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URMC / Arts in Mind / History of AIM Events

History of AIM Events


UR Dance Program Recently Held Events Earlier AIM Events

UR Dance Program

The AIM project is delighted and proud to support the inspireDANCE program--a 1-week period each winter that is designed to celebrate dance and community and to connect dancers and movers not only on our campus but with the local dance community as well. It aims to develop dance literacy, increase knowledge, build confidence, create and deepen relationships, and enhance education. The program consists of more than 25 different classes and workshops (taught by professional guest dance educators and the entire Program of Dance and Movement faculty), both student and professional performances, and various community dance events such as Swing Dance and Salsa Dance evenings and an inspireJAM bboy/bgirl battle. At its core, inspireDANCE is a celebration and vehicle for exposure to the art of dance for the college community and the Rochester community. inspireDance continues to be an eye-opening opportunity for our student community, often aided by the highlighted feature performance by a professional dance troupe from NYC. AIM serves as a collaborating host of this special visit and performance each year. Special thanks, and kudos, to Missy Pfohl Smith; Director, Program of Dance and Movement. Learn more about UR Dance.

  • 2018: MBDance --  dying and dying and dying.  This year, inspireDance finished with a special performance by MBDance. Gibney Dance commissioned the New York premier of their latest evening-length work dying and dying and dying, September 14-16, 2017. Maria Bauman created the work in response to the need she recognized for time and context to slow down and to experience restoration within a capitalist climate which is depleting all of us. Maria Bauman began MBDance in 2007 to create honest and bold artistic dances from a sense of physical and emotional power, an insistence on equity, and a fascination with intimacy and relationship.
    Participant Comments

  • 2017: Dance Heginbotham (DH) is a New York-based contemporary dance company with an emphasis on collaboration whose work enriches national and international communities with its unique blend of inventive, thoughtful, and rigorous dance theater works. Founded in 2011, DH has quickly established itself as one of the most adventurous and exciting new companies on the contemporary dance scene, and is celebrated for its vibrant athleticism, humor, and theatricality, as well as its commitment to collaboration.

  • 2016:  Jane Comfort & Company – Beauty.  Highlight of the inspireDance was a multi-disciplinary dance work and panel that provocatively explored the American notion of female beauty through the lens of Barbie. Jane Comfort, called by the New York Times “a postmodernist pioneer in the use of verbal material in dance,” addresses contemporary social and cultural issues with compassion and wit. The company is an extraordinary group of dancers, actors and singers whose multiple talents allow Jane Comfort to create deeply layered works utilizing a wide range of theatrical elements, from pure dance to chanted texts, a capella singing, film, lip-syncing, cross dressing, acted scenes and puppetry.

  • 2015:  Doug Elkins Choreography—Mo(or)town/Redux, highlight of the week, performed an outstanding work based upon Shakespeare’s Othello and danced to a collage of Motown songs, followed by a panel discussion with guest artists and UR/ESM faculty to to place the work in cultural context.  

Recently Held Events

  • Photo-Journalism: National Geographic Photographer--Alison Wright  "Photographing with Passion and Purpose: a Cultural and Medical Journey"   -- Monday, April 30, 2018, 7:30PM
    Free for all in the UR community—2 presentations as noted below.
    Part 1: URMC-Class of ‘62 Aud.: 12:00 noon
    Part 2: Campus—Wegmans 1400: 3:30 PM

    The Arts in Mind (AIM) project enters a new mission in photojournalism—an integration of artistic and academic disciplines that serves to reveal, chronicle, and sometimes intervene in important events and conditions around the globe. Journey around the world with Alison Wright as she shares images and insights that document indigenous cultures and the human condition, often in post-disaster conflict areas.

    While on assignment, Alison’s life nearly ended in a devastating bus accident in remote Laos. Her memoir, “Learning to Breathe; One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival,” chronicles an inspirational story of survival, rehabilitation, and determination to restore her career.

    Alison will visit the UR on April 30 to deliver two presentations with different emphasis, so as to share captivating photographs and her unique perspective on the integration of cultural and medical humanities in global communities.

