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Duke University Arts

Apr 3, 2013

Robert Ward (1917-2013)


Prof. Ward with Duke graduate student Amy Scurria, March 2012.
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The Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts joins with the Duke Music Department and the arts community in expressing our sadness at the passing of Professor Emeritus, Robert Ward.  A prolific composer, Robert Ward is perhaps best known for his operatic setting of The Crucible, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1962.  Over a long and distinguished life, his support of Duke, and especially the arts, will not be forgotten.

Duke Music Department and the News and Observer have more about his life and contributions to the music world and the arts community.

Apr 3, 2013

A High-Tech Look at Ancient Civilizations


Duke's Maurizio Forte with prospective students in Duke's "DIVE," - the Duke Immersive Virtual Environment.
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New Duke professor Maurizio Forte uses high-tech wizardry to re-imagine aged civilizations.

Mar 26, 2013

Nobel laureate JMG Le Clézio explores ‘interculturality’ at UNC and Duke


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Nobel Laureate Jean Marie Gustave Le Clézio and Mauritian cultural scholar and activist Dr. Issa Asgarally will discuss “Interculturality and the Arts” April 17-19 at a series of events at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University. Le Clézio and Asgarally jointly established the Foundation for Interculturality and Peace as a way to promote dialogue across cultural and geographical barriers through the arts and humanities, community engagement and educational curricula.

Both men will be at UNC’s Sonja Haynes Stone Center on April 17 for readings and book-signing (10-11:30 am), roundtable discussions (2-4:30 pm) and the keynote address (6:30-7:30 pm). On April 18 (2-4pm) they will be at Duke's Franklin Humanities Institute for roundtable discussions and readings. On April 19, Duke and UNC music faculty will co-host a 7pm concert in their honor at the Mary Duke Biddle Music Building on Duke's East Campus. Le Clézio and Asgarally will also visit faculty and students at East Chapel Hill High School.

See the event web page for a detailed schedule and further information, or download the flyer.

Le Clézio is the author of more than 50 books of cultural history and fiction. His ancestors are of French and Mauritian origin, and he has lived in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. He won his first literary prize, Le Prix Renaudot, when he was 23 years old for Le Procès Verbal (The Interrogation). During the 1960s and 1970s, he lived in Mexico while studying and translating ancient Aztec texts.  He spent four years in Panama living with the Embera-Wounaan tribes of the Darièn forests. Upon his return to France, he devoted his research to the pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican world. In 1980, he was awarded the Paul Morand prize from L’Académie Française for his novel, Desert. A Nobel Prize in Literature followed in 2008.

Issa Asgarally is a native of Mauritius, an island with great ethnic and cultural diversity. He is a professor of linguistics at the Mauritius Institute of Education. He also edits the island’s literary magazine, Italiques, contributes regularly to the daily newspaper, L’Express, and hosts the monthly literary television program, Passerelles. He has published 11 books and essays on literature, culture, history and media.

Information Contacts for News Media: Martha van der Drift, Ph.D. Candidate at UNC Romance Languages, 919.599.3796., or Dee Reid, Director of Communications at UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, 919.843.6339;

Sponsored by Duke University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Mar 26, 2013

Paint By Numbers


Photograph by Les Todd
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Duke mathematician Ingrid Daubechies crunches artistic expression into a set of data points. And that may be a very good thing for the authenticity of art.




Read full story in Duke Magazine here.

Mar 25, 2013

Choreolab 2013 raises the “barre” with Reflections


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 [From Dance Program press release]

Dance professor Julie Janus Walters is a former principal ballerina with the Joffrey Ballet and was instrumental in acquiring the rights to perform this excerpt of Reflections for the ballet repertory ensemble this spring.

Reflections is emblazoned in my mind as one of the most beautiful and challenging works of Gerald Arpino,” Walters said. “Having danced an extensive repertoire of the choreographer’s works with the Joffrey Ballet, I have a fondness for this neoclassical ensemble work.”

Premiered in 1971 and set to Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme for Violoncello and Orchestra, op. 33, Arpino re-created the ballet in 1985 after it had been out of active repertoire since 1976.

