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Diversity: Capoeira and Kung Fu in Dance

Diversity: Capoeira and Kung Fu in Dance

: Photo by Jenisa Ubben.

Diversity in action: dance met martial arts last fall in a class on Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and Brazilian Capoeira, as reported by Jenisa Ubben [AR ‘13].

PICTURE: Cornish dance students work with Kung Fu and Capoeiora; photo by Jenisa Ubben.

Dancers are always on the lookout for new modes of movement and new ways of thinking about the body. This past fall, as reported by Jenisa Ubben in Cornish’s Diversity News, Cornish students worked in a class centered on Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and Brazilian Capoeira.

“Dance doesn’t just draw from one pool of movement,” says Ubben, who will graduate from Cornish this spring. “So many world traditions and histories have ‘body language’ that speaks to dancers. Movement can be used by other kinds of artists too. At Cornish, there’s opportunity for a Performance Production student or a Visual Art student to draw meaning from a wider cultural understanding of movement also.”

Open Jenisa Ubben’s article Capoeira and Kung Fu in Dance.

Jenisa, in addition to her studies in art, works for the office of the provost. It is in this capacity that she works with diversity on campus, especially as the writer for Diversity News on the Cornish site. “The fact that Cornish offers a class on Capoeira and Kung Fu,” says Ubben, “speaks about cultural diversity in the things we learn, but I think it’s more interesting how we’ve drawn a connection between the wisdom of two cultural traditions and two sets of history, and brought out elements from both that can apply to contemporary artists, whether they are “dancers” or not. That’s something special.”

Diversity is both a goal in itself and a agent of growth at Cornish. According to the school’s Diversity Committee: “Cornish College of the Arts is enriched by a diverse population of students every year, bringing their unique personalities and voices to their art forms. Placed in the vibrant city of Seattle, artists thrive among the wide variety of people and broad spectrum of creative thought that surrounds us.”


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