Hopkins Center promises season exploring the idea of 'home'

by Elise Higgins | 9/13/18 2:00am

In the upcoming 2018-19 season from the Hopkins Center for the Arts, performances will examine a common theme of global diaspora and the idea of “home,” said Rebecca Bailey, publicity coordinator and writer for the Hop. Many of the guest artists will demonstrate unique and commonly underepresented experiences and identities through shows that range from multimedia dance performances to stand-up comedy.

Bailey said the concept of where one calls “home” is important, especially in today’s world when so many people are moving between cultures and creating new relationships. In these new environments, interesting fusions take place, she said. This fusion is demonstrated in upcoming multi-media performance “Written in Water” by Ragamala Dance Company.” Incorporating classical Indian dance and both Hindu and Islamic poetry, the dance group will also explore the intersection between traditional performance and digital media. Furthermore, while the company is a traditional Indian dance group, it is based in Minnesota, creating an interesting question of origin..

Himadri Narasimhamurthy ’20 said she is particularly excited about Ragamala coming to perform at the Hop because Indian classical dance is not shown very often outside of India. Narasimhamurthy is a member of Raaz, Dartmouth’s South Asian dance group, and has been dancing her entire life.

“I think it’s really cool that this kind of dance is being represented on a more mainstream level at a Hop performance,” Narasimhamurthy said.

In the winter, the Hop will feature a performance of “Barber Shop Chronicles,” presenting stories of those from the African diaspora reconvening across cultures in a London barber shop. Additionally, indigenous artists who may feel displaced in country that is no longer theirs are finding ways to tell their own stories through art forms including music, poetry and theater during “Indigenous Rising: An Evening of NextGen Native Artists.”

When choosing groups to perform, program directors at the Hop not only strive to bring artists based on audiences’ interests, but also to showcase work by Dartmouth students or artists commissioned by the College, Hop director of external affairs Michael Bodel said.

Bodel said that the balance between bringing in outside acts while also showcasing student work is important, and that the Hop strives to connect the region and the academic community.

“The Hop is unique in that it both serves a fairly rural region and draws a wide swath of people from the surrounding 80 miles, but also provides a place for students to create work,” Bodel said.

A new addition to the Hop’s various galleries that are used to exhibit student art work and visting artists is The Booth, located across from the mailboxes where phone boxes used to exist. Exhibiting submitted student artwork, the space provides a less traditional method of engaging with art while also utilizing an area of the Hop left outdated by modern technology.

Student performance groups will also be active at the Hop this fall, including the Dartmouth College Gospel Choir, the Dartmouth College Glee Club, the Handel Society of Dartmouth College and the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra. Student groups will also be collaborating with one another, as with the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble and the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble. The DSO, the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble and the Dartmouth Opera Laboratory will all be celebrating Leonard Bernstein, an American composer and conductor, for the 100th anniversary of his birth.

While students are able to participate through performance at the Hop, there are also many other types of opportunities for them to engage with different performers and art forms. The Hop brings performers to the Dartmouth community, and community members can engage with the artists through workshops in addition to seeing the performances or work they create, Bailey said.

“The arts need to, and can, help inform a liberal arts education,” Bodel said. “But also the arts greatly benefit from the ideas and thinking and other academic opportunities that are happening, so it’s a two-way street.”