    For more information about Alison Wright
    Photographing with Passion and Purpose: a Cultural and Medical Journey Event Flyer
  • Theater:  One House Over (World Premiere) - GEVA (Wilson Stage) -- Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 7:30PM
    Free for 1st 30 students who register

    When Rafael and Camila Hernandez move in downstairs to help Joanne with her elderly and cantankerous curmudgeon of a father, Joanne breathes a little easier. She needs their help, and they need jobs. But she can’t anticipate the complications that arise when “the help” starts to feel like family…and act like it. A brilliant new comedy by one of today’s hottest playwrights about boundaries, power, privilege and anxiety in a single backyard.

    For more information about One House Over
    One House Over Event Flyer
  • Theater:  The Diary of Anne Frank - GEVA (Wilson Stage) -- Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 6:00PM
    Free for 1st 30 students who register
    The Diary of Anne Frank is one of the most important literary works of the 20th century.  In this powerful new adaptation, Anne Frank emerges from history a bright and talented young girl with the aspirations of any teenager. This impassioned drama about the lives of eight people in hiding from the Nazis in a concealed Amsterdam attic captures the claustrophobic reality of their daily existence. Anne’s story of love, hope, courage and triumph of the human spirit has captivated audiences with its profound message for over 70 years.

    For more information about The Diary of Anne Frank
    The Diary of Anne Frank Event Flyer
    Read a review
  • Theater:  The Agitators (World Premiere) - GEVA (Fielding Stage) -- Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 7:00PM
    Free for 1st 30 students who register

    The Agitators by Mat Smart, tells of the enduring but tempestuous friendship of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. Great allies?  Yes.  And at times, great adversaries. Young abolitionists when they met in Rochester in the 1840s, they were full of hopes, dreams and a common purpose.   As they grew to become the cultural icons we know today, their movements collided and their friendship was severely tested. This is the story of that 45-year friendship – from its beginning in Rochester, through a Civil War and to the highest halls of government. They agitated the nation, they agitated each other and, in doing so, they helped shape the Constitution and the course of American history.

    Participant Comments
    For more information about The Agitators
    The Agitators Event Flyer
  • Fringe Festival 2017:  Within the Quota -- Tuesday, September 19, 2017

    The U.S. may be a nation of immigrants, but it is also a nation of quotas. Congress has repeatedly imposed laws controlling the influx of aliens. Written between 1922–23, Cole Porter’s ballet WITHIN THE QUOTA is a critique of the Emergency Quota Act (1921). TableTopOpera’s new arrangement juxtaposes images and film clips from Porter’s time with material pertaining to current U.S. immigration policies and their effects on the nation. The project is a collaboration between TableTopOpera and the George Eastman Museum.

    Attendance by 25 students from the ‘Art and Politics’ course at the Eastman School of Music (ESM) (Jean Pedersen, PhD, course Director), followed by discussions in class within the curriculum of those courses.

  • George Eastman Museum (Dryden Theater): Art and Politics -- Fall 2017

    The ‘Art and Politics’ course at the ESM (Jean Pedersen, PhD, course Director) attended screenings of Sergei Eisenstein’s Strike (1925) and Aleksandr Dovzhenko’s Earth (1930) as part of our unit on Soviet filmmakers and their responses to the Russian Revolution.  The experience was augmented by in-class discussion in kind.

    The ‘Culture and Crisis’ course (Fall, 2017) at the ESM (Jean Pedersen, PhD, course Director) attended a screening of Sergei Eisenstein’s Strike (1925), within the first War on Film Series at the Dryden, followed by further exploration in class.

    These events proved stimulating and popular, resulting in additional attendance at related screenings independently, with expanded attendance.
    Additional Information from Dr. Pedersen  

  • Theater:  Other than Honorable - GEVA (Main Stage) -- Tuesday, May 2, 2017
    Free for students

    With her husband deployed to an unknown location, lawyer Grace Rattigan, a former Army officer who resigned her commission under sealed terms, must make life-altering decisions on her own. When she reluctantly takes on a military sexual assault case, it re-opens old wounds and forces her to confront her past, along with the real meaning of the military’s codes of honor, courage and loyalty. A hot new drama by award-winning playwright and screenwriter Jamie Pachino, writer of NBC’s “Chicago PD.”

    For more information about Other than Honorable
    Other than Honorable Event Flyer
  • Theater:  Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner - GEVA (Main Stage) -- Tuesday, February 21, 2017
    Free for students

    Joanna surprises her liberal white parents when she brings home John, her African-American fiancĂ©, to meet them. However, she shocks even John by inviting his disapproving parents to dinner. A clash of generations and races ensues when both sets of parents must confront their own unexpected reactions and concerns for their children as their long-held beliefs are put to the test. This funny and poignant stage adaptation offers a fresh interpretation of the beloved Academy Award®-winning film.

