Moravian First Year Seminars in NYC
Friday, September 30, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
A favorite trip of mine was when we visited MoMA. This museum includes many types of drawings and paintings that I love. For instance, I saw a well known piece from one of my favorite artists, Andrew Wyeth. This painting is called "Christina's World."
With some research I read that Christina, whose full name is Christina Olsen, was a neighbor of Andrew Wyeth's and she had polio which left her lower body paralyzed.
I believe that a majority of my peers in my class enjoyed the Museum of Modern Art due to the collection's variety and quantity. Not only did I find various pieces of art that I was familiar with and obsessed over but, I found new artists and their work.
I found an etching entiteld "Large Head." It was created by Lucian Freud in 1993. The subject matter of this image is precisely the same as the title. A picture of a large man's head takes up most of the center of the composition. The first thing I notice with this painting is a large head but one that seems to have "too much on top" as in the head does not look proportioned correctly (basically it looks like a defective egg.)
So far I love being able to experience new York's greatest Museums. I feel so fortuante to see different kinds of art whether it's paintings, etchings, or three dimensional. It is exciting and rewarding to see the masterpieces that I spend hours looking at in books and then get the chance to see the work in full size (and touching distance.)
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
During the show, I was most impressed with the dances. Dance always seems to captivate me, despite my lack in talent. I was engaged and emotionally intrigued when the performers danced on the stage. I was dazzled by the number of people that could move so exactly, that they did not collide with one another. The dances were energetic: colorful clothing set the upbeat mood, left feet danced around right feet, toes kicked high up into the air.
Watching the twenty or so teenagers dance in unison ignited a longing in me to be a part of it. I wanted to be part of a culture like that -where traditions and dances centuries old were still practiced. But I am not African. Not to mention super white. So joining The MAAFA Suite 2012 was obviously not an option. I decided to dig into my own roots this weekend and go to Celtic Fest.
Of course the first thing I wanted to see was the dancers. I saw The Lord of the Dance when I was younger and absolutely loved it. Every time somebody came to the house to visit I showed them my moves. The dance company that was performing at the festival consisted of several national champions; four of them were nine years old. It was somewhat disappointing to see modern outfits rather than traditional ones, but culture shined through in their dancing.
Being surrounded by the men and kilts and girls with heads full of ringlets was what I had been searching for since we watched MAAFA Suite. Like the Performance in a local Baptist church, the Celtic festival in downtown Bethlehem was an attempt to keep traditions alive. In the show, stories such as that of the Djembe were passed down through generations so that the history of the drum and how it was made would not be lost in the folds of slavery. Likewise, the Irish told old wives tales at the festival in hope that it would rejuvenate a branch of the culture that has been slowly fading.
If I had not seen The MAAFA Suite and the pride of the actors who revitalized a long history of culture, I do not think I would have discovered my longing to understand my own history and culture.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Visiting Brooklyn to see The MAAFA Suite was like nothing I had ever done before. The church and the atmosphere alone was extraordinarily important in creating our thoughts and opinions about our first impressions of the show.
As it started out as a regular African American worship service, many of us were exposed to a new and different cultural and religious way of worshiping.
The way that the church inside was set up to go along with the set of the actual performance was interesting to see, because I am sure that St. Paul's isn't always set up like this. I wonder what the "St. Paul regulars" think of that and whether or not the opinion differs due to age difference.
I was extremely impressed to see the number of young and talented performers in the show. The congregation as a whole seemed to be mainly middle aged with not very many children.
The show itself, based on slavery and freedom, was incredibly moving. It was very easy to get into the emotions of the characters because they really felt hatred towards what used to go on. You could tell this by the way the congregation reacted to certain vicious acts.
The amazing dancing, singing, and acting was performed by strong, trained actors and actresses who you could tell worked very hard to do what they were doing on stage, and you could also tell that the other people in the audience were also impressed.
Overall, even though I was a bit under the weather and we didn't get back until very late (causing me to miss classes), I don't think I would have been happy with myself if I missed this performance. It was very different than what we have seen as a group so far, and I feel like the diversity offers a whole new outlet of performance to be seen.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
We entered the church (yes, a church and it was the same ol' set up any church would have), and were sat in the back right hand corner. As we walked in we witnessed screaming and begging of younger characters within the show. It was a unique experience and set the mood for the beginning of the production. The opening scenes were quite amusing but the show eventually got more dull... Not that they didn't provide a lot of relevant, good information I feel like they could've compacted it more and still gotten the same point across.
Overall, it was a long tiring night... But! It was worth it to catch a glimpse into another culture's view on history. :)
Traveling to Brooklyn to attend the Maafa suite was our first trip that we did not have to awake at the crack of dawn for, so I was ready to go! After a very long bus ride with a very nice packed dinner we arrived at our destination. The first difference was the fact that we were checked in and given wristbands and programs on the bus instead of how they are normally distributed in the venue. As we made our way inside the building it was nothing how I expected; it was just a normal church, nothing extremely large or grand, the only unusual part was its thorough decoration to set the mood for the performance. As we started to get accustomed to our surroundings it was hard not to notice that we were part of a minority that night. In addition to that we had also missed the “wear all white” memo so I felt slightly out of place and uncomfortable.
