Purnima Shah: “Extraordinary Creativity and Commitment”

Part of our “Art and Artists are Essential” collection and invitation.

The last few months have been the most tumultuous and troubling period of our lives. Every day brings new disheartening surprises and unbelievable situations. The concerns for our health and safety, the massive disruptions due to the spread of COVID-19 and the emergent atrocities against our Black communities are deeply unsettling. This world-wide movement, though, is quite reassuring as we hear Martin Luther King’s voice re-emerging through the voices of the millions protesting in favor of Black Lives Matter and calling for international solidarity. These times also provoke us to make a call for Native American Lives Matter and for all the underserved in the world.

Duke community—faculty, staff, and students—have all met these unprecedented challenges with extraordinary creativity and commitment. Our faculty and students’ remarkable effort in very quickly readjusting to new mediums of teaching and learning and new arrangements with their research and assignments, brings home the truth that arts and artists hold a very special place in academia and the society, in both self-healing and the healing of the community.

Even as we confront present challenges, we want to acknowledge the brilliant achievements of our Duke Dance students, faculty, and staff members (sampled by these artistic videos below).

Hard work, persistence, integrity, refined artistry, aesthetic creativity and service to humankind, all come to mind when I think of their commitment to dance. My good wishes for the health and safety for all.
Purnima Shah, Director, Dance Program & Duke Dance Faculty

While the Spring 2020 semester was filled with trials, tribulations, and adaptation, it also gave birth to new collaborations. Students from DANCE 306S: Dance for the Camera, taught by Andrea Woods Valdés, and DANCE 375: Music for Dancers, taught by John Hanks, worked together to create a dance video over an audio collage music track. This collaboration was not just remote, but also international as one student, Cosima Liang, was working from Beijing.

“new now”
Dancer & Video: Tessa Grabowski
Sound: Cordelia Hogan
Dancer & Video: Alexa Robertson
Music: Rishi Salwi
“April 2020”
Dancer & Video: Claire Hutchinson
Music: Megan Mauro
Dancer & Video: Cosima Liang
Music: Stephanie Laughton (Engineering 2014)
Additional music: John Hanks
“how should i presume”
Dancer & Video: Kendra Tse
Music: Bryan Fang