ECU hosts musicians promoting awareness of ancient river basin
April 5, 2017
East Carolina University dance students will deliver a culminating performance designed to inspire unity as part of the international Nile Project on Saturday.
Starting Wednesday, ECU will host the four-day Nile Project residency - the last stop on a spring tour of six college campuses across North Carolina.
Musicians from 11 Nile countries are helping bring awareness of the ancient river basin's history, politics, culture and environment. Their program includes presentations to public school groups, a Voyages of Discovery Lecture on Thursday by Nile Project founder Mina Girgis, and a concert Friday in Wright Auditorium - the finale to the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series season.
"It's really interesting because the people in the Nile project don't all speak the same language but they use movement to express themselves," said ECU junior Chloe Ament. "We can say a lot through our movement."
Ament is one of associate professor Teal Darkenwald's dance students who have spent the spring semester learning and fine-tuning the performance they will present Saturday during a celebration of research and creative activity as a parting gift to the visiting musicians. Darkenwald's Honors College class with Susan Pearce, associate professor of sociology, anchors the Gifts to the Nile session, where ECU students will present performative offerings inspired by the Nile Project visit.
"I'm so pleased that students from across the university have embraced the project by engaging in the lectures, workshops, panels and performances," said Michael Crane, associate dean of research, marketing and outreach in the College of Fine Arts and Communication and SRAPAS director.
ECU junior Emma Konnick said the dance piece encourages a closeness and connection with each other - a central theme for the Nile Project which uses music to connect audiences to the world's longest river and bigger issues such as water resources and sustainability, according to the project website.
"The Nile Project is a collaborative form. It's cool to see collaboration in the music and history; it's been an eye-opening experience," Konnick said.
The choreography for the piece is rhythmic, with a strong backbeat. "It drives our energy," Ament said.
ECU senior Jacob Regan added "This piece is all about unity. It inspires a coming together as one."
The Nile Project residency is supported by Student Involvement and Leadership, the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the Honors College, the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series, Arts Smart and South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council.