    Participant Comments
    For more information about Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
    Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Event Flyer
  • Theater:  The Lake Effect - GEVA (Fielding Stage) -- Tuesday, February 7, 2017
    Free for students
    Reception/food at 6:15PM, Play at 7:00PM, and discussion afterward

    During a fierce winter storm, estranged siblings reunite in their family’s restaurant amid pungent memories of tandoors and tikka masala. When a regular customer claims to know more of their family history than they do, Vijay and Priya are forced to consider the future of the business. Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph serves up a spicy menu of family secrets, sibling rivalry and unlikely friendship.

    Participant Comments
    For more information about The Lake Effect
    The Lake Effect Event Flyer
  • The UR International Theatre Program: Circle Mirror Transformation
    Todd Theater, River Campus, December 9, 2016,  at 7 p.m. 

    Called an “absolute feast” and “unheralded gem,” Obie award and Pulitzer prize-winner Annie Baker’s extraordinary, multiple award-winning play,Circle Mirror Transformation, explores the lives of a group of small town Vermonters through the minutely detailed lens of those characters taking an acting class.  While the theatre games and exercises they play begin harmlessly enough, over time, we see tiny wars being waged, hearts being broken, and the yearnings, regrets, and deepest secrets of each member of the class being revealed. With affection, empathy, quiet drama, and the magnificent eye and ear of a detailed miniaturist, Baker lays bare the souls of her characters in this funny and quietly devastating contemporary American masterpiece.

    (student admission and discussion supported by the AIM Project).

    For more information:
  • Music-Photography:  100th Anniversary of the National Park Service: “America’s  Best Idea” – The Brass Guild, Eastman School of Music
    Monday, November 21, 2016
    Free for students
    The concert includes a new composition for brass celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Nat’l Park Service (NPS), as well as Copeland’s Appalachian Spring. The music (all by brass choir) is accompanied by photographic presentations relevant to the two major works. The Copeland is accompanied by a set of still images from the original Martha Graham dance performance for which the music was written. The NPS piece is complemented by images relevant to the national parks, including many of my own photos, plus those of Ansel Adams, Galen Rowell, and others.

    NPS Event Flyer
  • Theater:  Mother (and Me) - GEVA (Fielding Stage) -- Wednesday, November 9, 2016

    A larger-than-life Hungarian ‘Mama Rose,’ is slowly slipping into dementia as her Broadway baby, Melinda slips into de’middle age.  A brilliantly funny and touching story of two women who are losing everything they’ve ever been—in very different ways—as they lose each other. Who’s it harder for?  The one who can’t remember? …Or the one who can’t forget? This one-woman tour-de-force by Broadway performer and comedienne Melinda Buckley was an award-winner at the 2014 NY Fringe Festival.

    Participant Comments.
    For more information about Mother and Me
    Mother Event Flyer
  • SCARRED BY THE SOMME  (Thursday, September 22, 2016).
    Performance by the Table Top Opera, at the Rochester Fringe Festival,
    in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of one of the bloodiest engagements in WWI. By accompanying images of events before, during, and after the battle with music written at the same time by Claude Debussy, TableTopOpera considers how the Somme scarred people and landscapes in 1916, and how current conflicts have similar effects today. TableTopOpera is a chamber ensemble consisting of faculty, students, alums, and friends of the Eastman School of Music.

    Attendance by 31 students from two classes at the ESM was followed by discussions in class within the curriculum of those courses.

  • The Neuroscience of Extraordinary Motor Skill: Sensory-Motor, Cognitive, and Pathologic Attributes of Artistic Performance. A Special Symposium at the 26th annual meeting of the Society for the Neural Control of Movement (NCM); April 25-29, 2016, Jamaica.
    Early in our evolution, primordial humans developed the curious ability of ‘symbolic expression’—the arts—and with them, the moorings of culture. This holds throughout humanity currently, as well as through archeological record. The extraordinary skills and talents required at the highest levels of the performing arts are among the most exceptional examples of sensory-motor and adaptive behavior. These comprised the topic of several special sessions. Consider the following overarching considerations:
    These topics were explored through lecture, demonstration, and performance (music and dance) across 4 sessions.

