Pole’s possibilities — and baggage

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (07.23.2015)

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Pole possibilities print PDF

Pole possibilities print PDF

Poles are becoming increasingly popular in exercise and modern dance. In a preview to a modern dance performance by a group of women in Greater Lafayette, I explored the way they used the pole to open up vertical space on the dance floor and find new movement vocabulary by mixing this aerial technique with jazz and ballet.

You’ll also notice another angle to this story. Because so many associate pole dancing exclusively with strip clubs, many of the women in this story asked that I use their stage names for fear that their participation would damage their professional reputations. I did — after consulting with my editors — and used it as an opportunity to explain to readers this angle of the art form.

Story through opera & dance

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (03.31.2016)

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"Dido and Aeneas" print PDF

“Dido and Aeneas” print PDF

Choreographer Mark Morris’ production of “Dido and Aeneas” offered incredibly rich material for me to dive into. His version, which sets dance to Henry Purcell’s famous opera with the singers and orchestra just off stage, premiered in 1989.

So suffice it to say that “Dido and Aeneas” has been covered many times by the press. The freshest angle I could take was to write about Morris’ vision and how the current performers interpreted it and fused their performances into one point of view — even though they can’t see one another.

Answering a hot-button column

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (12.06.2015)

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JC- (w) Exponent column

Exponent column PDF

The then-opinions editor at The Purdue Exponent — an independent mostly student-run newspaper that covers Purdue University — unleashed a biting column about the school’s performing arts and culture presenting organization.

Purdue Convocations, he said, catered more to families, jazz fans and young children more than it did its own students. His piece drew a fierce backlash from the community not only because of its premise but also because he degraded downtown Lafayette.

I pitched to my editors an idea for answering column that contextualized the situation and pointed out some faulty premises without calling out the student. While this piece shows just 85 Facebook shares, it garnered many comments across a few social media platforms and still comes up in personal conversations.