Gerald Arpino became the Joffrey’s resident choreographer in 1963 and rose to Artistic Director after the death of Robert Joffrey in 1988. Arpino died in 2008. Reflections is considered to be quintessentially Arpino in style and magnificence. 

Walters said she had the good fortune to be in the company in 1985 when the ballet was restaged, and she learned the majority of the pas de deux and solos.

Reflections features each dancer as a soloist and allows the personality of each dancer to shine,” Walters said. “The quick pace of many of the sections dares the dancers to blaze an image using the neoclassical technique. Arpino’s ballets are always very physical and energetic and Reflections highlights both the subtle beauty and lightning speed that have been a hallmark of his choreographic legacy.”

In recent years the Duke Dance program has attracted many accomplished dancers and Walters felt that when choosing a work for the Ballet Repertory course, Reflections seemed a natural fit.

“I feel it is only fitting that the dancers are challenged in a way that provides stimulation and growth in a rewarding way,” she said.

Senior dance major Betsy Boxberger agreed that the ballet is challenging, but she also finds it exhilarating.

“This is my first experience with Gerald Arpino’s choreography, and there’s always a challenge in learning a new choreographer’s style,” Boxberger said. “One of the things I love about Reflections is how well the choreography fits with the music. In addition to creating beautiful visuals, the musicality makes it fun to dance. In order to hit the specific musical cues, there are certain parts where we have to fly through the steps quickly. At other times we must slow down our dancing to extend each step as much as we can. It’s exhilarating when I’m able to find the perfect musical connection as I dance.”

Stephanie Joe is in her first year at Duke, but she previously spent 6 years in pre-professional ballet training at the Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy, where she performed in the Nutcracker, among other works.

Joe will dance one of the seven female solos in Reflections. “I love the movement qualities in this solo – fluid, lyrical movement accented by sharper movements. I have also especially enjoyed playing with the musicality of the movements,” Joe said.

“Arpino wanted more than perfectly placed classical ballet technique from his dancers – some movements are slightly exaggerated, in some positions an arm or a leg is higher,” she said. “The pieces were hard to learn at first. The choreography is challenging because it is very fast and the music is hard to count. However, I have enjoyed the challenge that Reflections has presented.”

Joe said she has appreciated being able to take ballet classes five times a week at Duke. “I am very thankful for the quality of ballet instruction here. I appreciate the technically challenging combinations and the emphasis on analyzing the concepts behind movement and the use of space and energy and musicality.”

Generously supported by an internal grant from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation as well as the Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey Foundation, the Dance Program is excited to bring this excerpted work to the stage at Duke.

ChoreoLab 2013 runs Friday and Saturday, March 29 and 30 in Reynolds Industries Theater in the Bryan Center on Duke West Campus. Tickets are $15, $5 for students, and $10 for seniors. Available at or 919-684-4444.

More information:  Dance Program








Mar 25, 2013

Duke University Union Visual Arts Committee presents Spring Arts Festival at the Arts Annex.


Spring Arts Festival at the Arts Annex
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Join the Duke University Union Visual Arts Committee on Friday, March 29 from 3-6pm at the Arts Annex (404 Gattis Street) to celebrate the unveiling of the new Arts Annex mural at the Spring Arts Festival.

This semester students designed stencils for the Arts Annex mural project in a series of stenciling and graffiti workshops led by Raleigh-based artist Matthew Curran.  Beginning Monday, March 25, students will participate in a week-long muraling process with Curran to complete the work that will go up on the exterior of the building.  The mural will be unveiled on Friday, March 29 during the Spring Arts Festival.  Everyone is invited to come out for the festival, an art-filled afternoon of live jazz, food trucks (Parlez-Vous Crepe, Loyo and Baguettaboutit), Dtown Market vendors, arts and crafts led by Happymess Studios, and see the new Arts Annex mural.

All are welcome!

More info at

The Arts Annex mural project is sponsored by DUU Visual Arts Committee with support of Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts.



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