The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: November 16, 2016 (Page 2 of 2)

Sarah Juli and Claire Porter return to the dance studios with their newest duet

Expression plays a large role in Juli and Porter’s work. GRANT HALVERSON/COURTESY PHOTO

Expression plays a large role in Juli and Porter’s work. GRANT HALVERSON/COURTESY PHOTO

“Short Stories” relies heavily on humor. GRANT HALVERSON/COURTESY PHOTO

“Short Stories” relies heavily on humor. GRANT HALVERSON/COURTESY PHOTO

It started in caps and gowns. They both stood at the podium whispering to each other, waiting to begin. “Are you wearing deodorant? I don’t think you’re wearing deodorant.” “I never wear deodorant.” They begin their commencement addresses at the same time at the podium, eliciting immediate laughter from us in the audience. They stop. Back up. Begin again, this time with more aggression and larger gestures. They repeat this a third time, before their simultaneous speeches morph into a costume change. This time, they take turns walking downstage on the runway in different articles of clothing, including a foam finger, asking different variations of “Does this clash?”

Sara Juli and Claire Porter are known for their comedic artistry. Juli, a Maine-based solo artist and Porter, from New Jersey, were first paired together by the American Dance Festival (ADF) a couple years ago and commissioned to present a duet based on anything. To dance artists, this sort of prompt is insidious. The piece they made for ADF was titled “Short Stories” where they were dressed in large, simple ball gowns, sneakers, and red underpants that were exposed later in the piece. In this piece, they told segments of everyday happenings that, when coupled with gestural movements, created a powerful sense of humor that drove the piece to success. The underlying message was that the small things in life can lead to something bigger. Now, they are at it again and came to the Marcy Plavin Dance Studios on campus to workshop their newest duet.

On Friday, November 11, they held an informal showing where several dance students were able to watch and give feedback on the 20 minutes of material they have already made. The two women did not tell us what they thought the piece was about and left the interpretation open to us. As the piece evolved, a sense of competition surfaced via vocal comments and physical gestures. At one point, Juli grabbed two pompoms and performed a cheer to the famous “Be Aggressive” but incorporated suggestions of how to be polite such as “accept the water” and “maintain eye contact.” As it turns out, Juli researched rules on how to succeed in an interview and her cheer consisted of the tips she found online.

In the runway section, Juli mentioned that they were inspired by her seven year old’s recent desire to dress herself, despite the clashing patterns. Juli said that this made her realize that a child’s identity is in part shaped by the clothes they choose to wear. From then on, she has let her daughter dress herself for school everyday.

The dual commencement addresses opened the piece and raised the question of “are they the same person?” insisting a sense of internal competition and criticism that could be translated throughout the whole piece. This is especially apparent in the next section where the two women are sitting in folding chairs going back and forth with suggestions, as if it were a first date gone wrong. Juli would say, “Well, I thought you would have paid the bill” and Porter would reply with “Well, I thought you would have done your hair” and so on and so forth, all the while they were inching closer and closer to each other in the chairs.

The piece raised several questions of gender, rule-breaking, societal expectations and the relationship between the dancers. Were they the same person exposing internal criticism? Were they mother and daughter? Was this about the expectations others have for female behavior? How important is it to follow social rules? None of these questions could be answered by Juli and Porter just yet, as they are in the very beginning stages of their choreographic process. However, I am certain these inquiries, among others, will be illuminated more and more along the way as the piece morphs and develops. These two women gave us an inside look of what is certain to be yet another hilariously realistic piece of art.


A list of emo albums to listen to if you’re feeling particularly emo considering recent events

If you are feeling at all saddened by this election, then I’ve got your remedy to political dissatisfaction. I’ve always believed the immediate solution to sadness is sad music, so for you I’ve gathered some of my favorite emo albums for you to wallow in. Even if you are entirely content with the outcome of this race, then I still implore you to sit and listen to these very good emo records. Or you could do whatever you want. Enjoy if you so choose.

What It Takes To Move Forward – Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate)

Continuing upon long tradition of emo excellence from the Midwest, empire! empire! took front at the third wave of emo revival with their return from emo-punk to a gentler, more somber approach to the genre. Recalling Mineral’s tender EndSerenading, this album is soft, romantic and lyrically impressive. A long album full of long songs, What It Takes requires some effort to finish. Listen to the banjo ballad “With Your Greatest Fears Realized, You Will Never be Comforted” and “Keep What You Have Built Up Here.”

