Apologies for the lateness. There was miscommunication last week. Also, no issue for 12/3/21. -Ed.
This week, the College of Wooster’s Theatre and Dance department will proudly introduce the first Fall Dance Concert in a semi-post-COVID-19 world. Besides it being the first show in quite some time, this upcoming concert is unique in that it is entirely choreographed by students. The eight student choreographers are Liv Kline ’22, Ivan Mreis Akiri ’22, Nikki Preucil ’22, Katie Spence ’23, Bee Bi ’23, Gracie Shreve ’23, Morgan Carson ’23 and Julian Grimes ’25. Drawing from various inspirations and covering sensitive topics such as chaos, control, body image, female empowerment, hospitals, discomfort, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, the students will be showcasing their own original work. In addition, the concert also highlights the work of student costume designers and lighting designers.
The concert is “in-the-round,” meaning that the audience is seated around all four sides of the stage. This design choice creates an immersive and intimate experience. It also poses a unique challenge to the choreographers because they have to make sure their piece looks good from all angles, not just “the front.” Moreover, Akiri will be presenting his I.S. piece that incorporates elements of the visual arts into the concert.
In discussing their individual roles as well as their roles as collaborators in the concert, Preucil, who choreographed a piece titled “Nothing Unseen” by drawing inspirations from discourses and perceptions regarding body image, reflected, “I think that within the show there is a lot of collaboration, but also within each individual piece. What I love about choreographing here is that it is very much a collaborative process, where the choreographers receive input from their dancers as well as the choreographers and dancers from other pieces.” Further, Grimes shared, “My dance is very martial arts inspired, and is meant to show the control of the mind and body developed by martial arts.” Professor Baird, who is a visiting assistant professor of theatre and dance and director of this concert stated, “Overall, I am immensely proud of all the work that the students have put into the show, and I am continually impressed by how vulnerable they have been in the rehearsal process. I think it’s going to be a great show and I hope that the student body comes out to support them.” The choreographers ask that we, as an audience, keep an open mind and experience the performance holistically.
When: Nov. 18, 19 and 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Freedlander Theatre
How to get tickets: The box office opens on Monday, Nov. 15. Student tickets are free but need to be reserved in advance. Students can physically stop by the box office (in Freedlander Theatre), or call (330)-263-224.
COVID-19: All audience members are required to show proof of full vaccination. Masks are required throughout the performance.
Scan this QR code to reserve tickets online: wooster.edu/tickets.
Ed.: Use the link.
Chief Copy Editor
Friday, Nov. 12 felt like the perfect night to dress up like Taylor Swift and scream the lyrics to your old favorite songs. The Underground (UG) was alive as “Swifties” from across campus came together to share their love of the artist and celebrate the release of her newest re-recorded album, Red (Taylor’s Version).
The original “Red” album came out in 2012, but last Friday was the first time fans heard versions of the songs that are owned by Swift herself, as well as some new, previously unreleased tracks written nine years ago. The project began when Swift’s original record label sold the master recordings for her first six albums without her permission and without giving her the chance to buy them for herself. To make a long story short, Swift decided to re-record identical versions of all the songs so that she would own them and be able to use and perform them however she pleases.
Swift isn’t the only artist who has had a negative experience with greedy record labels, and she hopes her story can help turn the tables. She explained the situation in a series of Tumblr posts in 2019, adding that “hopefully, young artists or kids with musical dreams will read this and learn about how to better protect themselves in a negotiation. You deserve to own the art you make.” Recently, Olivia Rodrigo took this to heart when she signed her record deal and made sure that she has ownership of her masters.
“Red (Taylor’s Version)” is the second re-recorded album Swift has put out, after “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” in April of 2021, and there are four more in the works.
Fiona Schieve ’23 spoke enthusiastically about theories surrounding which re-recorded album would be released next. She has been a fan of Swift since her debut album in 2006 and came to the Underground event “because I’m stressed out and there was Taylor Swift,” which seems as good a reason as any. “No matter what mood you’re in,” she continued, “if you dig deep enough into her discography there’s a song for everything.”
Whatever mood students had been in before 8 p.m. on Friday, the atmosphere in the Underground was joyous as they danced and sang along to songs from across Swift’s discography, from classics like “You Belong With Me” and “The Story of Us” to newer favorites like “I Did Something Bad” and “Paper Rings.” And, of course, the night featured tracks from “Red (Taylor’s Version)” itself, such as “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “Message In A Bottle” and “Holy Ground.”
According to Miriam Harley ’24, who works at the UG and DJed the event, “We wanted people to be able to come to the UG and just have a good time.” Judging from the high energy in the room, the UG staff seem to have accomplished that goal.
“Honestly it has revived my childhood love of Taylor Swift,” remarked Anna Walsh ’24, who also called the night “a boppin’ good time.”
