Theatre Arts & Dance Department

Facing Our Truth

"It’s no secret that race is a hard thing to talk about in any community. There are always implications and any word can be a dagger used to destroy the initial speaker.  In February, the Sonoma State University theater arts and dance department, in collaboration with Black Scholars United and The HUB, have found a way to change that with the power of the stage. In less than a month,“Facing Our Truth” will help open up this typically tough conversation topic".

Read More via Sonoma State Star


Theatre News

Inspiration for HEROINES
by Jane Erwin Hammett

HEROINES came about when my colleague Lynne Morrow asked me to put together operetta scenes for what we knew would be mostly a female cast. The music of operetta is glorious, and offers many vocal treasures for young voices. Dramatically, however, the genre has been considered mostly comic or even frivolous. Yet taken as a whole, and spanning over 50 years, the operettas and musicals which comprise HEROINES reflect the changing roles of women in society from the late 19th to the early 20th century. We thought this important time in women's history would make an interesting frame for our material.

As I put the selections together, I realized that one could discern the gradual shift of women's roles from strictly wife and mother through different stages: 1) an awakening to their lack of power within a male paradigm; 2) an awareness of how lousy that feels; 3) different ways women developed to cope, manipulate or wheedle to gain more power; and 4) a more aggressive and ultimately destructive path in which the whole system gets taken down. So the show, while comprised of mostly delightful and amusing pieces (there are a few important exceptions to this), tracks this change in society.

Ultimately, HEROINES is about having a say in what happens to you. In my mind, this is what the struggle has been about, literally through the women’s suffrage movement (although not addressed in the show), but also the fight for recognition, independence and true equality. The colorful characters of our revue are drawn from various operettas or musical theatre pieces, plucked from their stories and united together to face their journey and struggle together.  These brave heroines emerge with a new manifesto for getting and keeping that agency for their own lives. Hope you enjoy the show!

HEROINES runs Feb. 5 through Feb. 15 in Person Theatre. TICKETS

Dance News

Spring Dance 2014 – “A wild ride!”

“I am honored to have directed the Sonoma State University Student Dance Concert for a second time. Once again I find myself incredibly inspired and challenged by the fifteen student choreographers whose work you will experience this evening.

All of the pieces you will see are deeply personal to the choreographers, yet universally
meaningful. The concert reflects the diverse culture of SSU arts as well as the rigor and creative talent that exists within the student body and faculty.

Spring Dance, though lead by faculty and staff, is a student-run event from choreography to light and costume design, to stage management and crew: the students really make it happen.

The choreographers have explored a wide range of themes and concepts to create their
work often crossing disciplines and always collaborating. Utilizing a diverse range of dance styles including modern, lyrical, contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, tap, tango, ballet and more, choreographers have also taken on social, political and environmental concerns inside of their work. They are asking questions and developing their creative voices through powerfully sophisticated choreography.

I am excited to also share a work on this evening’s program. Suspect, which opens the show was set on Sonoma State dancers and given the opportunity for adjudication at The American College Dance Association (ACDA) at Arizona State University in March 2014. Suspect was one of twelve from 48 pieces selected for the closing night Gala Concert. This was a great honor for me as a choreographer and teacher, and honestly, I owe the accomplishment to the performers and the dynamic and evolving SSU dance program directed by Kristen Daley.

These fifteen student works have resonated beyond the theater for all involved and I hope it will resonate with you. I am honored to witness the evolution of these young dance artists and excited to have them share their evocative, humorous and fresh creative voices with you this evening. You are in for a wild ride!”

--Christine Cali