Koenig Endowed Fund Events

Introduction to the Fund

The Jennifer Anderson Koenig Endowed fund supports the Dance Department with special projects that interweave faith and the arts, invite collaboration with the St. Olaf Student Congregation Council, and build a community of faith through dance and movement.

2020 Events with Guest Artist Donna Mejia:

Discovery Masterclass: Transnational and “Tribal” Fusion (Arab-American)

When: Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Time: 4:00-5:30pm
Where: CAD, Studio 1

Description: “Tribal” Fusion is a transnational dance genre rooted in the nomadic and secular dance traditions of the Arabian Diaspora.  Although the form claims strong roots in women’s styles of Arabic folk dance, various artists of the genre have expanded the vocabulary to include the influences of Romm (‘Gypsy’) dance styles from India to Europe, Spanish Flamenco, North African dances, and more recently American hip hop, electronic, punk and gothic subcultures.

As it was popularized, the form grew in response to the experimentation of DJs sampling and digitally manipulating traditional instruments through in hip hop, electronic and world music.  In this discovery class with Donna Mejia, you’ll hear the best hardcore global electronica in the universe, learn foundational hip work and poly-rhythmic orientation.  Dancers of all ages, gender expression, ability levels, and life experiences are absolutely welcomed in the class.

Co-sponsored by the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion

Lecture: The Ethics and Cultural Appropriation Issues in Studying Global Dance Forms

When: Thursday, February 27, 2020
Time: 11:30am-12:30pm
Where: Viking Auditorium

Description: Many global dance forms are used or referenced as spiritualized movement practices whose theoretical underpinnings foster a sense of the inner life. Frequently, the use or reference of global dance forms occurs without a significant time of study, especially in their original contexts. This lecture tends to important considerations about how to engage with dance forms and movement practices in an ethical and considerate manner.

Connections: The Body, Movement, and Spirituality (all-experience levels welcomed)

When: Saturday, February 29, 2020
Time: 10:00am-12:00pm
Where: CAD, Studio 1

Description: What is the role of the body in the development of an inner life or spirituality? Donna Mejia facilitates this workshop not as a teacher, but as a fellow explorer in what embodied consciousness means to each of us. Dancers have a vital contribution to make to our understanding of embodiment, evolution, and utilizing more of ourselves in all that we do. My larger agenda as a dance professor is not to create cookie cutter clones for successful stage careers. Rather, I aim to create more ambassadors in the world whom are integrated humans: emotionally brave and intellectually clear folks whom understand the body is not the obstruction to spiritual and intellectual growth Western history and religion would have us believe.

This dance workshop involves movement, discussion and reflection/contemplation time. Donna will summarize a collection of cultural paradigms about the role of physicality in our emotional, mental and spiritual evolution, and provide prompts for you to examine your own assumptions, indoctrinations and biases around working with YOUR body. This workshop provides the potential to excavate down to new levels of honesty with ourselves, fortify our spiritual bravery for the resistance we may experience, and embrace opportunities for maturation. Participants of all belief systems, experience levels, and gender expression are warmly welcomed.

Please dress in layers that can be added or shed as our activity level changes your bodily temperature. Please bring a yoga mat and your capture materials of choice (a journal or computer for harvesting your insights and thoughts). An open mind, a discerning and diplomatic tongue, and a generous sense of humor will make it a positive experience for all as a community. An optional folded blanket may be helpful as additional cushioning for some activities.