Where does the Urge to Dance Come From

Many artists refer to a spirit within that defines and drives their need to move, to create, to dance. It is this spirit that is explored in the evocative Smithsonian traveling photography exhibition The Dancer Within. The Dance Program at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, led by Dr. Miriam Giguere, has been instrumental in bringing this acclaimed exhibition to the University.The character and vitality of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jacques d’Amboise, José Greco, Bill T. Jones, Ann Reinking, Chita Rivera, Russ Tamblyn, Tommy Tune, and dozens of other choreographers and dancers are captured in revealing portraits and dramatic performance shots. Interview excerpts documenting the dancers’ candid reflections on life, work and passion accompany each photograph, providing a rare glimpse at the inner workings of the artists.Featuring 48 color and black-and-white photographs by dancer-turned-photojournalist Rose Eichenbaum, the exhibition will be on view at Drexel’s Rincliffe Gallery, third floor Main Building (32nd and Chestnut Streets) April 25 through June 21. The Dancer Within, from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), will continue on a national tour through 2010. A gallery talk with Eichenbaum will be held, Thursday, April 30 at 5:30 p.m. This free talk will take place in the Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery, third floor, Main Building (32nd and Chestnut Streets).An award-winning photographer, Eichenbaum has photographed some of this country’s most respected dance companies, including Baryshnikov’s White Oak Project, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Tango Argentino, Les Grands Ballet Canadian de Montreal and many others. Her photos and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher and Dance Spirit. Her books include The Number on My Grandfather’s Arm (UAHC Press) and Masters of Movement—Portraits of America’s Great Choreographers (Smithsonian Books). Photography students from Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design will exhibit dance photography work in the Mandell Theater lobby, May 25 through 29 (33rd and Chestnut Streets) after participating in a workshop with Eichenbaum on May 1.A companion book complements the national traveling exhibition. The Dancer Within: Intimate Conversations with Great Dancers was published in spring 2009 by Wesleyan University Press. The exhibition at Drexel is curated by Jacqueline DeGroff, curator of The Drexel Collection™. The collection was started in 1891 by the University’s founder Anthony J. Drexel. It includes nineteenth-century European paintings and a rare Chippendale tall-case clock by David Rittenhouse, considered to be one of the most complex clocks in the world.The Dancer Within was created by Eichenbaum, organized for travel by SITES and made possible through the generous support of United Dance Merchants of America, presenter of National Dance Week. Additional support has been provided by The Enchanted Garden Conservatory of Music, Dance & Drama in Ridgefield, CT. This project is also supported by the PEW Center for Arts & Heritage through Dance Advance.The dance major at Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design has a unique curriculum design and focus. Rather than focusing on training performers, this program combines rigorous academic coursework with extensive stage and studio dance experiences to prepare students for two possible career paths within dance, dance/movement therapy, and dance in education.News Media Contacts:Zeek Weil, director of communication, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design 215-895-2629 or zw36@drexel.eduNiki Gianakaris, director, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell) or ngianakaris@drexel.edu