Harley expressed the Underground’s desire to host more events like this one, and emphasized that if students want to see an event for another album drop they think would be in demand, they should reach out.
And if you’d like to feed your inner Swiftie, Harley recommends listening to “Enchanted” or the new ten minute cut of “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version),” and Schieve, despite justifiably noting that it is too hard to choose a favorite, recommends “Wonderland” and “The Moment I Knew (Taylor’s Version).”
Not all comebacks are created equal. I am cheering on go-go boots and corduroy as they rise from the ashes of irrelevancy, but why must clogs and capris also cram their way through the door while it’s open? Of course, no comeback in recent memory has been quite as heavily anticipated as that of Swedish pop group, ABBA. This is, of course, in no small part due to the 40 years since the group’s last record.
But this extensive drought between releases led most to presume the worst from the group’s ninth studio album, “Voyage.” The album stood as one of those few projects that garnered both sky-high anticipation and little to no pressure. Astoundingly, the group’s talent has remained sharp, as they produced a solid record that is both a tasteful embrace of their history as well as a powerful statement of their sound’s potency in the present pop landscape.
“Just A Notion” feels closest to a classic ABBA track — and for good reason. The track was originally written and intended for the group’s 1979 album, “Voulez-Vous.” The track features a fresh instrumental layered over the original recording’s vocals. If this sounds like a recipe for a jarring listening experience, you’d be right; but, thankfully, ABBA’s new material featured on the album is strong enough to stand beside it. “I’m not the same this time around!” Agnetha Fältskog remarks on the standout track, “Don’t Shut Me Down.” Although the performance is more sedate than it might’ve been were it recorded back in their prime (we’ll take her at her word when she insists “I’m fired up”), it still remarkably matches “Just A Notion” in pure quality. The penultimate tracks, “Keep An Eye On Dan” and “No Doubt About It” have them both beat in their unique instrumental and catchy songwriting. The former track stands out with intriguing and unique lyrics that describe the relationship between divorced parents, while the latter sets itself apart with raw energy.
But the album is not all fun and games; “Voyage” is well-balanced with competent balladry. “I Can Be That Woman” contains some of ABBA’s strongest lyrical material to date. The heart-wrenching song documents a relationship surviving and recovering from a rocky period of addiction and strife. “Oh God, I’m sorry for the wasted years,” she sings, voice laced with grief and hope. What makes the song so powerful is the insular specificity of it. “And the dog, bless her heart, licks my fingers / But she jerks every time you swear,” she recalls in one of the album’s strongest moments.
While surprisingly powerful, “Voyage” is not perfect. “When You Danced With Me” sees the group tackle a fusion between pop and an Irish jig. It’s fun and endearing, but not the easiest on the ears — especially as their vocals get swallowed beneath the chaotic instrumental. “Little Things,” a Christmas ballad, is particularly abrupt in the album as the group cedes the last half-minute to a children’s choir. Early in the tracklist, these tracks may seem like cause for concern, but fortunately, they’re outliers.
The album’s greatest track is actually the first: “I Still Have Faith In You.” The group travels the galaxy in its five minute runtime. The orchestral composition builds from a low murmur in the verses, Fältskog’s entrancing voice as soft as it is powerful. As the extravagant instrumental bursts into life, she seems to provide a response to all the low expectations the album was preceded with: “We do have it in us!” After 40 years, it’s incredible that they really do.
On Friday Nov. 12, the Scot Wellness Peer Health Educators provided a safe and comfortable environment for students on campus to learn about the importance and impact of sleep through the program Sleep 101. Here, students had the opportunity to identify the importance of sleep, connect sleep to academic performance, learn how sleeping and waking habits lead to unrestful sleep and create a sleep plan that will allow them to have better quality sleep.
During the program, students also had the opportunity to self-reflect and analyze the activities they participate in and the substances they consume that may lead to unrestful sleep and negatively impact their overall wellbeing. When looking at caffeine, one of the most addictive substances, it was obvious to many students that their caffeine intake was destructive to their sleep. Melatonin, a substance produced by the body as it gets darker outside, was another substance highlighted in the program. Students learned that although melatonin is a natural chemical,it can have a negative effect on one’s sleep when consumed as a supplement. At the end of the program, students had the opportunity to create their own sleep kit containing drawing sheets, coloring pages, small journals, writing prompts and eye masks. Most importantly, the sleep kit included a worksheet that addressed some common and recognizable factors that may be causing sleep disruptions and provided tips that may help students fall asleep.
EB Fluharty ’24 led the discussion and event in Sleep 101. When reflecting back on the event and why it was important to her, she said, “I enjoy getting the chance to talk about sleep and sleep hygiene with peers because it continues to give me a new reflection of myself and my habits. Being able to have a conversation with others and inform them of things they can do to improve their sleep hygiene and wellbeing gives me my own reflection of what I need to continue doing in order to improve my own sleep hygiene.”
