dance at Trinity

My sister Kathy, who works at Trinity College, invited me to see a special celebration of 40 years of dance and co-education last night at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. While last night's performance was about the Trinity College Dance program and all the wonderful teachers and students there, when I saw this performance I could not help but remember my own dance teacher of many years, Truda Kaschmann. Below is a treasured photo of her by Peter Crowley that I found on his web site. Seeing this photo of Truda brings me right back to the many classes I took with her and the many improvisations we did. It captures her warmth and strength perfectly. She truly shaped me as an artist.

There is not a lot about Truda that I could find online, but I did come across a few items. This was written by Maggie Roberts, through the Yale National Initiative as a curriculum guide titled, Putting Poetry on it's Feet: "Truda Kaschmann's dance class met for an hour and a half, she devoted the last 20 minutes to different kinds of improvisation. One form of improvisation was dancing to poetry. Mrs. Kaschmann would recite a poem to us, allowing time between lines for us to move about. Each interpretation was correct in her eyes, and so we valued our own interpretations and our self-confidence and creativity grew."

I could not have said this any better than Maggie did: we valued our interpretations and our self confidence and creativity grew. Right-on! This is how I try to teach my mixed media art students now.

Truda was a true modern dance pioneer. Alwin Nikolais was her most famous student, but she was so proud of every one of her students. My sister Kathy took classes with her, and my mother did as well for many years, before we did! I took so many classes from Truda for 25-30 years with my parents encouragement and a lot of driving to and from when I was a youngster! Truda truly brought Modern Dance to the Hartford Conservatory, formerly known as the Hartford School of Music.

It had been a long time since I had seen a dance performance until last night. There was a huge mix of types of dance and styles in Trinity College's '40 Forward' celebration - from performance art -to middle school kids rap -to traditional Indian dancing -to more 'traditional' modern dance, but I so enjoyed being there, catching a bit of that energy, and being reminded of how powerful dance was, and sometimes still is, in my life. It was very exciting to see Clive Thompson accept the Dance pioneer Award last night; he was there at the college with his wife Liz 40 years ago, introducing the dance program on the Trinity campus.

I do not have a photo of me dancing that I can find yet, but I do have one of my mom as a young woman, which is just about the same, as we are so similar. I think she is practicing a dance she will perform, at in her home on Hickory Lane in West Hartford CT, sometime in the early 1950's. Thank you mom & dad, and Kathy for the invite! With gratitude to my family . . .

. . . and i can't resist adding this photo in from 1965 maybe?
Kathy, mom, and me: