Press Release

Ohio Wesleyan to Stage Immersive Dance Theatre Experience

October 24, 2017 – by Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan University students prepare for their ‘Orchesis 17/18’ contemporary dance performances Nov. 10-11. (Photo by Mark Schmitter)

Student Performers, Choreographers to Present ‘Orchesis 17/18’ on Nov. 10-11

DELAWARE, Ohio – They’ll be dancing in the lobby, the aisles, the aerial catwalk – and on the stage – when Ohio Wesleyan University presents “The Time It Takes – Orchesis 17/18” in three performances Nov. 10-11. 

Chappelear Drama Center will be transformed into “a site-responsive work that challenges the conventions of stage spaces and the perception of personal versus public spaces” during the contemporary dance performance, said Rashana Perks Smith, artistic director and visiting assistant professor in the Ohio Wesleyan Department of Theatre & Dance. 

Smith said the hour-long show will feature 16 dancers, four actors, and eight choreographers. The dance theatre performance is the work of student choreographers Hayley Glessner, Haley Jacobson, Isaac Kochman, Kimberly McCalmont, Rachael Sheets, and Savannah Travis, created in collaboration with Smith and guest artist Erik Abbott-Main, a performer and choreographer who founded his own movement arts company in New York City. 

To create the immersive experience, Smith said, the performers explore different viewpoints of “home,” examining the spaces inside Chappelear Drama Center and translating their discoveries into movement. Informing their work, she said, are questions such as: “How does changing one’s perception of space and place affect our sense of agency as performers and how accessible we make our work to our audiences? How does it affect our sense of time as we navigate through these spaces together as performers and audience members alike?” 

In her role, Smith delicately shapes the work for continuity and provides additional choreographic material for the performers. Having worked extensively in site-specific/site-responsive works with her own dance company, Motor Dance, Smith brings 10 years of experience to the project. 

Guest artist Abbott-Main adds immersive theatre experience drawn his current work with the Punchdrunk company in the Off-Broadway production “Sleep No More” and in previous works with Third Rail Projects’ “The Grand Paradise” and “Then She Fell,” and with Anatomaie Occulti’s “Sweeney Todd.” 

Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Theatre & Dance will present “The Time It Takes – Orchesis 17/18” on Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 11 at both 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware. A public reception will follow each evening performance. 

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for senior citizens, Ohio Wesleyan employees, or non-OWU students with valid student IDs. Tickets are free for OWU students with valid university IDs. The Nov.10 performance also will be free for Ohio Wesleyan faculty and staff. To reserve tickets, call (740) 368-3855. 

Learn more about Orchesis and the OWU Department of Theatre & Dance at www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.