Category Archives: Events
For several weeks in November 2015, Richland College was home to a sea of red ceramic poppies—5,171 to be exact—one poppy for every Texas soldier killed in World War I. A lone white poppy represented the single Texas nurse who also perished. This year, Richland College is honoring Veterans Day with a rededication of its poppy exhibit, “The Blood of Heroes Never Dies,” at noon Nov. 12 on the east side of Lake Thunderduck near Fannin Hall.
The original exhibit was dedicated during Richland College’s 2015 Veterans Day ceremony. After being on display on campus, some of the ceramic poppies traveled to Georgetown, Tex., where they were installed as part of the city’s annual Red Poppy Festival. The poppies were offered for sale in both Dallas and Georgetown for $10 each, with proceeds donated to Puppies Behind Bars, a nonprofit group that trains inmates to raise service dogs for wounded veterans. The organization received more than $25,000 from the poppy sales.
Since 2015, a small collection of the original poppies has been on permanent exhibit at Richland College. This year, students created 100 new poppies to replace those that have broken, and veterans will symbolically plant these fresh poppies in the display during this year’s Veterans Day event.
The permanent display, a striking patch of red along the lake that flows through campus with a recently installed plaque explaining its significance, has elicited both curiosity and pride when students, campus visitors and community members discover the meaning behind it. It is pride and the belief in the importance of this display that have inspired the volunteers who helped create the new poppies and who will be giving their time at the rededication event.
“In 2015, ‘The Blood of Heroes Never Dies’ challenged the Richland community to create a memorial honoring Texas soldiers killed in World War I,” said ceramics faculty member Jen Rose. “This educated the participants about the historical importance of the war and allowed people of different backgrounds, ethnicities and ages to share an experience together. In the process of uniting to honor veterans, we discovered our humanity and remembered their sacrifice.”
“I wanted to volunteer in the ‘Blood of Heroes Never Dies’ event because I wanted to help everyone understand the things we take for granted each day,” said Jesus Porras, Richland College graduate and administrative clerk for Richland College Veterans Services. “We wouldn’t be here if it was not for the brave women and men that take an oath to serve the country in protecting us from threats to our union. These poppies that we plant here are a sign of remembrance and hope.”
“The Blood of Heroes Never Dies” was a collaboration between Rose and history professor Clive Siegle. The original exhibit was the only one of its kind in the U.S. and was modeled after the iconic “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” poppies exhibit at the Tower of London in 2014, during which 888,246 ceramic red poppies were on display in the tower’s moat to commemorate the British and colonial servicemen killed in World War I.
“The genesis of the symbolic connection of the poppy with commemorating veterans arose from a 1915 World War I poem, ‘In Flanders Fields,’ which emphasized poppies in its theme, and has become one of the most well-known war poems to emerge from any modern conflict,” said Siegle. “The 2015 ‘Blood of Heroes’ project was meant not only to honor veterans of all wars, but to coincide with a centenary anniversary year of both World War I, and the year the Flanders Fields poem with its iconic poppy references was written. This year has particular significance for revisiting and reaffirming the ongoing vision of the ‘Blood of Heroes’ project because this Veterans Day marks the one hundredth anniversary of the end of that war, which cost this nation more than 323,000 casualties, and this state 5,171 of its heroes.”
Remembrances or memorial poppies have been used since 1921 to commemorate soldiers who have died in wars. “In Flanders Fields” was penned by Lt. Col. John McCrae. Regretfully, McCrae did not survive the war and perished in January 1918. However, his poem lived on and inspired YMCA volunteer and teacher Moina Belle Michael always to remember those who died in the war and to write her pledge in the form of a poem, “We Shall Keep the Faith.” Rose and Siegle chose the passage from the ninth line of Michael’s poem, “The blood of heroes never dies,” as the theme for this memorial art installation project.
In addition to the rededication of “The Blood of Heroes Never Dies,” Richland College will be honoring Veterans Day with several other events. These include: a Richland Wind Symphony Tribute Concert, 11 a.m. Nov. 9 in El Paso Hall on the cafeteria stage; “Thank-A-Vet” card party, during which participants create thank you cards for veterans, 2 p.m. Nov. 12 in El Paso Hall student lounge area; and a benefits chat hosted by Richland College Veterans Services, 2 p.m. Nov. 14 in El Paso Hall, room E081. All events are free and open to the public.
Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Rd. For more information about Richland College Veterans Services, visit www.richlandcollege.edu/services/veterans.
