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Since 1984 the Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series has presented great artists and performances to audiences in the Philadelphia area, creating an environment in which the value of the arts is recognized and celebrated. Talks and workshops provided free to the public help develop arts awareness and literacy. The Series works to lower barriers to arts access through its partnership with Art-Reach, a nonprofit dedicated to improving arts accessibility for people of all ages and circumstances, and through its low ticket prices.

2012-13 Season

Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble
Friday, Sept. 14, 8 p.m.,
McPherson Auditorium, Goodhart Hall

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Combining the strengths of ballet with the vigor of youth, the Voloshky style is bold, powerful, and dazzling with athleticism. Featuring a newly-commissioned choreography from MacArthur “genius” Mark Morris set to French composer Camille Saint-Saën’s Carnival of the Animals, this program highlights Voloshky’s live orchestra and 35 dancers from the Ukraine and United States.

Support for the Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble is provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through Dance Advance.

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Bread and Puppet Theater
Friday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m.
The Complete Everything Everywhere Cabaret
Hepburn Teaching Theater, Goodhart Hall

Saturday, Sept. 29, 8 p.m.
The Complete Everything Everywhere Cabaret

Hepburn Teaching Theater, Goodhart Hall

Sunday, Sept. 30, 2 p.m.
The Circus of the Possibilitarians
Thomas Great Hall Cloisters 
(in case of rain: McPherson Auditorium)

photo of performerGiant puppets, storytellers, and stilt dancers deliver Bread and Puppet Theater’s distillation of political issues, reflections on daily life, and sheer silliness. See two shows with this legendary activist theater company: a brand new topical play and the 2012 edition of the group’s family-friendly Circus accompanied by the B&P Circus Band and full of “animals of all kinds.” The circus is free to the public.

David Krakauer, clarinet: Beyond Crossover
Friday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m.
Thomas Great Hall

photo of david krakauer playing clarinet

Not only does Krakauer apply his breathtaking virtuosity and sublime tone to modern and classical works by Janácek, Brahms, Debussy, and Reich, Classical Musiche segues into a klezmer set, sharing what he calls a kind of “musical home.” A spirited, generous, and charming performer, he is joined by Kathleen Tagg, piano and Will Holshouser, accordion.

Susan Rethorst: Inquiring Mind/Choreographic Mind
photo of susan rethorts
Friday, Feb. 22, 8 p.m.
Behold Bold Sam Dog

Hepburn Teaching Theater, Goodhart Hall

Saturday, Feb. 23, 3 p.m.
208 East Broadway Part 5 (Premiere)
McPherson Auditorium Stage

Saturday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m.
Behold Bold Sam Dog
Hepburn Teaching Theater

Sunday, Feb. 24, 3 p.m.
208 East Broadway Part 5 (Premiere)
McPherson Auditorium, Goodhart Hall

Saturday, Feb. 23, 12:30 - 10 p.m. includes two Rethorst performances + installations, exhibits, catering, two different performances of How to Get Started by John Cage, and a Philly Performance Club led by critic Claudia La Rocco. Details here.

How can a choreographer help us look afresh at the most intimate and familiar actions to “read every situation through  movement” including our curious ways of connecting with each other (or not)? With a subtlety and attentiveness rare in our super-stimulated times, Rethorst’s visionary, award-winning work is presented in an extended series of workshops, open rehearsals, panels, and more. Saturday’s special double performance package includes free afternoon events and a catered dinner.

Final events in Susan Rethorst: Inquiring Mind/Choreographic Mind included "wreckings" of work by area dance companies on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13. Details are available here.

Read commissioned essays and posts by embedded writers about the project here. Like Susan Rethorst/Moving in Philadelphia 2013-2014 on Facebook.

Support for the Susan Rethorst: Inquiring Mind/Choreographic Mind performance retrospective is provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through Dance Advance.

Pew Center for Arts and Heritage logo graphic

Sheetal Gandhi: Bahu-Beti-Biwi
Friday, March 22, 8 p.m.
McPherson Auditorium, Goodhart Hall

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Gandhi’s solo tour de force combines dance, stirring singing, and percussive text based on the language of the tabla (North Indian classical drum) as she transitions between portrayals of assorted characters. This commentary on the traditional role of Indian women—its title translates as Daughter-in-law, Daughter, Wife—is at once incisive and warmly humorous.

Free Residency Activities
(for classes, please RSVP to

Thursday, March 21
4-5:30pm Master Class
Pembroke Studio
Contemporary Kathak class which specifically focuses on learning the rhythms and the rhythmic cycles used in North Indian classical music, some technique from this form, and then a short traditional piece. "I show them how I translate the piece into a more contemporary language, and they learn this as well. It is a speaking/dancing class. I do this most often with students coming from a dance background. The rhythms can be learned by anyone, but when we get into the real choreography of it, it is better if they have some dance background."

7pm Lecture-demonstration
Goodhart Hall, Hepburn Teaching Theater
In this session Sheetal Gandhi will trace her experience moving from traditional forms to develop into a multidisciplinary artist and will illuminate her process in making Bahu-Beti-Biwi

Friday, March 22
12-1:30pm - Lunch
Haffner Dining Hall, Dorothy Vernon Room
Lunch at Bryn Mawr College for students of the South Asian Women's club and others interested in an informal meeting and discussion (pick up your own lunch, then join the gathering)

Saturday March 23
10:30am -12:00pm Community Class (children and adults)
McPherson Stage, Goodhart Hall
Bollywood Dance
Burn off steam in the contagiously fun fusion style of dance that is called, “Bollywood Dance”. Each class offers an injury-preventative warm-up of body isolations, integrated with stretching and preparatory technical exercises for Indian dance movement. Participants will:

  • learn traditional Indian styles based on both folk and classical forms
  • learn important story-telling skills through dance
  • learn choreography to popular Bollywood and Bhangra songs

12:30 - 2:30pm These Embodied Voices
McPherson Stage, Goodhart Hall
This workshop is based on Liz Lerman techniques, exercises by Simone Forti, and Sheetal’s own artistic process as a multidisciplinary story-teller. The workshops focus on different ways of pairing text, song and sound with gesture to create meaningful and evocative, full-bodied stories. Participants work together and work alone to source material through improvisation, choreographic and theatrical structures, free-writing, research, and dialogue. They may explore their cultural identities, histories, genders, and spiritual backgrounds as these subjects relate to the development of performance.

The presentation of Sheetal Gandhi is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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