The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 23, 1998, Page 14, Image 14

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    Matt Miller/DiN
STUDENTS in Dance Professor Ann Shea’s Dance Composition II class will per
form their own works this weekend in two separate performances entitled “Last
Chance to Dance.”
Dance class students
prepare to take stage
Staff Reporter
For months, they’ve striven to bring their artis
tic vision to the stage. Their personal experiences,
some joyous and some not, have served as the
inspiration for their movement.
Now, as the curtain rises and a hundred pairs of
eyes turn to watch, the students from the Dance
Composition II course feel their hearts start to race,
their palms begin to sweat, and the butterflies in
their stomachs start to tickle.
“How will the audience react?” they ask. “Will
they like it? Hate it? Laugh or cry?”
“The choreographic process can be painful,
tearful, stressful and fearful,” said Ann Shea, a
University of Nebraska-Lincoln dance professor
and the Composition II instructor. “It is really hard
to have that curtain come up on your piece.”
Nonetheless, the curtain will rise.this weekend
when the Composition II students and other UNL
dancers present their works during “Last Chance to
Composition II students choreographed the
majority of the works to be presented. To take
Composition II, students must be dance majors
and must have taken Improvisation and
Composition I.
“In theory, the students are pretty sophisticated
and seasoned by this time,” Shea said.
But experience does not lessen the nervous
ness of baring your soul on stage, Shea said.
Fortunately, Shea designed the class to provide
the moral support needed for opening night.
Students said Shea’s understanding and supportive
attitude eased the risk-taking of the choreographic
Shea also allowed input sessions after students
showed their work in class. During the sessions,
students could discuss the strengths and weakness
es of their pieces.
Senior Sara Schmid, who will perform her
solo, entitled “Maybe,” said the commentary ses
sions allowed her to see how detached she was
from the piece’s subject matter.
Matt Miller/DN
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES and reactions to musical works inspired many of the students in the
creation of their own dance pieces.
“In the beginning I didn’t allow it to be person
al,” she said. “The class helped me realize that I
was just dancing around. I wasn’t connecting with
the material. I’ve learned how to take a big idea and
make it more specific by looking into myself and
seeing what it’s about,” Schmid said.
In addition to establishing a supportive envi
ronment Shea said, she aimed to provide the stu
dents with tools to aid them in their artistic endeav
ors. In class, she presented a variety of theories
about movement and staging in order to teach the
students what catches an audience’s eye.
“It’s not unlike when a painter may decide to
use small strokes instead of large strokes, oils
instead of acrylics. ... Choreographing is a
process, but there are tools to help you in the
Please see DANCE on 15
Actor spreads magic of classical music to all ages
By Barb Churchill
Assignment Reporter
Pratfalls, pies in the face and Peter Ilich
Tchaikovsky usually don’t mix well.
But Dan Kamin believes otherwise.
Kamin, an actor/magician who has worked on
physical comedy routines with actors such as
Johnny Depp (in “Benny and Joon”) and Robert
Downey Jr. (in “Chaplin”), is bringing his love of
classical music to town Sunday for a performance
with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra.
The program, entitled “The Lost Elephant,”
features Kamin as a zoo keeper in search of, appro
priately enough, a missing elephant.
Kamin has toured the country to promote clas
sical music. He has appeared with the Baltimore,
Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Colorado and Phoenix
orchestras in what he terms “Comedy Concertos,”
which combine classical music with theater to cre
ate a unique comedic and musical experience.
Kamin did this because he thinks people have
become less receptive to classical music.
“We have become a culture of segmentation,”
he said. “Just think about it. In the 19th century, the
symphony orchestra wasn’t the only thing for the
audience to listen to or look at.”
Kamin said concerts used to feature singers,
actors, dancers, magicians and trained animals as
well as the musicians to “lure in” audiences.
With “The Lost Elephant,” Kamin is attempt
ing to bring that sense of showmanship back to
classical performances.
“All ages can respond to the interplay between
the narrator, the zoo keeper, the musicians and the
audience,” Kamin said.
In “The Lost Elephant,” the zoo keeper has lost
Elmer, his elephant, and collaborates with the
orchestra to throw a concert to try and lure him
back to the zoo.
Jeth Mill, executive director of the Lincoln
Symphony, said Kamin “engages the audience
with physical comedy, word gags and sleight of
hand but then gets out of the way of the music.”
“The physical comedy helps, but there also is a
clever script involved,” Mill said.
Kamin said this type of concert really appeals
to him.
“My mission - and I am on a mission - is to
expose kids to the message that classical music is
exciting,” Kamin said.
“(Classical music) can be fun and funny. It can
be exciting theater, especially in a piece like this,
because everybody gets into the act - the orchestra,
the conductor and the audience.”
In a sense, Kamin said, the audience is the “ele
phant,” because just as the zoo keeper is looking
for Elmer the elephant, the symphony is looking
for an audience.
“Many people would rather go to the dentist
than attend a classical music concert,” Kamin said.
“People don’t think classical concerts are ‘date
events’ like movies unless they are marketed as
such. Some symphonies are attempting new
The perception of classical music as “a yawn
er” is common, Mill said.
There's only one problem with that assump
tion, though, he said: It’s wrong.
Please see MAGIC on 15