The Richland College dancers may not have moves like Jagger, but they will have moves like jaguars! The fur will be flying at the upcoming fall dance concert, “DANCE—Take a Walk on the Wild Side!,” at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2.
Directed by Richland College dance director Gina Sawyer, “DANCE—Take a Walk on the Wild Side!” will involve both students and faculty in choreography and performance roles, with dance genres including contemporary modern, lyrical, jazz, tap and hip-hop.
“DANCE—Take a Walk on the Wild Side!” is a creative endeavor to bring awareness and to inspire a passion for nature and wildlife with a zoological theme, and audiences are invited to attend and engage in a “zoo-rific” opportunity to appreciate dance.
Choreography will include original pieces by Cheryl Callon, Cooper Delgado, Kaley Jensen and Lauren Schieffer-Holley. Repertoire will include a tap piece from Dallas legend Buster Cooper, recreated by his granddaughter, guest artist Keira Leverton and performance by her company Choreo Records. Guest artists include Kaley Jensen and Dallas Black Dance Theater’s Encore!
Leverton comes from a dance background—her grandfather was Buster Cooper, an influential tap dancer who founded the dance program at the Hockaday School. Much of her exposure to the tap community was through tap festivals such as the Chicago Human Rhythm Project and the Third Coast Rhythm Project, and she trained with a variety of professionals, including Gregory Hines and Yuji Uragami. Leverton has performed worldwide at venues such as Radio City Music Hall and Wembley Stadium in London.
Jensen was born and raised in Atlanta and graduated from Brigham Young University with a major in dance and minor in business. While at BYU, Jensen performed and toured with the Theatre Ballet Company all four years. Jensen has trained on multiple scholarship programs, including the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and Ballet West, as well as achieving academic and international talent awards at the World Dance Movement in Italy. Last May, Jensen completed her M.F.A. in dance at the University of Arizona, where she also deepened her passion for performing, educating and choreographing. Currently, Jensen dances professionally as a company member with Ballet North Texas.
Dallas Black Dance Theater’s Encore!, under the direction of Nycole Ray, is a professional company that consists of eight aspiring artists from around the nation. Since its inception, Encore! has grown in popularity and thrilled audiences with its fresh allure. Encore! provides an opportunity for young artists to develop their dance skills while serving the Dallas/Ft. Worth community and touring around the world with dance performances of the highest artistic quality.
The Richland College dance program provides a challenging teaching and learning environment for students who value diversity. The program develops artistic excellence, fosters creative and collaborative practices and encourages personal agency and social responsibility in appreciating dance.
“DANCE—Take a Walk on the Wild Side!” is free and open to the public in the Fannin Performance Hall on the east side of the Richland College campus. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road.
Richland College is hosting an inaugural homecoming celebration, which will offer events from Oct. 27-Nov. 9 for current students and employees, alumni and the community. The various events will include live music, a dance performance, an alumni workshop, basketball games and more.
“Richland College Homecoming Week is a wonderful opportunity for more than 45,000 alumni to come back to our beautiful campus and see their old friends and favorite professors,” said Garth Clayton, Richland College dean of resource development. “We’re also offering some terrific events at no cost to our alumni. On Nov. 1, we will host leaders from local companies coming to help Richland College alumni learn the best strategies for resumes and interviews. These are experts who know how getting a job—or a better job—really works. And on Nov. 2, it’s ‘Let’s Dance!’—a brilliant performance by our current dance students.”
Richland College’s Homecoming 2018 is part of the Dallas County Community College District’s first district-wide Homecoming. To launch the festivities, DCCCD is hosting a Homecoming Kick-Off Celebration/Block-Party from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 27 at Eddie Deen’s Ranch, located at 944 S. Lamar St. in Dallas. This free event is open to the community and will include music, games, food trucks, door prizes and more.
The two alumni-specific events at Richland College are “Creating Your New Career: Richland College Alumni Workshop” from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 1 in El Paso Hall, and “Let’s Dance Alumni ‘Night Out’ Engagement Event” from 6-9 p.m. Nov. 2 in Fannin Performance Hall.
The alumni workshop will feature industry executives who will show attendees how to make a best impression on paper through resumes, cover letters and in-person interviews. Attendees will also learn about Richland’s free job resources.
The dance event will be a chance for alumni and Richland College professors to connect and engage. The night will start with a reception and meet and greet from 6-7:15 p.m., which will include a light meal. Afterward, everyone is invited to the “Take a Walk on the Wild Side!” dance performance, starting at 7:30 p.m. An R.S.V.P. for both events is required to Regina Harris, development assistant at Richland College, at ReginaHarris@dcccd.edu.