After we took our seats, the show started with a calm introduction and then picked up into a very spirited, high-energy performance. There was everything; singing, dancing, acting, praying and celebrating the past, all wrapped up into one. You could tell everyone was very proud of the show and loved what they were doing. I thoroughly enjoyed it for the first hour and a half but after a while I became restless and uncomfortable. It was a wonderful display of African American history and pride, but it stretched on a little too long for my liking.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Our second trip to the city was sort of like a marathon; we left Bethlehem at 7:00 am and returned somewhere around 12:30 am. We managed to visit the East Side Tenement Museum, see both a production of Hair and Traces, visit the Strand bookstore and go out to eat not once, but twice! Out of all those exciting events Traces was by far my favorite. Although Traces did not have a very good plot line, it was extremely hypnotizing. There were seven cast members, one of them being a small woman, with amazing strength. The acrobatic feats they executed were breathtaking. I sat there the entire show, awestruck, with my eyes glued to the stage. The performers were extremely talented and amusing. There was so much tension and emotion in every move they made in every single number. You could just feel their adrenaline pumping as well as the crowd’s excitement. The performers must be such a closely knit “family” because of the amount of trust they put in each other every second of the performance. Usually I can’t stand plays without plot, but what it lacked in storyline it made up for in pure entertainment. When the show came to a close I was left wanting more. I joined my classmates outside to wait for autographs, which is not a normally thing for me. I’m not very easily impressed but this show really got me. It was a performance I could watch over and over again!
Although it was long and exhausting it was an exciting, albeit packed, day and I enjoyed it very much!
Saturday, September 17, 2011
A week ago when the class went to NYC again after we visited both the Tenement Museum and the Museum of the American Indian we had about 3 and a half hours to be on our own up in TImes Square. Since I like walking I walked down from Times Square (7th avenue) over to Grand Central Terminal on Lexington about maybe 7 blocks over. Then I worked my way back west. Stopping at the Public Library which is one of my favorite places, and it was really nice having a choir from England and Scotland singing outside to show their remembrance of 9/11/2001. Eventually I kept walking as far West as I could go, I ended up at the end of pier 84, right next to the Intrepid. It was nice to have the freedom to walk around the city that i grew up outside of I ended up finding things that I did not know where they were or did not even know they existed. It was a great 3 hours for me .
After the tenement museum we went to Traces, a soaring extravaganza. Within the short (about an hour and a half) show, we saw tons of acrobatics choreographed to attempt show that every individual makes their impact on Earth while they’re living here. It was highly entertaining… they did crazy stunts to urbanized music. Although it was not too easy to analyze the meanings of each scene it was worth it to go see the talent that these people have. The last show that we saw was Hair, a show set in the late 60s. A group of younger friends are protesting war, a typical thing during that time period. I found the show interesting but I couldn’t quite connect on a personal level with it.
This week’s trip was more exciting than last time and more exhausting. We walked a lot, learned a lot, and still had a lot of spare time. The shows were quite a contrast but had the similarity of the message that each person has an impact on where they live.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Both Traces and Hair are highly unique performances. In a way both shows have the same base premise, but execute the point in different ways. Traces highlight “Trace” we each leave on the world. Chalk is used almost immediately to show that every time you so much as move part of you are left behind on something or even some one. Through the use of personal stories and stunning acrobatics the cast connects with the audience in a way that I have never seen in a show before. The story is not told not only by words, but through the use of movements and facial expressions. As the show
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Traces and Hair were the excitements on this weekends trip to NYC!
Traces was an entertaining and exhilarating performance where we personally got to know seven people who were trained in circus acts. They shared personal information and showed off their talents in a show that would not easily be forgotten. I have pictures of the incredible acts that took place, live on stage. It is amazing what the human body can do. Traces is a true representation of pushing the human body to the ultimate degree, physically and emotionally.
Hair was another energized, spontaneous performance that was filled with an emotional atmosphere because it was the closing, final performance. At the end of the show, the audience flooded the stage and the actors were crying while the standing ovation and speeches were given. It was a special moment to participate in and see, one that I will remember for a long time. I still have my daisy in my dorm room that the actors passed out to us when they came into the audience!
One of my favorite parts of the day was when Dr. Shosh took us to this amazing bookstore that was 3 stories high and filled with all the books you could imagine at wonderfully low prices. I bought two books for under $20.00!!
The pictures I have are from Traces and the entire cast and audience on stage from Hair.
The most powerful moment in the museum was when we entered the living room of the apartment. Seeing the wallpaper and all of the damage that had occurred over the years really took me to a different place and made me think hard about exactly what went on there. I loved the museum and I hope to go back someday soon.
The 7 Fingers Circus did a fantastic job in their show Traces. It was every bit of what I expected and more. Seeing the performers do their acts and reading their biographies in the play bill really made me realize how much work it takes to be those people. Using their skills and talents, the actors followed a storyline which is not typical of circus type performances. It really was performance art at its finest.
Hair was like nothing I have ever seen. After missing the only song I know from the production, I really had no idea what to expect when I took my seat. The ideas about war, violence, drugs, sex and many other subjects are still viewed by people today in the same way they were back then. It is ironic that the show is ending even though the themes and morals involved in the storyline are without a doubt present in today’s world. Perhaps this is why the show started up again in 2009.