SUNY Potsdam’s Media Dance Series Honors Black History Month with Student Performances on Feb. 5
An effort by SUNY Potsdam media and dance students to press forward with their art in the face of a pandemic continues in February. SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Theatre and Dance will feature a virtual presentation titled “Knowing the Past Can Shape the Future,” on Friday, Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m., on Cyndance.org. The production is a celebration of Black History Month and a continuation of a Media Dance Work Series that melds videography, choreography and dance, in a cross-department collaboration prompted by shuttered theaters and other venue closures due to the coronavirus.
“Students everywhere may have been strongly affected by the pandemic, but SUNY Potsdam dance students keep on making it happen,” said Cynthia DuFault, the assistant dance professor spearheading and overseeing the project. “By its truest nature, dance has given these students and viewers a sense of wellbeing, spirit and creativity, through the thick of it.”
The production features a variety of student-made media dance creations ranging from light-hearted to deeply introspective, taking on themes from the Black struggle for liberation, equal rights and justice. Students hope to keep a spotlight on diversity and inclusion, not just in February, but 365 days a year, said dance major Brianna Polite ’21, who will present a work titled “The Runaways,” a chilling portrayal of those attempting to escape slavery.
“We are telling stories of the struggle for human rights through media dance throughout the year,” Polite said.
Black History Month is a reminder to dancers of the tradition of diversity within the art form, DuFault said.
“We take delight in celebrating the many achievements and contributions of Black American dance artists who, throughout our history, have done so much to make us the culturally diverse, compassionate and creatively rich community of artists we are today,” DuFault said.
The Media Dance Series kicked off last fall, presented each first Friday in October, November and December. It continues in February, March, April and May, followed by the Spring Informal Dance Concert on May 12.
SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Theatre and Dance engages in highly collaborative arts endeavors ranging from directing, choreographing, acting and dancing to designing, technical work and arts management. For more information, visit www.potsdam.edu/academics/AAS/depts/theatre.
About SUNY Potsdam: Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit www.potsdam.edu.