Other Homecoming 2018 events include: Richland Steel Sound Steel Band, from 11 a.m.-noon Oct. 31 on the cafeteria stage; Richland Jazz Combos, from noon-1 p.m. Nov. 1 on the cafeteria stage; men’s basketball: Thunderducks vs. IQ Hoops, at 6 p.m. Nov. 5 in the gymnasium; men’s basketball: Thunderducks vs. Texas Wesleyan JV, at 6 p.m. Nov. 6 in the gymnasium; Richland Fusion Band and Jazz Improv Ensemble, from noon-1 p.m. Nov. 8 on the cafeteria stage; Richland Wind Symphony Veterans Day Tribute Concert, from 11 a.m.-noon Nov. 9 on the cafeteria stage; and the DCCCD Sustainability Summit, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 9 in locations throughout campus.
Click here for additional information on all homecoming events.
Security BSides Dallas – Fort Worth, an information security and technology unconference, will take place at Richland College from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 3 in Sabine Hall. This free event is organized through the cooperation of BSidesDFW, corporate sponsorships and volunteers from the hacker/maker communities.
BSides DFW fosters communication and collaboration while increasing the level of involvement and investment in the information security field. This unconference explores the fringe of information security conversations and highlights the next big thing. This event will include two speaker tracks covering various security and technology related topics. Activities include instructional workshops, a Capture-the-Flag competition and a hacker scavenger hunt.
BSidesDFW is a nonprofit organization that prepares professionals and the public with applicable data to mitigate the ever-increasing number of information security threats that permeate our modern lives. BSidesDFW’s participants are comprised of current and budding information security professionals, business executives, industry thought leaders, hobbyists and those simply curious about the hacker community. For more information, visit bsidesdfw.com.
The Richland College cyber security program brings the latest technology and a vendor-neutral education where instructors break away from traditional information technology training methods. For more information, click here.
Partnerships help cement relationships and cooperative efforts to reach sustainability goals in schools, businesses and communities. Those partnerships will be the focus of the 2018 Dallas County Community College District Sustainability Summit.
The free event, which is open to the public, will be held on Fri., Nov. 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Richland College, 12800 Abrams Rd. in Dallas. Interested participants must register by Mon., Nov. 5, to receive lunch during the event at no charge. To register, visit www.dcccd.edu/SustainabilitySummit.
“As DCCCD moves forward with its goals for sustainability – inspired by 17 guidelines suggested by the United Nations – we want to focus on goal #17, partnerships,” said Georgeann Moss, the district’s executive director of sustainability and outreach initiatives. “One person can’t do it all, but one person – or one organization – can pick one sustainability project or goal and make it their call to action.”
Moss added, “Every person in every community can get involved in activities or sustainable practices, even at home, in partnership with others. Our keynote presentations and breakout sessions during the summit will offer ideas that can help us achieve sustainable goals which benefit everyone.”
Two keynote speakers headline the day’s activities: Marianella Franklin, chief sustainability officer for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, will be the first featured morning speaker; and Kevin Wilhelm, CEO of Sustainable Business Consulting, will address the group at 10 a.m.
Check-in will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., followed by the general session at 8:30 a.m. Dr. Joe May, DCCCD’s chancellor, will welcome participants, along with Dr. Kay Eggleston, president of Richland College, and Ken Dunson, Richland’s director of facilities. Franklin then will deliver the first keynote address.
Morning activities also include two sets of breakout sessions and lunch (at noon). Three sets of breakout sessions are scheduled for the afternoon before the summit adjourns at 4 p.m.
Franklin, who joined UT in 2003, started managing projects for facilities, planning and operations; she then transitioned to the role of director of the office for sustainability shortly after she earned her certification as a LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional). In 2008, Franklin founded one of the first sustainability offices in the UT system. She earned her bachelor’s degree in architecture from Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Monterrey N.L., Mexico, and a certificate in global sustainability from the University of Vermont.
Wilhelm, a sustainability thought leader, has taught at seven universities and is the author of four books, including: “Return on Sustainability: How Business Can Increase Profitability and Address Climate Change in an Uncertain Economy”; “Making Sustainability Stick”; and “An Introduction to Sustainable Business.” He teaches online and has developed online multimedia materials and videos that make learning more student-friendly. He has more than 20 years of experience working with at least 120 businesses; some of his clients are Amazon, Nordstrom and Expedia.
