “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” a song about the complex struggles of love by the French singer-songwriter, Jacques Brel.  The performances will be the culmination of Verb Ballets’…


BGSU moves into the holiday spirit with ArtsX

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University’s pre-holiday celebration of the arts will highlight movement Dec. 1 as Verb Ballets, a Cleveland-based contemporary ballet company, takes the stage. Their bold artistry, unique styles and technical excellence have captivated audiences of all ages. The company’s two performances, at 5:30 and 7 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre in The Wolfe Center for the Arts, are just two ArtsX activities scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. The 2018 ArtsX, with a theme of “Let the Arts Move You,” will also showcase musical, theatrical and dance performances; exhibits and demonstrations; hands-on activities; and art sales for holiday shoppers looking for unique, handmade gifts. A tentative schedule is available at bgsu.edu/artsx.


Puppets have the power to entertain, enrage, and heal

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Two things were clear during the conversation on Puppetry: Exploring Life & Art. Puppets aren’t just for kids, and puppeteers are tired of having writers point out that puppets are not just for kids. The panel came on the eve of ArtsX at Bowling Green State University. Kelly Mangan, the prop master for the Department of Theatre and Film, facilitated the talk between Mel Hatch Douglas, a 1998 BGSU graduate and associate artistic director of Madcap Puppets, and Bradford Clark, puppet master, scholar, and museum curator. The spoke in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre with a backdrop of some of the puppets in their lives. In some traditions, puppets are considered alive. Mangan remembered first meeting Clark, long before either joined the BGSU faculty. She was 19, and she remembered Clark blowing incense into the eyes of puppets. This came, he said, from his studies in Bali. “At that point, they became people,” she said. “As a prop person in order to put them back into storage, we had to take the life out. Until then we treated them as people.” For a 19-year-old, this was magic. She’s retained her love of puppets and has used them in her work. “I look at a script and help a director tell that story.” Sometimes that involves elements of puppetry. For a Huron Playhouse production of “The Wizard of Oz,” she used elaborate shadow puppets as scenery. Clark recalled his own initiation into puppetry. He loved it as a kid growing up in California. His fourth grade teacher brought in a stage so he could present marionette shows. Right before heading off to college he took a job at an old theater in the Carmel Valley run by two veteran puppeteers and his passion was fully aflame. The focus of his studies has been the use of puppets around the world, both in theater and ritual. Douglas came to puppets relatively late. She delayed graduating from BGSU by touring as an actress. When she finally graduated in 1998, some six years after her class, she was…


Dancing the night away at ArtsX with dragons and more

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News ArtsX puts passions of Bowling Green State University’s creative class on display. For Hannah Kinney that meant showing off her dragon, which stretched out under the grand staircase in the Wolfe Center for the Arts.  Now in her third year at BGSU, she created the dragon originally for a 3B Production of “Shrek the Musical” in 2014 Since then, the dragon has appeared in a number of local productions of the musical, including at Bowling Green High School. When a production uses the dragon, Kinney said, she goes along to direct and guide it, and if she’s not available, as was the case in BG, her mother minds the dragon. Kinney noted she actually does not operate the dragon. She doesn’t have the upper body strength don the backpack harness and carry the huge creature on her back. Kinney, from Toledo, came to BGSU to study paleontology, but transferred to theater. Her scientific studies, she said, help in her in designing her puppets. Though puppets are her passion, not enough share the interest for there to be courses. But she’s hoping to do independent study. Puppets were the focus of ArtsX programming. Across from Kinney’s dragon was a display of puppets made for BGSU productions, including most recently “Frankenstein.” In another hall, Bradford Clark, a BGSU professor and foremost expert in puppetry, was carving, though questions from visitors gathered around his temporary work bench, kept chiseling into his carving time with their questions. In the scene shop, people had a chance to stage their own puppet shows, and in the art education room in the Fine Arts Center next door, youngsters were making their own puppets. In the Donnell, the Madcap Puppetry from Cincinnati staged the event’s signature event, a half-hour long production of Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird,” using vibrant shadow puppets. Kevin McCluney said his pre-school son was a little frightened by the show, but he said he really liked it. McCluney and his wife, Noel McCluney, and their two sons were taking in the annual festivities for the first time. He teaches in…


Puppets take center stage at ArtsX

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News “Make.Believe” is fitting as a theme for ArtsX. The 13th ArtsX will be presented Saturday, Dec. 2, from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Wolfe Center for the Arts and the Fine Arts Center on the Bowling Green State University campus. That summarizes how the free, one-night-only festival of the arts has evolved since 2005 when started as a way to bring together all the art club sales. Dennis Wojkiewicz, who spearheaded that inaugural event, remembers some music, particularly a bluegrass band. The event was held in conjunction with the opening of the faculty art show (as it still is), and everything happened on one floor of the Fine Art Center. Now the ArtsX includes contributions from all the arts on campus – fine art, music, dance, theater, film, creative writing as well as the library. Hundreds from campus and the community attend. Making it what it is has taken faith, maybe blind faith. “It’s crazy,” Wojkiewicz said. “We were just looking for a way to create an event that would benefit the clubs and that would get people into the Fine Art Center and take a look was what was going on.” Even then he had an idea for something larger, modeled on a similar event at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. ArtsX has sprawled out especially when the Wolfe Center opened. The Wolfe with its grand staircase and large lobby, two theaters, multiple studio, and assorted nooks and crannies seems created to host ArtsX. For the past several years, the organizers have brought in an outside group to help set the theme and supplement the ample home-grown talent. In 2015 the focus was on circus arts, and last year it was on aerialists. This year MadCap Productions Puppet Theatre will present Igor Stravinsky’s ballet “The Firebird” using actors and shadow puppets at 5:30 and 7 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center. Wojkiewicz said that the idea is to bring someone with connections to BGSU back to perform as well as to present some kind of workshop. Mel Hatch…