East Meets West
Presenters: SadieAnn Strouse, Nicole Crowl, Bridget Langguth, Kelsey Lanese, Taylor Parker, Artisha Walker, Kazimir Klein, and Sydney Weiss
In the Fall of 2018/2019, East Meets West (EMW) sponsored a program (The Thailand Dance Experience) that took 10 Kent State Dance students to Bangkok, Thailand for a 2-week program with students from Suan Sunandha Rajabhat Univeristy (SSRU). While this was the third East Meets West program in Thailand, it included some first-time events including a collaborative experience in a face/body painting videography project. Further, members of the KSU Thai Music Ensemble travelled to Thailand in order to join with Music professors from SSRU to accompany a new work of choreography made for dancers from both SSRU and KSU by choreographer Suwatana Rockland. Having participated in a pre-travel course titled “Introduction to Thai Culture,” this year’s KSU students felt more confident in making new friendships, and were each prepared to contribute as cultural ambassadors while completing their own creative research. These individual contributions included: teaching technique and composition classes; organizing group activities; handling the responsibilities of a travelling nurse, a costume-wardrobe director, a social media correspondent and documenting events for future reference and sharing with the greater KSU community. One EMW dancer, who is both a Dance Minor and an Early Education Major, was able to visit a Thai pre-school/elementary school and learned about a unique curriculum that incorporates methods and influences from around the world.
In order to gain the needed support, we began by presenting to KSU campus organizations, such as the Undergraduate Student Government, the School of Theatre and Dance, the School of Music, Undergraduate Student Research and the University Research Council. Faculty Advisor and Artistic Director, Rockland, also applied for and was awarded a grant by the Ohio Arts Council that enabled East Meets West to bring in a guest choreographer for the first time in our history as a student organization. Because of this outside recognition and sponsorship, the Kent State Foundation chose our organization and our planned trip to Thailand as a featured fund for the annual Giving Tuesday Campaign. If we include the sponsorships and in-kind gifts shared by our collaborators in Thailand, East Meets West generated more than $25,000 that went toward creating unique opportunities for our students that broaden their skills, and their view of the arts and the world at large.
For the Fall 2019 semester, we have invited SSRU students and faculty back to Kent State University, as we did in the Fall of 2017. The students and professors from SSRU will be able to both take and instruct classes, and will perform in two Kent State productions. It will be the crowning program produced under the Five-Year Memorandum of Agreement signed by Kent State and Suan Sunandha Rajabhat in 2015. During this culminating visit, we plan to work with the administrations of both universities in order to either renew our Memorandum of Agreement or establish a long-term Memorandum of Understanding.
In the Fall of 2018/2019, East Meets West (EMW) sponsored a program (The Thailand Dance Experience) that took 10 Kent State Dance students to Bangkok, Thailand for a 2-week program with students from Suan Sunandha Rajabhat Univeristy (SSRU). This was the third East Meets West program in Thailand. The Thai students will visit KSU for a second visit in the Fall of 2019 for a culminating exchange of collaboration of the arts, fulfilling the Five-Year Memorandum of Agreement between the two Universities.