Published: Nov 11, 2010
The master dance class “Caribbean Essence” being held in Edison this
week was a menagerie of ages, sexes and cultures. The Caribbean music –
which guest lecturer Susan Barnes Pereira ’94 turned up so her students
could feel – flowed out onto North Boulevard like a warm breeze.
defines her style as a unique fusion of movement that embodies the
modern contemporary genre. It’s a full body concert using the hips as
“I’m hoping this lecture demonstration will encourage them to liberate their movements,” said Pereira.
Pereira’s visit is part of Arte 2010
a city-wide, biennial celebration of performing and visual arts from
Latin America. Along with the master class, Pereira is choreographing a
piece for UT’s Spanish Dance Team which will be performed in the
Scarfone/Hartley Gallery on Friday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m., when the
University presents its annual Evening of Experimental Dance.
Complementing the performance is the current faculty art exhibit including new work by Kendra Frorup
, who grew up in the Bahamas, and Santiago Echeverry
, who grew up in Colombia.
involved in Arte highlights our internationality of curriculum, and it
sends a message to our students that we honor and respect our students
that have gone on,” said Professor Susan Taylor Lennon
. “It makes a nice mixing pot of synchronicity.”
brought 11 of her students ages 11 to 20 with her on this visit.
They’ve participated in several classes and taken in the campus
atmosphere. Lennon said they are giving as much to the UT students as
they are getting in return.
“On a pedagogical level, our UT
students are seeing how much of our movement is influenced by Caribbean
movement,” Lennon said. “My guess is they’ll be impressed with how good
these kids are. I think this will give our students a good jolt.”
Harder ’11, an accounting and sociology double major who is taking
hip-hop dance classes, attended Pereira’s master class on Wednesday.
aren’t a lot of dance studios in the U.S. that offer this type of
dance, and she’s here, teaching it, and right from the place where it
originated,” said Harder, who has taken dance classes most of her life
and enjoys expressing music through movement. “I feel like with this
type of dance you tell a story with your body.”
is nothing but fluid. This extends from the long arch of her arm as she
sweeps the air in front of her to the softness in her voice as she talks
about teaching not just movement but values to her students, to how her
life has come full circle back to the University and professors who
inspired her to live her passion.
“I think it was my exposure
here at UT that cemented my dream that it is possible to have a career
in dance,” said Pereira, who received a B.A. in psychology with a minor
in dance from UT and her M.A. in dance education from New York
University. She credits Lennon, chairwoman of the Speech, Theatre and
Dance department, for encouraging her to pursue dance, and the small
classes at UT for providing the type of atmosphere that encouraged her
“Her belief in me made all the difference in the
world,” Pereira said. “Coming from a small environment, it was important
that I was nurtured as well as trained. Now I’m doing for my students
what Susan Taylor Lennon did for me. How she taught me is how I teach my
Pereira is a founding member and a principal dancer
of the Cayman Islands National Dance Company — Dance Unlimited and the
owner/director of Barnes Dance Academy Limited (BDAL) in the Cayman
Islands. Her visit to UT is supported by the Office of International
Programs and the Department of Speech, Theatre and Dance within the
College of Arts and Letters. Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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