The Power of Failing – Mineral

Mineral was the grandaddy of alternative rock in the new millennium and perhaps the greatest Midwestern emo band ever to come, having (along with Sunny Day Real Estate and Jawbreaker) fundamentally changed the emo sound from a hardcore offshoot to something singular and sad. The Power of Failing is Mineral’s first of only two albums released during their four year lifespan and runs over with emotive energy and lo-fi sincerity. Listen for the songs “Parking Lot,” “Gloria” and “Dolorosa.”

Nothing Was Missing, Except Me – Hightide Hotel

Hightide Hotel is a Philadelphia-based band known for their tight lyricism and breadth of sound. Nothing Was Missing is a bright and brief album, clocking in at barely thirty minutes but full of adolescent passion. The band has undertones of math rock and at moments they fuzz over with business. Sometimes an acoustic guitar, or a sample, or a chorus comes out of nowhere, but it’s all done in fun. Some great tracks include “I’m Just Sippin On Monster, Thinkin About Life” and “Life is Precious, and God, and the Bible.”

Look Now Look Again – Rainer Maria

Formed in Madison, WI, Rainer Maria was one of few female-fronted emo bands in a genre that is almost entirely done from a male perspective. Look Now Look Again was released in 1999, just as emo took a more pop-oriented step. Despite the zeitgeist, they maintained a style devoted to dynamism, poise and ambience. Notable songs: “Planetary,” “Rise” and “Breakfast of Champions.”

Four Minute Mile – The Get Up Kids

An important precursor to pop punk, the Get Up Kids created a sound that was less sparkled and airy than other emo artists and more grounded in traditional punk. Pop punk bands Fall Out Boy and Blink-182 have both claimed the Get Up Kids to have been essential to their own creations and intents. This album is their 1997 debut and is equal parts confession and rebellion. It is rough and immature and indispensable to the genre. Some tracks to notice: “No Love” and “Don’t Hate Me.”

The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me – Brand New

The Devil And God is a pillar in the pantheon of mid-00’s emo and one of the only true emo albums to receive mainstream attention. A concept album about the fight between good and evil, this record works in dichotomies: soft and loud, defeat and victory. Though rather typical in structure, the album accomplishes total devotion to a theme and its atmosphere. Notable tracks: “Sowing Season,” “Jesus Christ” and “You Won’t Know”.


Winter sports previews

Women’s Basketball

Last year’s women’s basketball team put together a solid season, finishing with a 9-15 overall record and a 4-6 showing in the NESCAC, just missing out on the conference tournament. Last year’s team featured just one senior, Chelsea Nason ‘16 who started on the wing for the Cats, so the team should not experience any significant growing pains in terms of chemistry or a lack

This year’s roster will be coming in as a young group with a lot of experience under their belt. They are returning 88% of their scoring output from last year, and are poised to eclipse the .500 mark for the first time since 2010-11. The team will look to Nina Davenport ‘18, as their go to player on the court. Davenport, who averaged fifteen and eight last season and received all-state honors, is expected to have a monster season. Keep on eye on rising seniors Bernadette Connors ‘17 and Allie Coppola ‘17, who both averaged nine a game last year, as two players who will move into the role of steady, reliable leaders and contributors on this team.

Look for the 2016-17 edition of Bates women’s basketball to defend Alumni gymnasium well, secure a few key road victories during their conference slate, and make a run in March.

Stock: Up

Men’s Basketball

Bates Men’s basketball had little reason to celebrate last season. They finished with a disappointing 10-14 record, and did not qualify for any postseason play. Looking ahead to this season, the outlook does not look much better.

Although this year’s team has only lost three seniors to graduation, they were all big contributors and will be sorely missed. Particularly guard Mike Boornazian ‘16, who is 9th all time in scoring in Bates history. This year’s team seemingly has no one who can fill his role as an elite wing scorer.

Indeed, Bates will rely heavily on senior twins Marcus and Malcolm Delpeche ‘17. The defensive minded men will have to step up their offensive game in order for the Bobcats to compete in the NESCAC. Guards Shawn Strickland ‘18, Justin Zukowski ‘18 and Jerome Darling ‘17 are other returners that will be forced to play big roles.

The main flaw with this year’s team is that they lack a go-to guy on offense. No one on the roster has proven that they can consistently score in key situations. Unless they can find that player, it’s going to be a rough season.

Last year’s poor showing was especially disappointing because the season prior to last, the team had the best year in Bates basketball history. In 2014-15, they won a record 21 games and made the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.

Some believe that men’s basketball will continue their winning ways this season, but if you take a closer look at the history of the team, 2014-15 was a clear outlier in terms of success. In fact, it is the only season that the Bobcats have finished over .500 since 2010.

Bates men’s basketball will continue the downward trajectory and finish with an 8-16 record.

