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DANCING!

Some call it the “Fishbowl.” Others call it the “Think Tank.” But for Pomona student Elizabeth Espindola, the Kravis Center Living Room is a dance studio.

Recently, Claremont McKenna College students may have glimpsed Espindola dancing in the Living Room on select evenings. Espindola, whose dances run anywhere from four to eight hours, incorporates ballet, modern dance, and yoga poses into her routines. She chooses to use the Living Room as her dance studio as part of her ongoing interest in “site-specific dance.” As she describes it, “Site-specific dance is created to exist in a certain place where the artist considers a site’s unique environment, social context, and architecture. I see the beauty of moments that cannot be planned or created.” Espindola emphasizes that her performances are part on her ongoing research into the field of dance. She explains, “I am no different from the students that go there to study.”

DANCING!
Hold me closer tiny dancer!

Initial reactions to the dance performance were varied. Some, for example, thought that Espindola might be a Pitzer student protesting in conjunction with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Many speculated about her props, which include ropes and ribbons. One student playfully suggested that the props might be “symbolic of the oppression of the 1% on the working class.”

Espindola emphasizes that her performance had no ulterior motives or messages. When informed of fellow students’ reactions, however, Espindola was unsurprised, stating, “There is a power bigger than me that can communicate on a nonverbal level. Everyone will have their own experiences, ideas, questions and feelings when they see me dancing.”

After learning the reason for Espindola’s dancing, students have had mixed reactions.  CMC sophomore Sam Stone, who live-tweeted a portion of the performance, joked, “if Pomona students are entitled to express themselves in new CMC facilities, then I should be allowed to work on my Goldman Sachs application at Pomona in Sontag Hall!”

More seriously, senior/tech guru Dave Meyer was “impressed with her innovation, and [feels that] it is demonstrative of the lack of creativity on CMC’s campus. Perhaps the focus on economics and government pulls students away from their deeper passion for the arts.”

Espindola echoes Meyer’s sentiments, stating, “While there is plenty of artistic expression on campus, the problem is that we are too busy to see them, to appreciate them, and be thankful for them.” She hopes her dancing inspires students to think and create art in non-traditional ways. As she puts it, “There is always more to see. Open your senses to feel, to hear, and to see the hidden meaning of a space.”

While Espindola does not have any scheduled dances, she will be on the CMC campus performing at various locations for the rest of the year. You can find out more about Pomona’s site-specific dance program at www.sitespecific47.wordpress.com

19 COMMENTS

  1. This is ridiculous. I don’t need a Pomona student to show a ‘lack of creativity’ on CMC by dancing on our campus.

    “She chooses to use the Living Room as her dance studio as part of her ongoing interest in “site-specific dance.”

    Really? Why is she even allowed there in the first place?

  2. As a branch off article, I would like to ask Sam Stone why they would ever apply to Goldman Sachs after they faced an SEC civil lawsuit for fraud and currently face a 15.8 billion dollar lawsuit in mortgage securities. I mean, I know back in my four years it would always be the rage to be the one saying that you were working on your application to Goldman, but you *might* want to rethink your priorities. Just saying.

  3. The space was not built for dancing. She is not allowed to bother students who seek the Living Room for a quiet place to study. In addition, the tables weren’t made for her to stretch on top of it. If she wants to be innovative, she can express her so called “creativity” on a table that can withstand her weight.

  4. While I respect her movement to dance in hopes of inspiring creativity, the living room is not the place. I went there because I heard it was a nice, quiet place, and I had an essay due in the morning yet there she was, with her iPod on speakers mind you, rolling on the ground and breathing heavy and jumping on tables. It was irritating and distracting and non-inspirational.

  5. While I respect her movement to dance in hopes of inspiring creativity, the living room is not the place. I went there because I heard it was a nice, quiet place, and I had an essay due in the morning yet there she was, with her iPod on speakers mind you, rolling on the ground and breathing heavy and jumping on tables. It was irritating and distracting and non-inspirational.

    • so then you should have left or asked her to stop. your bad for being passive and letting her bother you. 

  6. […] The Living Room does not currently serve as an appropriate study or a lounge space as the tables are too short for studying to take place and limited access to the building itself prevents students from taking full advantage of its resources. The proposal suggests that it is necessary to increase the accessibility of the room to 24-hours a day. […]

  7. okay so i am a dancer. i am all for expression and being inspired by nontraditional spaces but i also think that one must respect the intended purpose of the fishbowl study space. each building and space on campus is designed with a very specific function in mind. in fact, a lot of work goes into campus planning for exactly that reason. there are spaces to study quietly, to read, to hang out with friends, to eat, to dance, to work out, to play instruments, etc. this space was intended for quiet study and i think this student needs to respect that. i wouldn’t sit down on a treadmill in the gym and start working on math homework, nor would i do vocal scales for a choir class in the library. i understand completely that dance is an academic exploration and her work is an extension of her studies but the fact of the matter is, her presence is distracting and gets in the way of others. 

    i think this one is an issue of respect. respecting the space and the students who chose to use it. 

  8. This is ridiculous, these actions clearly cross the line from the artistic expression to disruptive behavior. 

    • Dear CMC, it seem that the statement above confuses artistic expression with entertainment.   
      Entertainment revolves around captivating an audience, which is only one dimension in the multifaceted realm of artistic expression.   Moreover, a significant portion of artistic expression thrives off of disruptive behavior, sometimes with the motive to promote discourse and other times to make an impact.  There are instances when artistic expression, through disruptive mediums, is performed in order to initiate social progress by causing one to reflect on various aspects of one’s society.  Oddly enough, societies tend to change over time, a rather agitating habit, isn’t it?  However the key point is that artistic expression does not exist solely on the basis of entertaining an audience when the audience permits it.To reiterate, entertainment exists in order to capture one’s attention.  But art, along with its diverse forms, simply exists in order to exist.  So by principle its expression does not need approval by outer forces in order to be manifested.  This indicates that artistic expression has every right to be disruptive, soothing, bland, or anything else.  That’s why it’s art.

      • Get over yourself. There’s a line between artistic expression and then simply being rude. So what if societies change over time? That is neither here nor there when talking about being disruptive. 

        But hey, I’d love to hear that expression in the real world. 

        “I’m sorry, your honor, I wasn’t dancing in that area people were using and being a public nuisance, it was art!” 

        Base point – it’s not entertainment when you’re being selfish and taking up a study room that people are trying to use, for jumping about, probably causing damage to tables and furniture. How selfish. 

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