By: Katie Christoff – Asst. A&E Editor
With a dance and technology combination solo, Crystal Michelle will perform “Boxing up Beautiful,” a piece meant to deconstruct the 200-year visual history of black women’s bodies in American popular culture.
The performance will take place Tuesday, March 11, as part of an ArtStreet program that funds community artists throughout the academic year, the Community Artist-in-Residence. The performance will take place in KU Boll Theatre at 7 p.m. It will be free of charge and open to the public.
The dance was originally designed and performed by Michelle in 2012, who currently dances and works for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.
DCDC is serving as ArtStreet’s Community Artist-in-Residence for the fourth consecutive year, and has conducted a variety of arts and learning programs for students throughout their partnership with UD.
Michelle has been both a dancer and administrator for DCDC, according to its director of marketing, Jay Peterson. When she enrolled in graduate school, she took on more administrative duties for DCDC. When the opportunity to work with ArtStreet arose, Michelle was involved with forming the partnership and she has worked closely with the DCDC’s ArtStreet residency for the past three years, Peterson said.
“She’s really fantastic with her dance, choreography and administrative skills with regard to understanding arts management,” Peterson said.
Michelle earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance performance from Southern Methodist University and later a Masters from The Ohio State University. She choreographed “Boxing up Beautiful” as part of her Masters thesis, Peterson said.
Part of the dance program at OSU is focused on integrating visual and other technologies.
“‘Boxing up Beautiful’ connects the audience to the dancer so they can really understand and feel the emotions that the piece is going through,” Peterson said. “It’s all about celebrating the female and the artistry that they can create.”
He encouraged UD students to check out her performance, and said it’s a great opportunity for women to see artistry through solo performance.
“People tend to think of dance as ballet with a huge ensemble, but a solo allows a connection with the performer,” Peterson said.
Since Michelle has been involved with ArtStreet for three years now, Peterson said she has worked with students before and understands them. “Boxing up Beautiful” is one of three presentations Michelle will give as Community Artist-in-Residence. The underlying theme of all of her presentations is to explore the richness of language and its relationship to our physical forms.
Michelle will also host a Wednesday Workshop titled “Sweet Talk with Crystal Michelle” on Feb. 26 and will present a video installation called B-Squared on March 18. For more information on these programs and Michelle’s residence with ArtStreet, visit udayton.edu/artstreet.