A total of five breakout sessions are scheduled. Some of the topics include: Climate Leadership in Higher Education; The Impact of Our Food; Why an Energy Master Plan?; Sustainability in Dallas: What Is the City Doing?; Wildlife in DFW; State of the State: Aquatic Invasive Vegetation; U.S. Water Services; 21st-Century Policing: Building Communities of Trust; Richland College Sustainability Program Model; Lake Clean-Up; Recycle/Waste; Texas Trees Foundation Campus Tree Farm Education Center Tour; and many others.
Sponsors include: Trane (platinum); Enviromatic Systems (gold); Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas-ERS, ELS Light and Double M Plumbing (silver); and U.S. Water Systems, Dallas Water Utilities, GreenSource DFW, Sierra Club, Natural Awakenings Dallas, Women in the Environment and Greater Dallas Planning Council (green), as of this date.
For a complete schedule of sessions/topics and other information, please visit www.dcccd.edu/SustainabilitySummit.
(Article courtesy of Ann Hatch, Dallas County Community College District)
Richland College is working hard to impress upon students to get out the vote for the midterm elections, and America Ferrera (actress, “Ugly Betty”), Alicia Keys (musician, “Fallin’”, “Girl on Fire”) and Zoe Kravitz (actress, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, “Big Little Lies”) are joining the effort!
The Richland College Student Government Association, along with the Student Voter Initiative and Voto Latino, is hosting “RLC Votes with America,” a youth voter rally featuring Ferrera, Keys and Kravitz, 11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23.
Leading up to this event, the SGA, with assistance from local nonpartisan groups, has been leading voter registration and education campaigns to encourage civic responsibility and get first-time voters excited about the midterm elections. Prior to the voter registration deadline, nearly 1,000 new voters were registered on campus.
“RLC Votes with America” festivities will begin at 11:45 a.m., including a brass ensemble and dance performance. The event will culminate with featured speakers Ferrera at 12:50 p.m., Keys at 1 p.m. and Kravitz at 1:10 p.m., to be immediately followed by Ferrera, Keys and Kravitz leading students on a “parade to the polls” to Richland College’s early voting location in Guadalupe Hall.
The Student Voter Initiative, part of Texas Student Civic Engagement and an initiative of Texas State Board of Education District 1, aims to engage students in civic participation and remind youths that their voices matter, their votes matter and that voting and jury duty are social obligations. Providing students the opportunity to voice their opinions in their society is a milestone that must be recognized. For more information, visit https://www.txstudentcivics.org/student-voter-initiative.html.
Voto Latino is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a primary aim of encouraging young Hispanic and Latino voters to register to vote and become more politically involved. Through innovative digital campaigns, pop culture and grassroots voices, the organization provides culturally relevant programs that engage, educate and empower Latinos to be agents of change and build a stronger and more inclusive democracy. For more information, visit http://votolatino.org.
(update from a previous version to add additional headliners)
The Richland Student Media team is partnering with the League of Women Voters, the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce and the Greater East Dallas Chamber to live stream and record their upcoming candidate forums in October.
- Oct. 19, 7:30-8:30 a.m. – Dallas County Commissioner – Wini Cannon and J.J. Koch, moderated by Lee Kleinman, Dallas City Council Member, District 11
- Oct. 19, 8:15-9:15 a.m. – Dallas County District Attorney – John Creuzot and Faith Johnson, moderated by Lee Kleinman
- Oct. 25, 7:30-8:30 a.m. – U.S. Congress District 32 – Colin Allred and Pete Sessions, moderated by Scott Orr, Chairman Elect, North Texas Commission
The live streams can be viewed at www.RichlandStudentMedia.com.
For more information, contact Meg Fullwood at MFullwood@dcccd.edu.
Richland College, in collaboration with the Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution program, will host the Minority Serving Institution Convening, “Minority Student Success: Using Data to Effect Change,” Oct. 19-20. At this two-day conference, higher education administrators will discuss effective research, initiatives and programs that impact the academic success of students at minority-serving institutions.
Attendance to the MSI Convening is free, and the deadline for registration is Oct. 8.
The MSI Convening provides an opportunity for educators and other higher education professionals devoted to student success to gather and participate in presentations and discussions about using data to modify and improve programs and initiatives that address the success of minority and underserved students.