    For more information, check out the Symposium Overview and the Bio-sketches.

    1. What constitutes artistic ‘talent’ and is it transferable across modalities (e.g. different instruments, or music to dance….), or even different endeavors (sports, surgical skill, etc.)?
    2. What interactions between motor control and sensory feedback explain artistic talent and the ability to develop professional performance capabilities?
    3. Are there distinct identifiable strategies in learning/teaching the performing arts as compared to the activities of daily life?
    4. What selective advantage has propelled the arts—symbolic expression—into foundational elements of humanity?

Earlier AIM Events

  • The UR International Theatre Program (Saturday, April 23, 2016 at 8:00 pm - CLOSING NIGHT)
    The program has commissioned its first original theatrical score, a pop-rock version of Bertolt Brecht’s timely and powerful work about the brutality and sacrifice of war, with music by acclaimed up-and-coming composer, Matt Marks, and directed by Nigel Maister (Artistic Director).

    Brecht’s original play (Mother Courage and her Children) is considered by many to be the greatest anti-war play ever written and one of the towering achievements of 20th-century drama. Marks’ contemporary music, which mixes genres from rock to pop, imbues this superb drama about greed, hunger, and the rapacity of conflict with a driving immediacy and explosive contemporary energy. Score World Premiere.

    For more:
    Tickets: or at the door.
    (supported by the AIM Project).

  • Theater: Dancing Lessons - GEVA (Tuesday, April 19, 2016).
    Free for students

    Reception/food at 6:30PM, Play at 7:30PM, and discussion afterward

    Two lonely souls embark on a relationship filled with surprising discoveries. A young man with Asperger's Syndrome seeks the instruction of a Broadway dancer, now sidelined with injuries. Both are caught off-guard by unexpected revelations (both hilarious and heartwarming) in this new romantic comedy about an unlikely relationship and the healing power of love.
    Additional Material: Dancing Lessons
    Dancing Lessons Event Flyer.

  • Theater: To Kill a Mockingbird - GEVA (Wednesday, March 2, 2016). Free for students Reception/food at 6:00PM, Play at 7:30PM, and discussion afterward Set in a small Alabama town during the Great Depression, Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning American masterpiece follows the journey of Jem and Scout Finch, whose father has been appointed to defend a black man framed for a crime he didn't commit. As the trial progresses, the children witness racial injustice envelop their community, while their father seeks the truth with quiet integrity, courage and compassion.
    Participant Comments.
    To Kill A Mockingbird Event Flyer.

  • Theater: RED - GEVA (Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015).  At the height of his career, famed abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko struggles with a series of grand-scale paintings for New York's Four Seasons restaurant. When his new assistant challenges his artistic integrity, Rothko must confront his personal demons or be crushed by the ever-changing art world he helped create. An electrifyingly, riveting battle of wills, and the winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Play.   Participant Comments.
    RED Event Flyer.

  • Music: Mendelsohn's Elijah - Rochester Oratorio Society (ROS), in collaboration with the UR Humanities Center (Friday, October 30, 2015)

    The ROS celebrates its 70th season of concerts with a grand production of the most famous piece of choral music after Messiah: the oratorio ELIJAH by German Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn. Further, The Mendelssohn and his World series provides a unique opportunity to enjoy a series of lectures and discussions on Felix Mendelssohn, his world and his important musical works.
    Elijah Event Flyer.
    Addition information at The Rochester Oratorio Society or the University of Rochester Humanities Calendar.

  • The Mountaintop - GEVA (April 13-14, 2015): the play, about Martin Luther King’s last day alive and implications for the civil rights movement, was accompanied by a pre-play discussion with GEVA personnel, as well as a vibrant discussion with UR faculty and GEVA participants after the play, completed this extraordinary initial AIM event. The outcome proved highly successful, as witnessed through participant comments.
    Event Flyer.

    Note: thanks to Medical Humanities (Stephanie Brown Clark, Division Director), which sponsored the pre-play discussion.
  • Dystonia in Musicians - Symposium: Schmitt Program on Integrative Brain Research (March 2014, organized by Jon Mink, Aimee Miller, and Molly Jaynes): an extended set of clinical and scientific presentations and discussions (1 1/2 days), in which music was central to a dysfunctional condition, and augmented by multiple music performances as well as impressions from musicians (including those affected by dystonia).