As our faculty, students, and staff prepare for an unusual spring quarter of remote teaching and learning, the lyrics to Barbra Streisand’s “People” keep swimming through my mind. “People, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world.” In a world facing an international pandemic, it seems that now is the time when we need to rely on our people, and we are lucky to have the incredible connection of people through the UCI Arts community. Connection can be a phone call, a virtual meeting, a solo performance, a shared piece of art, or a fun social media post. It means staying connected in a virtual world during this period of isolation.

This week the Claire Trevor School of the Arts (CTSA) launched #UCIArtsAnywhere, a social media campaign responding to restrictions and changes in the face of COVID-19. The goal is to keep our UCI Arts community connected and to share the ongoing creative and academic work happening at CTSA.
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An important update from Dean Barker

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, we want to keep you, our valued supporters and community members, updated on how the Claire Trevor School of the Arts (CTSA) in collaboration with the greater UCI community are responding. We are working diligently to quickly adapt to the rapidly developing circumstances in order to protect our students, staff, faculty, patrons, and the world-class academic and creative work we do at CTSA.

Below are some courses of action we are currently implementing;

  • All CTSA courses will be taught online for the spring quarter; including studio, laboratory, seminar, and larger classes.
  • All performances, exhibitions, and events have been postponed, canceled, or will be reimagined in virtual ways.
  • All CTSA staff and faculty are working remotely, for the next few weeks or until further notice.

Even though our efforts are temporarily shifting to a remote and digital platform, our community of
Read More: An important update from Dean Barker

COVID-19 Update | Spring Quarter Arts Events

March 12, 2020

While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at UCI at this time, the greatest priority at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts (CTSA) is the health and well-being of our students, faculty, audiences, and staff. CTSA is taking all appropriate precautions as it monitors the public health concerns with campus leaders and in collaboration with the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA).

In keeping with the decision released by UCI, attendance at all CTSA productions for the Spring 2020 quarter will be audience-free.

If you have purchased a ticket through our box office, you will receive an email shortly with instructions to receive a refund or to donate your ticket purchase.
Read More: COVID-19 Update | Spring Quarter Arts Events

Anteaters in the Arts: Michelle Caumiant Zehnder

Michelle Caumiant Zehnder, B.A. Dance, ’76, continues to inspire students with clever choreography and carefully crafted lesson plans. Zehnder has taught ballet and jazz for the past nine years at the OASIS Senior Center of Newport Beach, for students ages 50 and up. Zehnder states that “it is a joyful experience to be able to dance and see the enthusiastic faces of my students, who feel pleased to take a class.”

Zehnder credits professors at UCI in the ’70s, James Penrod, Janice Plastino, and Antony Tudor, for awakening her love of dance. She enjoys choreographing for classmates and being inspired by their pieces. Zehnder recalls surprising moments at UCI, such as when a T.A. suggested thinking of being in church to feel calm and thus achieve balance on pointe. She remembers that Plastino nurtured individuality, Tudor graciously imparted his experience in the dance world, and Penrod encouraged kindness by example.

Having taught all ages, Zehnder says that seniors
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Faculty Research: Embodying Humanity

What if dance could make us all better people? S. Ama Wray, associate professor of dance, believes it can.
“The world needs dance to connect with our bodies in terms of rhythm (since the constraints of time impact everything), and to connect with empathy to one another,” Wray says. “These things are innate with dance, and though they might sound trivial, these interstitial qualities in our humanity are sorely missing today.”

While her expertise in jazz and improvisation techniques makes her an internationally in-demand artist and scholar, Wray sees elements of her work applying to fields outside of dance. Through her nonprofit JazzXchange, she aims to use the principles of jazz performance to help people connect with their own creativity — and with each other.

Recently, Wray led a series of classes for the UCI community, teaching participants to use movement and patterned time to cope with
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Dance Visions 2020 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre

Dance Visions 2020 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre

Irvine, Calif., February 5, 2020 – The Department of Dance at the University of California, Irvine, presents Dance Visions, a concert showcasing choreographic works by UCI Dance Faculty, at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, February 20-22, 2020. The artistic directors for this year’s production are Dance Department Chair Molly Lynch and Tong Wang. Esteemed choreographers presenting original works include Distinguished Professor Lar Lubovitch, Charlotte Griffin, Loretta Livingston, and Chad Michael Hall. The concert will also include excerpts of the romantic ballet La Sylphide, restaged by Tong Wang and choreographed by August Bournonville in 1836.

Dance Visions includes both graduate and undergraduate dancers and presents different styles of dance, including modern, contemporary, and classical ballet. This concert is a wonderful opportunity for students to engage with their professors, many of whom
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Student Research: Jehbreal Jackson

New Tools for School

Students at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts explore the human experience through a variety of creative avenues by using skills as classically trained fine artists, but also through emerging technology and media. Students from all four departments have access to a range of media that allows them to reshape how art is created and experienced. We asked a few students who are utilizing these tools and spaces to share with us.

For this article, we interviewed Jehbreal Jackson from the Department of Dance.

Jehbreal Jackson

Department of Dance
M.F.A. in Dance, William J. Gillespie Ballet Scholar
Anticipated graduation, Spring 2020

Career Goals: "I want to create original story ballets for the film medium that are beneficial
Read More: Student Research: Jehbreal Jackson