If you could not make it to Sleep 101, do not panic! Fluharty shared a few sleep facts and tips that will allow you to have more restful and beneficial sleep. First, think of sleeping the same way you think of eating. Without food, your body goes into survival mode where it can only think about the food it needs to survive. Likewise, without sleep, all your body thinks about is how tired it is and how badly it needs to rest. Next, remember that the lack of a normal night’s sleep will lead to uncontrollable microsleeps. This is where your body “zones out” during class lectures or forgets where you are when you’re driving. Microsleeps have a large negative impact on both physical and mental function, so should be avoided by allowing yourself to get adequate sleep at night.
It was also noted that 80% of people who take prescription sleep medications experienced negative effects including oversleeping, feeling groggy and having trouble concentrating. While they may help you fall asleep, the chemicals can stay in your body for longer than you may need, having a prolonged effect on the body. Continuous use of these prescriptions can cause a chemical imbalance in the brain and create a tolerance, making it harder to sleep without them.
Insufficient sleep can also cause you to develop long-term mood disorders. While it is normal for someone to be in a “bad” mood after not getting enough sleep, continuous amounts of insufficient sleep can cause more serious mood changes such as anxiety, depression or mental distress. Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night also protects your immune system by allowing your body to have a chance to regain energy and heal itself. Without giving your body enough time to heal and rest, your immune system becomes weaker, making you more susceptible to illnesses.
Fluharty leaves you with an important reminder about sleep: “Always remember, if you have found yourself in bed and cannot fall asleep within about 30 minutes, your body is most likely not ready to sleep. The first thing you should do is get out of bed. Your mind connects emotions and experiences with objects. If you are lying in bed worrying about the sleep you are not getting, over a period of time with this continued behavior your mind will begin to associate feelings of worry and anxiety with your bed, making it hard to fall asleep in the long run.”
Sleep is a complicated topic affected by many different habits and variables; however, when you think about how important sleep truly is, you will find that it is crucial to take the time to stop and fix mistakes that may be limiting your rest. Fluharty ends with the comment, “Being college students, it is very easy to get into the ‘sleep when you’re dead’ attitude when trying to maintain a social schedule while also trying to maintain academics and other extracurriculars such as clubs, jobs or sports. This program allowed me to help inform people of the purpose of sleep, how it affects all of the social, academic and physical aspects of someone’s days and why sleep should be valued.”
Another Sleep 101 session will be held Dec. 3. Sign-ups for the event will be sent out via email.
This past Friday, Nov. 12, Minorities in STEM, otherwise known as MiSTEM, held their annual Overcoming Failure Dinner, colloquially known as the Failure Dinner. MiSTEM is a student-run organization that strives to promote involvement of underrepresented students in STEM. One of the main goals of MiSTEM is to bridge the gap between students and faculty. In bridging this gap, the College would aid students in reaching their full potential, whether they are STEM majors or only taking introductory courses. As Natalie Belle ’23, secretary of MiSTEM put it, “Our goal was to create a space where we can facilitate a healthy conversation with students and faculty about failure and how we overcome it. We wanted to emphasize that everybody has moments in their lives – personal, professional, and academic – where they fail, and that those moments contribute to who we are.” When asked about her thoughts on the MiSTEM failure dinner, Melita Wiles ’22 a physics and mathematics double major, said that “the overcoming failure dinner held by MiSTEM has been one of the most relatable and inclusive events on campus, this and every year that I have been at Wooster.”
The annual MiSTEM Failure Dinner aims to bring students and faculty together in a conversation about the stigmatized topic of failure. During this event, speakers have the opportunity to share stories of their failures and start an open dialogue about how these failures have contributed to their successes. Past speakers have included President Sarah Bolton, faculty from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and executive board members of MiSTEM. Wiles said that “President Bolton started off by describing her own personal story on failure as an undergraduate woman in physics. This made me emotional right from the beginning because I am an undergraduate woman in physics, and the degree is not always smooth sailing.” Students also had the opportunity to discuss their experiences with failure in the field. Wiles talked about her friend and classmate, Raisa Raofa ’23, saying that she “spoke about the importance of a good community within your discipline.” Oftentimes, failure is highly stigmatized and looked down upon in academia, especially in STEM. This perception has a strong impact on minorities in the STEM field, due to the other undue pressures that are already put upon them. The event is viewed as a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the failures that are so often viewed as undesirable and inadequate.
MiSTEM is involved in a variety of ways on campus, all in an effort to positively impact students’ experiences and knowledge. As well as hosting the Overcoming Failure Dinner, MiSTEM also hosts movie nights, workshops and biweekly general meetings. Follow their instagram @cow_mistem to stay updated on their upcoming events!