In Collaboration: Creative Writing and Dance

Walker's dancers on stage

By Kim Harris Thacker

Early this fall, as part of an ongoing effort to demonstrate the connections between creative writing and other arts, several Walker’s students collaborated to present their peers with a special poetry and dance performance. This Thursday, the Dimensional Dance Company entertained and enlightened Walker’s students with yet another performance that linked dance with creative writing.

English Department Chair Catherine Reed, along with Grants and Foundations Officer Kim Pereira, won a grant to bring the Dimensional Dance Company and other artists to Walker’s. “Thursday’s presentation showed our students a behind-the-scenes look at the history of dance and its connection to the other arts,” said Reed. “We saw the way ballet was influenced by the winds of political change, and we learned about the African roots of jazz dance. The audience was then treated to a marvelous series of dances through time, including a crowd-pleasing break-dance and a modern dance reflecting a painting of the muses from Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum collection.”

Reed noted that of special interest to many English students was a dance adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello and Maya Angelou’s poem, “Phenomenal Woman.”

Other individuals who have offered their support to this collaborative Arts and English project include Walker’s photography teacher Ben Barker, and Visual and Performing Arts Director Cheri Soule. Plans for the use of the grant funds includes a visit from members of the Judy Dworin Performance Project, who will help Walker’s students work on turning their poems into dance pieces, and from novelist and Pushcart Prize-winner Leslie Johnson, who will visit Walker’s for a series of writing workshops.

This program was supported by funds from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and the Connecticut Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.