This Fall, the Dance Program welcomes Christine Bennett as Assistant Dance Director. I spoke with Christine recently, as the Dance Program staff prepared for start-of-term events.
You have spent many years choreographing and teaching. How would you describe your background?
I founded a contemporary dance company that focused on blending dance with the visual arts and spent 11 years climbing rope nets, dancing on stilts, and hydroplaning across water in performance. I have also taught classes in modern dance, choreography, and dance history at several universities in the area over the years.
When did you first get interested in dance?
I had the common experience of starting dance classes at the age of three. I've always felt at home and completely right when orchestrating a group of dancers. For me, the power of pulling together many people to push a choreographic vision forward is the ultimate thrill...plus it satisfies my bossy side! This all happened early on, but as a teenager when I saw Twyla Tharp's company perform In the Upper Room and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company perform The Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land I was completely hooked on dance!
What is your craziest dance-related memory?
When I was dancing on a rope net 40 feet in the air in the middle of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, as fine particles from the afternoon's dust storm rained into my eyes and mouth...that was a certifiable moment. The energy from 4000 audience members at Burning Man was an overwhelming feeling.
What attracted you to Harvard?
The ambitious quality of the dancers attracted me to Harvard. I want to support larger-than-life projects that inspire. I hope to use my experience running a company to enable the great work that happens here.
What have you enjoyed most about Harvard so far?
My commute by bicycle.
Dance Associate, Marin Orlosky Randow '07-'08, whose encyclopedic memory of any Dance Program happening over the past 7 years balances out my new-girl status beautifully.
The Dance Program's master class and performance offerings for '10-'11! Check them out!
What are you looking forward to, for this school year?
We will celebrate Dance Director, Liz Bergmann, as she prepares to retire. It will be a thrill to reflect on the achievements of the Dance Program under her leadership for the past 10 years. The search for a new director is taking place and I'm excited to be a part of this pivotal time for the Dance Program.
What advice do you have for incoming student dancers, or Harvard students in general?
Keep checking our website for new happenings. There will be many master classes and special events announced throughout the year. Many are open to all, which is unique to Harvard. See you there!