Two Dancers

Bensens’ “Two Dancers” on Display in Oneonta

May 14, 2012

The "Two Dancers" collaborative project installed at the Community Arts Network of Oneonta gallery (Wilbur Mansion ,11 Ford Avenue, Oneonta) explores the intersection of three ancient arts: movement, poetry, and visual art. The project includes work by Hartwick Professor of English Robert Bensen and his daughter, Hartwick student and dancer Anna Lucia Bensen '13.  The second dancer in the photographs by Otego artist Charles Bremer is Elisabeth Baldanza Cavanaugh.  The project will be on display through the month of May.

The installation at CANO is the eighth such exhibit of the photographs and poems, which have been shown at the National Museum of Dance, the State University of New York at Oneonta, the Bright Hill Literary Center (Treadwell, NY), the Smithy Gallery (Cooperstown, NY) and elsewhere.  The poems and photographs were created in 1999-2001, with the support of a Faculty Research Grant from the Hartwick College Board of Trustees, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

 Two DancersBremer explores the remarkable beauty and inner grace of two young dancers seen at quiet moments and small dramas of personal practice.  These classic black & white portraits favor less the posed athleticism of current dance photography than the poise and presence of the dancer.  Bremer's artistic practice includes photography and drawing, installations of outdoor sound sculpture, memorial plazas and architectural projects.  He lives and works in Otego, NY.

Essayist Sven Birkerts wrote that Bensen's poems "create a space for breathless attention and then set a world into motion.  Their lines move with musical precision-they flex, pause, gather, contract and leap, always at last regaining a deep original stillness."  His poems have been published in the U.S., U.K., West Indies, Asia, and in African-American and Native American journals.  His five collections, published in collaboration with artists, include "Two Dancers" (with Charles Bremer, Woodland Arts) and the forthcoming "Orenoque, Wetumka" (with Hartwick College Professor of Art Phil Young, Bright Hill Press).  His poetry has earned a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the 1996 Robert Penn Warren Award.  He directs the writing programs at Hartwick College, Oneonta, New York.  

Two DancersElisabeth Cavanaugh (Baldanza) (age 16 in the photographs) is college minister and office manager at BASIC College Ministries in Rochester, NY.  She has often performed as an actor, singer, and dancer and holds national titles for lyrical ballet from Dance Olympus Dance America.  She was crowned Miss New York in 2007, in the Miss America pageant. 

Anna Lucia Bensen '13 (age 11 in the photographs) studies ballet at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia.  She was trained in ballet at the Decker School of Ballet in Oneonta, with at American Academy of Ballet at Purchase College.  She has also studied First Nations dance with Santee Smith's Kaha:wi Dance Theatre in Toronto. 

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable

Contact: Christopher Lott
Phone: 607-431-4030