This year’s event will kick off Friday morning with a keynote address from Tia Brown McNair, president for diversity, equity and student success at the Association of American Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C. Elva LeBlanc, executive vice chancellor and provost for Tarrant County College District in Texas, will be giving the plenary address Saturday morning. The conference will also include panel discussions and breakout sessions.
Registration is available online at richlandcollege.edu/msi-convening. The website also has additional information, including but not limited to featured speaker biographies, the schedule of events, lodging information and details about past MSI Convenings.
The MSI Convening is made possible in part through a grant from the AANAPISI program of the Department of Education and by State Farm®.
Holding two designations by the U.S. Department of Education as an AANAPISI and a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), Richland College is one of only nine higher education institutions in the U.S. awarded the AANAPISI grant in fiscal year 2015. With approximately 15 percent of Richland College’s student population comprised of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander students and at least half demonstrating financial need, AANAPISI funding impacts many of the college’s underserved students. The program helps Richland College to increase the three-year graduation rate for AAPI students who have one or more risks to success and completion, such as financial need or academic challenges.
Richland College students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to engage in discussions and hear the stories of four women from various regions of Russia during two presentations hosted by the Richland College Institute for Peace, Richland College Honors Program and the Global Education Development Advisory Council on March 29.
The women were Lena Novomeyskaya of Yekaterinburg and born in west Ukraine, Elena Ivanova of St. Petersburg, Tatyana Bukharina of Yalta in Crimea and Natalie Ivanova of Krasnodar. They came to the U.S. as part of the first Russians Meet Mainstream America (RMMA) program developed by the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI), an organization dedicated to reducing tensions between the U.S. and Russia and debunking misunderstandings through citizen-to-citizen exchanges, public relations and social media efforts in both countries.
During the sessions at Richland College, the women addressed the audience and told stories about their histories and what it has been like to live in Russia, including how their lives changed when the Soviet Union was dissolved. Discussion also included their perceptions and opinions of Americans, the Russian economy, Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and other timely issues. The purpose of the discussions was not to argue or debate, but to share different points of view to educate the citizens in both countries.
“I was brought up on the idea that America is a friend of Russia,” Natalie Ivanova told the audience during the second presentation. “My father participated in the Stalingrad battle in 1942 during the second World War. He was wounded in this battle, and when I was a child he told me a lot of stories about the war, and he told me that he was very grateful to the United States.”
Bukharina’s story received particular interest from many audience members when she discussed her home in Crimea, a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe that, while previously a Russian province, became a Ukrainian territory in 1954. In 2014, Russian troops captured strategic sites across Crimea and annexed the territory, a move that was generally condemned by many world leaders because it was considered to be a violation of both international law and Russian agreements that safeguarded the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Bukharina told the audience about how, despite international opinion to the contrary, many Crimean citizens supported this annexation by Russia for many reasons, including Ukraine’s violation of Crimean human rights, such as cutting the water supply to many citizens, including farmers.
“This morning I checked my [e]mail, and my friends know that we are here with the program Center for Citizen Initiatives, and that we’re working as volunteers, and friends from Sevastopol wrote, ‘give a big thank you to the American people for returning Crimea back to Russia,’” Bukharina said. After a pause, she added, “Are you surprised?”
Honors English student Ryan Morrow participated in the question-and-answer session, and later he commented on what he learned about the effects the dissolution of the Soviet Union had on the Russian people, a common thread discussed by all four women.
“I didn’t realize how much of an economic effect the end of the Soviet Union had on the Russian economy and how much work, or how much damage, it actually did that is still persistent in their society,” said Morrow.
Similarly, Morrow’s classmate Victoria Patterson felt the presentation opened her eyes more because the women discussed many issues that are generally not mentioned by the American media.
“I think it’s really interesting how they’re saying Americans really aren’t portrayed negatively over there, yet our media typically demonizes them so much,” said Patterson. “I didn’t know most of the stuff about what happened in Crimea that Tatyana [Bukharina] was talking about, so I think it’s interesting how much we have kind of been allowed to hide.”
“What is most valuable about this meeting between Richland College students and our Russian visitors through CCI is face-to-face dialogue that brings authenticity and honesty to the forefront and dissolves the barriers created by second- or third-hand news and simple ignorance,” said English faculty member and Richland College Institute for Peace and Human Rights coordinator Scott Branks del Llano, Ph.D. “Conversations are wonderful equalizers, and this event offered humane and compassionate conversations where empathy and peaceful understanding rose above the suspicion and divisiveness that permeates much of the media regarding Russian and U.S. relations. We need to engage in many more such forums of hospitable dialogue.”
