Bennington College welcomes fall with the arts

BENNINGTON — Bennington College is welcoming fall with a bevy of arts events to kick off the new semester.

Leading the docket is a performance by alumnus Jaamil Olawale Kosoko on Sept. 8 and 9. The performance piece, titled S ancers, combines lyrical poetry, psychic movement forms, and strategies of discursive and visual performance to investigate concepts of black magic, resurrection, and paranormal activity.

Interrogating issues related to American history and terrorism, S ancers journeys into the surreal and fantastical states of the Black imagination as it traverses the `fatal' axis of abstraction, illegibility, and gender multiplicity. The work locates itself inside the spiritual, emotional, and theoretical world with the live performances of sound artist Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste and experimental movement artists IMMA and Kosoko, and a special guest artist-theorist who helps frame the witnessing of each performance.

In her New York Theatre Review of the piece, Aurin Squire described S ancers as "a bold and bounding work."

"Jaamil creates provocative work that challenges our preconceptions and inspires important conversations on the topics of race, gender, and sexuality that are particularly relevant in our world today," said Susan Sgorbati, director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action.

Kosoko, originally from Detroit, is a Nigerian-American curator, poet, and performance artist. Kosoko studied dance at Bennington College and graduated in 2005. His poems, interviews, and essays have been widely published, and he lectures, speaks, and performs internationally.

S ancers, presented by the Bennington College Dance program and the Center for the Advancement of Public Action, will take place on Friday and Saturday, September 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. in the Margot Tenney Theater at Bennington College. Admission is free of charge and no tickets are required.


Leading up to Kosoko's performance, the Starry Mountain Trio will perform at the College's Deane Carriage Barn on Sept. 6 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The trio, composed of Suzannah Park, Avery Book, and Giedeon Crevoshay, are known for their exciting mix of traditional folk music from Appalachia, the British Isles, the Republic of Georgia, and Corsica.

Bennington College Music Faculty will then take the stage at the Deane Carriage Barn on September 12 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. to perform an eclectic repertoire including classical compositions, jazz, improvisation, and original music.

September will wrap up with another alumnus, Megan Schubert, who will perform at the Deane Carriage Barn on Sept. 27 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The soprano has shared the stage on multiple occasions with such luminaries as Meredith Monk, Bang on a Can, and ensembles championing art music and experimental jazz.

Visual Arts

Bennington's Usdan Gallery will continue their exhibition Vital Curiosity, which began in July, until Sept. 5.

The exhibition focuses on the ways artists — representing a diversity of generations, formal approaches, and experiences —seize upon color as a dynamic, and often ineffable, element in their abstraction.

A closing reception for the Vital Curiosity exhibition will be held on Sept. 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Usdan Gallery. The reception will feature an improv set by cornetist and composer Taylor Ho Bynum and Bennington visiting faculty and percussionist Brian Chase.


The college will hold two poetry readings this September, beginning with Gabrielle Calvocoressi, who will read as part of the Poetry at Bennington series on Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.

Marie Howe, the author of four volumes of poetry including her most recent "Magdalene: Poems," will give a reading at the Tishman Lecture Hall on Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.

The poet's work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, Agni, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, and The Partisan Review, among others. In 2015, Howe received the Academy of American Poets Poetry Fellowship, and served as the Poet Laureate of New York State from 2012 to 2014.

Reach Cherise Madigan at 802-490-6471.


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