SMU dance students and Dallas Chamber Symphony perform live to silent classic <em>Metropolis</em> at Dallas VideoFest Oct. 13, 2015

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SMU dance students and Dallas Chamber Symphony perform live to silent classic Metropolis at Dallas VideoFest Oct. 13, 2015

Metropolis banner - SMU Dance, Dallas Chamber Symphony, Dallas Video Fest

Fourteen SMU dancers, all first-year students, will perform with the Dallas Chamber Symphony during a very special presentation of director Fritz Lang’s 1927 dystopian masterpiece, Metropolis.

During a screening of the 82-minute silent film classic, the students will provide an interactive dance performance choreographed by Associate Professor Christopher Dolder, with a new score by Austin-based film composer Brian Satterwhite performed live by the Dallas Chamber Symphony. The event is part of opening-night festivities for the 2015 Dallas VideoFest and begins Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. at Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora Street, in downtown Dallas.

> Learn more about the Dallas VideoFest at videofest.org

Often named as the first science fiction epic in film history, Metropolis is especially vivid in its portrayal of the disruptive effects of technological innovation and the social and economic stratifications it creates, as well as of civil liberties issues such as free speech, privacy and surveillance.

Metropolis is one of the great achievements of the silent era, a work so audacious in its vision and so angry in its message that it is, if anything, more powerful today than when it was made,” wrote the late Roger Ebert in a 1985 review.

> Learn more about Metropolis at IMDb

“Audiences have always been able to relate to these themes as new advances create new groups of haves and have-nots,” Dolder says. “Even today, 90 years later, they remain fresh and relevant.”

The film’s camera work, design and special effects are still haunting and evocative, and the staging of both crowd scenes and lead actors is “strikingly balletic [in] the repetitive synchronism of the working poor, as well as [its] portrayals of dance and artificial intelligence,” as noted in a Dallas Chamber Symphony release.

These elements and more make Metropolis fertile ground for a multidisciplinary collaboration between high art and high tech, Dolder says. “The trick for us will be to create a cohesive experience, where the new score and the dance element serve and enhance the film without distracting,” he adds.

> Christopher Dolder talks about Metropolis with KERA’s “Art & Seek”

The film’s otherworldly atmosphere is enhanced not only by the music, set and dancers, but also by the strategic projection of video elements from the film, isolated onto the dancers and set, Dolder says. He created and painted the intricate series of risers on which his students will perform – and made a point not to ask for their help, he adds.

“When we started this project, I told them I was going to treat them as professional dancers helping to create a new work,” he says. “In return, I expected them to prepare and conduct themselves in the same way.”

The approach has worked, Dolder says. “These first-year students may be the best class of dancers we’ve had – and we’ve consistently attracted talented, intelligent classes,” he says.

> Metropolis preview by Michael Granberry in The Dallas Morning News

“Each year, we try and accomplish something new, and more daring,” says Richard McKay, the DSC’s artistic director and conductor. “It is our ensemble’s adventurous culture that has motivated [us] to start the season with Metropolis – by far, the most complex and expansive production we have ever created.”

Individual tickets are available for $19-$55 each, $15 for students. VIP tickets can be purchased for $75, which will include a pre-event cocktail reception backstage with the artists, starting at 7 p.m. An after party will be hosted by Proof + Pantry, across the street from the theater, with complimentary appetizers for all patrons who would like to meet the composer and performers. Get tickets and more information online at DCSymphony.org, or call 214-449-1294.

> Find event information and purchase tickets at the Dallas Chamber Symphony website,

Texas churches help SMU mark its centennial with ringing of bells

United Methodist churches across Texas honored the SMU centennial by ringing their bells at noon on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015 — the 100th anniversary of the first day of classes on the Hilltop.

The bells rang 10 times, once for each decade of SMU’s existence, followed by celebratory peals. In addition, members of SMU’s Carillon Guild performed 100 mathematical sequences from the University carillon in the cupola atop Fondren Science Building.

