Thursday October 22, 2015

It's Your Nature

University of Dayton first-year students will experience Dayton Ballet’s performance of Romeo and Juliet as they explore nature under the third annual Rites. Rights. Writes. series.

The series brings artists to campus and offers concerts, performances and exhibitions while challenging students to engage artistically and academically with the theme, “It’s Your Nature.”

“The concept of Rites. Rights. Writes. is based on the mission of the University and the essential question that we ask our students to think about: What does it mean to be human?” said Richard Chenoweth, Graul Endowed Chair in the Arts and Languages.

“Another goal of the series is to connect students to the community. Going to college is not about just checking off a bunch of boxes and getting a degree, at least not at the University of Dayton,” said Chenoweth. “The arts experience is a shared community experience. It leaves a deep impression.”

The “It’s Your Nature” theme is open to interpretation, Chenoweth said, because “the word ‘nature’ can hold a variety of meanings.”

It raises the questions: How does our understanding of nature make us human, as in human nature? How does being natural reflect our talents and gifts? And, what is the nature of science, of philosophy, of anything?

The special ballet performance on April 3, which will feature the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, will be the series’ culminating event for an estimated 2,000 first-year students. The Schuster Center performance follows classroom study of the art form and the ballet itself around the series theme.  

“Working with the University allows our performances to have an impact that goes well beyond a single weekend, as the academic collaboration provides context for and connections to the chosen work that would not otherwise be possible,” said Paul Helfrich, president and CEO of the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance.

Romeo and Juliet will also be explored through free events open to the public, including:

* Music to Hear, 8 p.m. March 10, Sears Recital Hall. A recital featuring original works composed by Joseph Summer and musical settings of Shakespearean texts. Part of the Joseph and Lisa Summer music residency.

* Love, Censorship, Art and the State: Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, 10 a.m. March 30, Sears Recital Hall. A panel discussion.

“It’s Your Nature” also includes new partnerships with local organizations and artists.

Students have free admission to the Dayton Art Institute, and faculty and staff accompanying students are also admitted to exhibitions, lectures and panels at no cost.

Award-winning sculptor and musician Michael Bashaw is partnering with faculty and staff throughout the year as the University’s first sustainability artist-in-residence. Bashaw, a local artist, will challenge the campus community to think about the environment in new ways.

A complete list of events and more information on program partners is available online.

For more information, contact Meagan Pant, assistant director of news and communications, at 937-229-3256 or mpant1@udayton.edu.

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