Stock: Down

Women’s Squash

The women’s squash team was incredibly young last year, with a roster that included one senior and seven first years. The team is only losing last year’s captain, Lauren Williams ‘16, who competed at six in the team’s ladder last year. The crop of young talent has gained a year of experience, and will look to perform at an even higher level during the upcoming season.

This team is “young, focused and spirited and very confident” in the words of head coach Pat Cosquer ‘97, who is entering his 9th year as head of the Bates squash program. Cosquer listed returning young star Kristyna Alexova ‘19, who was 1st team all-conference and NESCAC rookie of the year last year, as a player to watch this year, along with with classmate Vicky Arjoon ‘19 and newcomer Luca Polgar ‘20. Polgar, along with fellow recruit Eliza Dunham ‘20 are expected to compete in the top five of the team’s ladder.

Cosquer has a proven track record during his tenure of preparing Bates’ squash teams to be perennial competitors. After finishing 5th in the NESCAC last year, with a 13-11 overall mark, look for this team to make some serious noise all season improving on last year’s marks in conference and out.

Stock: Up

Men’s Squash

Assessing how the Men’s squash team will fare this season is particularly hard. They did lose two time defending national champion, Ahmed Abdel Khalek ‘16, which will certainly lead to a decline in talent. But what this year’s team will lose in talent, they will gain in chemistry in the absence of Khalek.

The team returns a veteran group of players; Six out of the 14 players are seniors. Coach Cosquer said in an email that this is the deepest team he has ever coached at Bates. Especially look out for Ahmed Hatata ‘17. He is a three time All-American and has a 56-8 overall record.

Men’s squash will have a better season as a collective team, but they will not enjoy as much individual success.

Stock: Even

Alpine Skiing

Bates alpine skiing had a huge shakeup this off-season. Shockingly, coach Rogan Connell resigned after 15 years at Bates.

Replacing Connell will be Micaela Holland ‘11. Holland qualified for three NCAA National Collegiate Ski Championships in her time as a student-athlete at Bates. She spent the last three years as head alpine skiing coach at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY.

The men’s team will be the youngest in the conference by far according to team leader Matt Glasgow ‘19. They are completely made up of sophomores and freshman, as they have no seniors or juniors. With a new coach, and extremely young team this will be a rebuilding year for the men’s alpine team.

The women’s team carries a lot of momentum from last season. They return many key players, including Kelsey Chenoweth ‘17. Chenoweth qualified for the NCAA Championships two seasons ago, and is poised to do again this year. Despite adjusting to a new coach, the women’s team will improve this season

Men’s team stock: Down Women’s team stock: Up

Nordic Skiing

The Nordic ski team has been arduously preparing for their upcoming season, and hopefully they will have a lot to show for it in the form of quality results at their races this year.

The men’s team will be anchored by a strong core of senior skiers in Wade Rosco ‘17, Nate Moreau ‘17 and Max Millslagle ‘17, who will push each other in their pursuit to qualify for nationals. Similarly on the women’s side, a strong core of upperclass skiers, including Laurel Fiddler ‘17, Halie Lange ‘17 and Sadie James ‘17.

James, who is the only returning skier from either the men’s or the women’s side to qualify for nationals last year, where competed in the 5K freestyle race and the classic 15K race in Colorado last year, and finished in 37th and 30th overall, respectively. She will be intent on returning to the national event, and improving on her times.

This team is as lovable as they are fast, but don’t expect any massive improvements from last season’s results.

Men’s team stock: Even Women’s team stock: Even


From the same place as us

Farah Ben Jemaa is the quiet, but always present French TA from Tunisia. Insightful, but cautious and alway curious, she tells her story about her life now and in Tunisia:

Farah Ben Jemaa: “I was born in Tunisia; I lived my whole life there. I was a very introvert kid, so it didn’t go well in school; it was a little bit better in high school, you grow up so you get more comfortable with yourself. Uh, so the defining thing; there are two defining things in my childhood. I wasn’t very out there so I spent my childhood reading books and not knowing people, and the other thing is that I went to a private school, so when I moved from mmm Junior high to High school, I had to go to a public school and it was like two completely different worlds and I had to and that was my first contact with reality and how my country is. I am so happy it happened that way. Basically, that is it. I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood.”

William Ebert: How was high school a transformative experience?

FBJ: “Um, it is the difference between what I was used to my whole life and what I discovered, what I did not know existed and I discovered it in high school. When I moved to the high school, you had people coming from everywhere because it was downtown, and uh a very old high school, so very different people, and I started learning that you can have terrible grades in school and not be succeeding and be a good person, that was, oddly enough, a discovery for me! I had been brought up to believe that good people have good grades, nice people succeed in school and then I met really nice people who were repeating a year, most of my friends were repeating the year so they were older.