The commemoration ceremony began at 10 a.m. with a change ringing ceremony, a celebratory bell tradition that dates to the Middle Ages. In “change ringing,” the bells produce a series of mathematical patterns called “changes” rather than a conventional melody.

The following 30 United Methodist churches participated in the bell ringing:

  • Chinn’s Chapel UMC, Lewisville
  • Custer Road UMC, Plano
  • First UMC Celina
  • First UMC Coppell
  • First UMC Dallas
  • First UMC Frisco
  • First UMC Gainesville
  • First UMC Grand Prairie
  • First UMC Irving
  • First UMC Lancaster
  • First UMC Richardson
  • First UMC Sherman
  • First UMC Sulphur Springs
  • First UMC Terrell
  • First UMC Tom Bean
  • First UMC Wichita Falls
  • Forestburg UMC
  • Grace UMC, Sherman
  • Highland Park UMC
  • Lovers Lane UMC
  • New Covenant UMC, Mesquite
  • Paradise UMC
  • Pleasant Valley UMC, Sachse
  • Plymouth Park UMC, Irving
  • Poetry UMC, Terrell
  • Ridgewood Park UMC, Irving
  • Saint Jo UMC
  • Whitewright/Marvin UMC
October 2, 2015|News|

Wading Home opera marks an SMU Meadows-guided community collaboration between Dallas and New Orleans

'Wading Home' photoTo observe the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, SMU is participating in a community collaboration that commemorates the event in music. Wading Home, an opera set against the backdrop of the historic storm, opens for a one-night-only free performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 in Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora Street. The show was performed in New Orleans on Sept. 12-13 at Loyola University’s Roussel Hall.

The story of a young musician’s struggle to find his missing father in the chaotic aftermath of the hurricane, Wading Home is based on the novel of the same name by Dallas author and violinist Rosalyn Story. The opera, composed by Dallas musician Mary Alice Rich, is produced in collaboration with several Meadows School of the Arts faculty members and students, as well as community members from Dallas and New Orleans.

The opera is a dream project for Meadows Professor of Voice Barbara Hill Moore, who is serving as producer and music director. The stage director is Meadows Director of Opera Hank Hammett, and the conductor is Constantina Tsolainou, former head of choral activities at the Meadows School.

“I am intensely proud of the amazing gifts of time, talent, and love of the human family and spirit, shared without compensation by SMU faculty, staff, students and alumni in this collaborative project with Loyola University and the people of New Orleans,” says Hill Moore. “The three performances of Wading Home are a community collaboration shared by Texans, Louisianans, New Yorkers, South Africans and a host of people from around the globe with the people of New Orleans and of Dallas.”

Baritone and Meadows alumnus Donnie Ray Albert (M.M. ’75) sings the role of the lost father, Simon. Other leading roles in the Dallas performance include established opera singers and Meadows alumni Leon Turner (M.M. ’92) as Julian, Simon’s musician son, and Bronwen Forbay (Artist Diploma ’04) as Velmyra, Julian’s former love who helps him reconnect with his Louisiana roots and his lost father. Also sharing the stage is Quintin Coleman (M.M. ’15, Performer’s Diploma ’17) as Julian’s trumpeter friend Grady, with whom Julian has lost touch during the years he has been performing around the globe as a famous jazz musician. Dance alumnus Jamal Story (B.F.A. Dance Performance and B.A. Corporate Communications ’99) will also perform.

The SMU Meadows new music ensemble SYZYGY, led by Meadows Director of Chamber Music and three-time Grammy winner Matt Albert, will play live. Also onstage for the Dallas performance will be the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas.

The performances have been produced with support from the Dallas-based organization The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL), with funding from the Meadows School of the Arts and the Bruce R. Foote Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

> Read the full story from the SMU Meadows homepage

September 15, 2015|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News|

SMU faculty to help lead immigration history conference at Dallas’ Old Red Museum Sept. 19, 2015

Immigrants going through San Angelo, Texas - early photograph, Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photography Collection

A photo by M.C. Ragsdale ca. 1885-90 of immigrants passing through San Angelo, Texas. From the Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photography Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU.

