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Spelman Dancers Use Movement-Tracking Software to Ignite the Sounds, Rituals and Transformation of Atlanta’s West End Share a Spelman College Press Release

For Immediate Release 

Media Contact: 
Audrey Arthur 
(404)-270-5892 (office) 
Twitter: @SpelmanMedia

Meet Me on the PorchAtlanta (March 21, 2018) - In the spirit of rejuvenation, freedom, and rebirth, Spelman Dance Theater will premiere “Meet Me on the Porch” on the front porches of three South Gordon Street residences in Atlanta’s West End community on March 24 and March 25, at 3 p.m.

“Meet Me on the Porch” is the first step by Spelman Dance Theater to explore the many facets of gentrification. The process begins by thinking critically about Spelman’s place in the community and what it means to be a Spelman student in the historic Atlanta neighborhood. Faculty and students observed, asked questions, fostered dialogue, and invited neighbors to the Spelman Dance Lab to participate in their creative process.

“We wanted to see our new home through our neighbors’ eyes and for them to take part in our process of discovery,” said Kathleen Wessel, lecturer in the Department of Dance Performance and Choreography. “Through a series of drafts, choreographers and dancers explored the community and created movement based on what we learned.”

Directed by T. Lang, department chair, “Meet Me on the Porch” examines the dynamics of gentrification with a focus on displacement and shifting communities on South Gordon Street. Three faculty and two student choreographers partnered with three West End homeowners to create original works grounded in historical and familial research.

For this innovative dance performance, Spelman has teamed up with David James, Ph.D., assistant professor of practice at George Washington University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Dr. James created movement-tracking software that triggers and amplifies sound in real time as the dancers move. Smartphones, secured in costumes designed by local fabric artist Grace Kisa, activate ancient bell tones, modern street sounds, and ATLien frequencies that track the historic neighborhood's transformation over time.

Spelman opened a new satellite facility in the West End neighborhood to give the dance department space to expand its creative focus and connect with community members through collaborative performances like “Meet Me on the Porch.” Dance Lab faculty and students have built a visual and auditory map of the West End through continued community dialogue and interactive performances.

Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25, 2018 3 p.m.

Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22, 2018 3 p.m.
Spelman Dance Theater will remount "Meet Me on the Porch" on the front porch of Reynolds Cottage, the historic campus residence of Spelman’s president.

Spelman Dance Theater
1384 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd.
Atlanta, Georgia 30310
(Performances will start promptly at 3 p.m. at the Spelman Dance Theater and end at the South Gordon Street residences.)

MEDIA NOTE:  Spelman College students and faculty will be available for on-site and post interviews. To confirm media attendance, email or call 404-270-5892.

Follow the events of the day at #meetmeontheporch.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News and World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 61 among all liberal arts colleges and No. 1 among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and author Pearl Cleage. For more information, visit


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