Awesome Ark Arts

hat kind of art do you want to see tonight? Rhythm tap? Improv? A cappella? Or perhaps slightly more cultural fare--ballet or Indian dance, or simply listen to some spoken word poetry.

Arts in the Ark, which runs through tonight, is a collaboration of them all: dance, music, and drama. The event, now in its third year, is sponsored by Momentum, a Duke dance club. Heather Neuman, a Momentum member, says "Momentum started it for a few reasons--the main one being that we wanted to get our name out as a new club.... We thought that if we added DUI, a cappella groups, etc.--whose performances are already very popular and whose names students recognize--that more people would come."

The strategy has proven effective as Arts in the Ark has grown in popularity with students and participating groups alike. "It's always one of our best shows of the year with a fantastic crowd. It's great to have so many artistic entities come together, and the Ark is a fantastic, open space to perform in," says DUI member Seth Weitberg.

The Ark's open space is currently used for dance classes and as a rehearsal space for dance groups and performances. It's one of Duke's oldest buildings, built in 1898, and was actually one of Cameron's precursors--it originally housed the Duke basketball gym, and then a bowling alley and a dining hall before becoming a dance studio.

Although there are a variety of artists and groups performing, including DUI, The Pitchforks, Out of the Blue and Dave Widders, the evening is devoted largely to dance. Featured groups include On Tap, Indian Dance, Ballet Repertory, and Dance Slam. For some of these groups, this will be their first performance of the year.

Danceslam, one of Duke's newest dance groups, will be performing for the first time this year. Member Brita Erickson says of her group's participation, "It's people with a wide variety of dance backgrounds, from dance team to classical dance, coming together to have fun and create new dances. It's just really fun. I'm excited to see all the different talents we have at Duke coming together. I haven't had many chances to perform at Duke, so I'm really excited to be part of Arts in the Ark."

Others, such as Ballet Repertory, are dancers from the Duke Dance department, and will dance a piece choreographed by teacher M'liss Dorrance. Dancer Emily Holt said, "It is a beautiful piece. Our group performs in December Dances every year, but we really enjoy the opportunity to dance in the Arts in the Ark event because it gives us a chance to combine our efforts and talents with other performers in the Duke community."

Paul Downs of DUI echoed that statement, saying "Not only is there a great deal of spirit in the space, with its age and history, but the coming together of various art forms is rare and wonderful. I had never seen some of the other groups, and because of this collaboration was able to learn just how much hidden talent there is at Duke. I wish art and talent were showcased like this more often."

Arts in the Ark runs through tonight, beginning at 8pm in The Ark

on East Campus.


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