The challenging task of teaching a controversial subject to middle- and high-school students will be the focus of an upcoming immigration conference featuring several University faculty members.

SMU and the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture are partnering with Humanities Texas and the Texas Historical Commission to present a conference on the history of U.S. immigration from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 at the museum.

“Issues surrounding immigration are at the forefront of public discourse these days,” said Zac Harmon, executive director of the Old Red Museum. “Statistics and beliefs are strongly held but are often mistaken for facts. This conference will provide documented, factual information for teachers, politicians and other citizens who really want to understand the issue. We are grateful to the Philip R. Jonsson Foundation for sponsoring this first of what we hope will become an annual conference.”

Conference participants can choose to hear two of six speakers scheduled during the morning session. Lunch and a keynote address by Margaret Spellings, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center and former secretary of education (2005-09), will follow.

Afternoon breakout sessions will provide teachers with lesson plans, materials and strategies to help them make history come alive for students of all grade levels. Teachers attending both sessions can earn six Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.

Topics and speakers include:

  • “D/FW Becoming an Immigrant Gateway” – Caroline Brettell, University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Ruth Collins Altshuler Director of SMU’s Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute
  • “Gone To Texas: Immigration to the Lone Star State in the 19th Century” – Gregg Cantrell, Emma and Ralph Lowe Chair of Texas History, TCU
  • “Immigration and the Changing Face of America” – Neil Foley, Robert and Nancy Dedman Chair in History, Dedman College
  • “Visualizing the Changing Landscape of U.S. Immigration” – Kyle Walker, assistant professor of population and urban geography, TCU
  • “Managing Migration in an Era of Globalization” – James F. Hollifield, Ora Nixon Arnold Professor of International Political Economy and director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies
  • “Immigration and the Changing Demography of Liberal Democracies” – Gary Freeman, professor of government, University of Texas-Austin

Registration, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch, parking, materials and access to the exhibit area, is $25 and can be completed online at www.oldred.org. For information, contact Shannon Page at the Old Red Museum, 214-757-1927.

Written by Kenny Ryan

September 2, 2015|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News|

2015 Common Reading author Emily St. John Mandel to speak at SMU Wednesday, Sept. 9

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, North American coverEmily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, the 2015 SMU Common Reading selection, will present a free lecture at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at McFarlin Auditorium. The entire community is invited to attend.

Station Eleven is set 20 years after a virus has killed almost all humanity. The main characters are a traveling troupe of actors and musicians who bring performances of Shakespeare to the small and struggling human settlements that remain. The novel tells the story of the global disaster in real time and of its survivors 20 years later.

Community members, alumni, book lovers and book clubs are invited to join SMU Reads, a program that encourages reading and supports literacy in the Dallas community. SMU Reads participants can take part in other events planned by the University’s SMU Reads partner, the Dallas Public Library.

By registering to take part in SMU Reads, you will receive regular e-mails informing you about special events and gatherings. In addition, you also will qualify to purchase Station Eleven at a 10 percent discount through the SMU Barnes & Noble bookstore.

Upcoming events include survivalist training at REI, urban emergency preparedness from Dallas County health leaders at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library and a pop-up performance of King Lear performed by Shakespeare Dallas.

Partners in SMU Reads include Big D Reads, Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, Dallas Public Library, Dallas Social Venture Partners, Deep Vellum, Friends of the SMU Libraries, Highland Hotel, Highland Park Library, Highland Park Literary Festival, Richardson Public Library, Shakespeare Dallas, SMU Alumni Relations, the SMU Barnes and Noble Bookstore, University Park Public Library, Well Read Women of Dallas, and Wild Detectives.

For more details about events and to preregister for Mandel’s lecture visit smu.edu/smureads.

Written by Nancy George

> Visit the SMU Common Reading website

September 2, 2015|Calendar Highlights, News|
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