WE: What was it like growing up in Tunisia?

FBJ: Um so one problem in Tunisia is that there isn’t enough public spaces I mean the public space is not really friendly or kid friendly or teenager friendly, so we used to go to each others’ houses more, so we’d go to friends or family. It was very indoors, most of our activities were at each others’ houses, um, what else do we do in Tunisia when we are growing up? It is really family center education, your cousin are really, you share your daily life with your cousin, you share your daily life with your family, so when go to the beach, you go to an aunt’s house, so everything is, maybe it is my experience, everything is centered around the family. We used to go out to suburbs because the suburbs are by the sea, and just um I guess this is really boring hmm. I mean it is just a normal childhood, you hang out with people and you know. Our lives are really not so different.

WE: What did you do after high school?

FBJ: I went to college, I went to a college where, it is something that we inherited from the French, called prepa, basically a school where you go for two year, very selective, very intensive, very hard, and after that you sit for an exam, for many exams, to go to other schools, ok? So the point is that, after 5 years, between that school and the other ones, you are supposed to be able to sit for another exam to get into college. You’re faced with failure all the time because it is so hard, and professors are amazing so you, can’t help, I mean you can’t prevent yourself from comparing yourself to the professors and thinking you’ll never be worth anything and you work hard nonetheless. I also began to travel abroad and that’s something we really need. Not even the greater world, I think that if um, we would have a very different Middle East if the young people from the Middle East could go see each other, could just travel to other Middle Eastern countries. It’s, travel is one of the most difficult things to do for people of my region. Because it is very expensive and because of usually visas. So if we could if we had more travel opportunities, I think, I’m confident that the region would look much different if we could travel.

WE: What was your life like after college?

FBJ: It was really funny. So I told you after college you take 5 years and then an exam. Well in the 5th year I was at a different school and it just happened that, that was where I was recruited the following year, I mean in a two month period, I had a degree and started teaching at the same school I had just graduated from. It was so weird, I couldn’t, I didn’t even know how to address them because two months ago, I would call them Monsieur and Madame and now we’re colleagues so it made for really awkward situations. I also was really very young. I was 23 and it wasn’t a very large college, so lots of people were older than me, many of my students were older than me. There was this one time where this woman came up to me after there was an exam, and there is this expression in Tunisia ‘my dear daughter’ or ‘son’, that you use with someone that could be your daughter or you son. But this woman came up to me and she gave me back her paper and said ‘Madame, my dear daughter, don’t grade us too harshly’, but it was so funny the juxtaposition of Madame which is how you address your professors and my dear daughter. I couldn’t step into the teachers lounge for the first semester, it felt like I was being somewhere I shouldn’t be. And that was the first year I taught.

WE: How has been your experience in America?

FBJ: So something are exactly how I thought they would be, New York for example. When you live outside of America, you are so exposed to that imagery that when you get there, you feel like you’re inside, you feel like you’re still watching. I feel like I was still watching something and not there, but sometime I realized that I actually was there. And it feels very funny to feel like you’re inside a world of fiction. Um so yea, New York, really gave me that impression. But there is a crazy part to America, everything is so huge! And not just, I don’t mean in a bad way, but everything is oversized, enormous; everything, everything.  There were a few things that struck me as strange like the fact that there were so many old people still working and that’s really not something you see in Europe or Tunisia. And here that really broke my heart when I arrived, to see very, very old people working jobs they had to take because they needed to.

WE: Do you think Tunisia is the same in some way to America?

FBJ: Tunisia has been through so much change in the past 5 years, it is progressing, but it’ll take some time. Tunisia is a very interesting country right now, it is ah, it shouldn’t be working, but it is, and I don’t know how! I think, lots of people feel the same about their country, how is it working? What I also like about Tunisia in the current context, so there was a revolution 5 years ago uh that’s what sprung the whole Arab Spring thing, and messed up the region and we are the only country that manage to not have a civil war and go back to a dictator, we got through it. So I like that Tunisia complicates that narrative. European media usually says ‘O so democracy cannot work with an Islamic country, well it does in Tunisia. So far we have been having democratic elections. They usually say that it is difficult to fight ISIS, because ISIS has the support of the population, it doesn’t in Tunisia, they tried to invade  us and the army but mostly the population kick them out to Libya. Maybe I’m being chauvinistic and having misplaced pride, but I like that Tunisia doesn’t fit into the usual narrative about Arab countries. I like that.

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