In addition to Dallas, this first RMMA delegation’s itinerary includes Atlanta, Fort Worth, San Francisco and Washington D.C.
CCI was founded in 1983 with the hope that ordinary Americans could help bring about a constructive relationship with the Soviet Union. A CCI travel program soon became a reality, with American citizens visiting Russia and Soviet republics, with the travelers developing Soviet contacts. In 1988, Soviets Meet Middle America (SMMA) was the first program that brought non-party member Soviet citizens to the U.S.
Other past CCI successes include helping bring Alcoholics Anonymous to Russia; creating an economic development program in 1989 to train young English-speaking Russian entrepreneurs in how to start a business by organizing internships for them in American companies; shipping both cold-tolerant seeds and emergency food boxes when the Soviet Union dissolved; founding programs to train Russian small business owners and to train young Russian women in the apparel industry to encourage self-employment; and teaching orphanage children computer technology skills. In 2010, CCI closed its doors after funding had evaporated during the prior several years.
CCI was revived in 2015 by its founder and president Sharon Tennison, and a travel program was restarted for Americans to visit Russia. RMMA was then initiated in 2018 in response to the growing tensions between the U.S. and Russia, with the intent of bringing Russian citizens to the U.S. to discuss major issues between the countries and reduce stereotypes and misinformation.
The Richland College Institute for Peace is committed to educating for peace, justice and the abolition of conditions that give rise to violence and war. It fosters an interdependent community that actively pursues peaceable living, resolution of conflict and respect for human dignity, contributing to the goal of global peace, justice and friendship among peoples. Programs for students, employees and the community are offered through the traditional academic curriculum, continuing education, professional development and teleconferences.
The Richland College Honors Program provides highly qualified students with an enriched and challenging academic community where they develop the capabilities necessary to excel in their educational and career goals.
The Richland College dance program will transport audiences into a fantastical world of myth and wonder when it presents its spring dance concert, “Utopia,” with performances at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m. April 13.
Directed by Richland College dance director Gina Sawyer, “Utopia” will feature students, faculty members and guest performers in choreography and performance roles, with dance genres including contemporary modern, jazz, tap and hip-hop.
“We hope to make imaginations bubble with excitement in the unexpected land of ‘Utopia,’ where our audience will experience hope, joy and fantasy right along with the performers,” said Sawyer. “This dance performance seeks to take viewers to a place of innovative art-making where dreams come true.”
Part of the performance will be the short film “In Memoriam,” dedicated to celebrating the creative life of the late Darrell Cleveland, a professional dancer, choreographer and instructor who left a lasting influence on the Dallas-Fort Worth dance community, particularly at Richland College, where he was a regular guest performer in dance productions. With performance and choreography clips interposed with commentary about Cleveland from current and former Richland College students, the film remembers an outstanding member of the local community and hopes to inspire others to make a positive impact within their own spheres of influence.
Dance choreography and film work will include original pieces by Sawyer, Christie Bondade, Cheryl Callon, Cooper Delgado, Lauren Schieffer Holley and Terrance M. Johnson. Featured guest performers include 8&1 Dance Company, directed by Jill S. Rucci, and Choreo Records Tap Company, directed by Keira Leverton.
Jill S. Rucci, founder and artistic director of 8&1 Dance Company, moved to Texas from New York City after being a principal dancer and guest choreographer for Vissi Dance Theater for more than 10 years. Her professional experience has taken her to places including Boston, Los Angeles and Olbia, Italy. For six seasons now, Rucci has grown 8&1 DALLAS into a successful dance company, creating innovative and refreshing works, and in January 2018 she announced the expansion of the 8&1 Dance Company to include 8&1 EAST, to be based in Providence, RI.
Kiera Leverton comes from a dance background—her grandfather was Buster Cooper, an influential tap dancer who founded the dance program at the Hockaday School. Much of her exposure to the tap community was through tap festivals such as the Chicago Human Rhythm Project and the Third Coast Rhythm Project, and she trained with a variety of professionals, including Gregory Hines and Yuji Uragami. Leverton has performed worldwide at venues such as Radio City Music Hall and Wembley Stadium in London.
The Richland College dance program provides a challenging teaching and learning environment for students that values diversity and develops artistic excellence, fosters creative and collaborative practices and encourages personal agency and social responsibility in appreciating dance.
“Utopia” is free and open to the public in the Fannin Performance Hall on the east side of the Richland College campus. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road. Additional information is available at richlandcollege.edu/dance.