NewsPress Release: 4/05/02 From the Green Mountains to the Great Wall: Marlboro CollegeStudents Perform in China
MARLBORO, VERMONT -- "The open-air market in Qufu felt really far away. This is how China would feel if I weren't a tourist. Everywhere else we were with guides, attending dance classes, seeing performances, but the open-air market was the best," said Marlboro College sophomore Cullen Schneider.
Schneider spent her spring break touring China with the Marlboro College Performance Workshop, a dance troupe of six students headed by dance professor Dana Holby. Together with the Marlboro Women's Chorus, they studied local performing arts programs, stood on the Great Wall and performed before hundreds of people. Their tour leader, translator and master of ceremonies was Seth Harter, Marlboro's Asian studies professor.
"Although I've spent a lot of time in China, going there with the Marlboro College performance group gave me a new perspective on the country and the culture," Harter said. "Our hosts in China treated us with the most overwhelming generosity and the Marlboro students responded in kind. It was wonderful to see how the novelty of the situation and the excitement of performing led the Chinese students and the Marlboro students to revel in each other's company."
For Marlboro junior and dancer RoseAnna Harrison, the experience gave her philosophical insights into dance. "There was an equal exchange with the Chinese dancers. We experienced their dance and they experienced our dance through workshops and performances. I noticed many differences in style. For example, the Chinese dancers maintained smiling faces and their pieces were narrative. Our dancers' expressions were dead-pan and the dances focused more on form, ideas, and philosophy."
Junior and Women's Chorus Member Emily Hood summed up the feelings of many of the group when she said, "The trip definitely gave me a global perspective. It placed me in the context of the entire world -- but not only that, it bonded me with a unique group of people from Marlboro who I don't usually have the opportunity to spend time with. I came away with strong relationships that would have taken an entire semester to forge."
The China trip was funded by two Freeman Foundation grants totaling $423,635 to strengthen the undergraduate curriculum, stimulate undergraduate research, broaden the experience of faculty teaching courses with Asian components, establish an Asian studies resource center in southeastern Vermont, and provide learning opportunities for the community and for area K-12 schools.
"The Freeman Foundation grant is part of a concerted effort on the part of the college to make substantial resources available for faculty and students who seek a more international perspective on our nationally recognized liberal arts program," says Marlboro College President Paul LeBlanc. He continues, "The grant supports faculty and student travel to China and Vietnam over the next four years and touches every part of our curriculum."
The Marlboro students visiting China included: Emily Amanna of Larchmont, NY; Shura Baryshnikov of Stillwater, MN; Jennifer Bilodeau of Easthampton, MA; Margot Fivash of Sammamish, WA; Elizabeth Garofalo of Millbrook, NY; RoseAnna Harrison of Solvang, CA; Emily Hood of Lake Bluff, IL; Daniella Martin of Palo Alto, CA; Kyle Nuse of Johnson, VT; Cullen Schneider of Blue Hill, ME; and Julia Sloane of Congers, NY. Also accompanying the students were Associate Dean of International Studies Louise Zak and Digital Arts Assistant Hilary Baker.
In 2001, 32 percent of Marlboro's graduating class had spent at least one semester abroad, compared to a national average of under four percent. Marlboro students may choose from a variety of international opportunities, ranging from two-week science fieldtrips to Latin America to classroom study at Marlboro's sister college in London to participating in a six-month working internship abroad as part of the World Studies Program.
Founded in 1946, Marlboro College offers undergraduate education in the liberal arts and, since 1997, graduate study focused on Internet technologies. Its 300 undergraduate students enjoy a 7:1 student-faculty ratio, a voice in governing the community and individualized courses of study on a 350-acre campus in the hills of southern Vermont. Marlboro's nearby Brattleboro-based Persons School features four master's degree programs -- Systems Integration Management, Internet Strategy Management, Teaching with Internet Technologies and Internet Engineering. The Brattleboro campus is located in the Marlboro College Technology Center, which brings together education and entrepreneurship, while offering technology resources to the community.
For more information, please contact Marlboro College at (802) 257-4333 or visit the college online at http://www.marlboro.edu.