‘Now Dance’

Fehlandt celebrates with a signature solo

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When Tina Fehlandt e-mailed renowned choreographer Mark Morris, with whom she had danced for 20 years, about a piece of his she could perform at Princeton’s bi-annual faculty dance concert, he suggested Peccadillos, a signature solo set to short piano pieces for children composed by Erik Satie. When Fehlandt, a lecturer in theater and dance, performs it Nov. 21-22, at the Patricia and Ward Hagan ’48 Dance Studio at 185 Nassau St., it will mark the first time a woman has ever performed the work. It has been danced only by Mikhail Baryshnikov, Morris, and current Mark Morris Dance Group member Joe Bowie. Fehlandt, who retired from dancing with the Mark Morris Dance Group in January 2000 and turned 50 earlier this year, says, “It seemed appropriate to do something special to commemorate such a momentous occasion!”
Peccadillos, which originally premiered at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2000, is “a 10-minute solo with nine different sections, each with its own distinct mood,” explains Fehlandt. She likens it to a “young child playing make-believe. … The dancer is in her [or] his own world of make-believe.” Critic Tobi Tobias described it as “a charming little joke and turns out to be a tragedy in miniature.”
Fehlandt, who is teaching Beginning/Intermediate Modern Dance Technique and staged a Mark Morris work at last year’s spring dance Festival, is among several faculty members and guests performing or having their choreographed works performed at the concert, Now Dance. Elizabeth Schwall ’09 will dance Cloud Song, choreographed by Ze’eva Cohen; Rebecca Lazier will present Terminal, performed by her New York dance company Terrain; and Dyane Harvey will perform The Corner, a work-in-progress based on the life of Muhammad Ali. Now Dance begins at 8 p.m. Nov. 21 and 22. By Katherine Federici Greenwood

Above, Tina Fehlandt danced front and center with other Mark Morris Dance Company dancers. She will perform Peccadillos at the faculty concert, Now Dance. (Photo by Tom Brazil)

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Early freeze

Cold temperatures on Nov. 19 put a hold on the water flowing from the Fountain of Freedom in Scudder Plaza.
(Photo by Lolly O’Brien)

Political activism in a digital age

In his Nov. 13 campus speech on the “cute cat theory of Web activism,” Ethan Zuckerman, a research fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, talked about how social activists are using Web-hosting sites to combat government censorship. Zuckerman, who helped to found the Web-hosting service Tripod.com, has developed a weak test for the success of a user-generated content system: If it does not attract pornography, then it does not work. If users actually begin to use the site for political activism, he argued, that’s an even stronger measure of the participatory media’s success.
Zuckerman recalled an example from his days at Tripod in the mid-1990s. He was surprised to see Malaysia ranked third among Tripod’s user countries, behind the U.S. and Canada. “What are we hosting here?” Zuckerman asked political scientists at Williams College.
The political scientists found that Tripod was hosting the Malaysian political opposition movement, which used the site to push for imprisoned Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s return to power. The Malaysian government’s heavy investment in Internet infrastructure allowed the Web to become a powerful propaganda tool for the opposition.
Trivial uses of the Web can play a role in fighting what Zuckerman called “an increasing censorship trend” in some countries. When governments block sites used by activists, they anger citizens who use these sites for banal purposes. The group of citizens who visited the site “to see the video of the cat flushing itself down the toilet” begins to ask the government why it was shut down. In this way, censorship heightens political tensions. Zuckerman advises activists to use banal sites like Google’s “Blogger” because government opposition simply “is not going to take down Google.” By Sarah Harrison ’09