The Ohio State University at Lima

DaNCe2U tour uses dance to spur discussion about mental health

January 16, 2020

The Ohio State Dance and BalletMet2 Collaborative DaNCe2U 2019-2020 Tour utilizes dance to ignite discussion about mental health issues when they perform at The Ohio State University at Lima at 12:15 p.m., Fri., Jan. 24, 2020, in the Martha W. Farmer Theatre for the Performing Arts in Reed Hall.

DaNCe2U brings two masterworks in the dance canon to foster discussion about mental health and its stigma – Anna Sokolow’s Rooms set to music by Kenyon-Hopkins and George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments set to music by Hindemith. The Four Temperaments refers to the four humors of the ancient Greek philosophy: sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic. Rooms’ sections “Alone” (isolation), “Panic” (anxiety), “Desire” (unrequited love), “The End” (inner turmoil) and “Daydream” (feelings of longing) all align with aspects of mental health in today’s society.

“These two works allow us to talk about global issues of mental health in a new light with a different lens into conversation about mental health and what we can do for ourselves and our communities,” said Valarie Williams, professor of dance. “The dancers are touring together and learning from different audiences, learning from each other, and become ambassadors for dance as a critical artform to engender discussion about difficult conversations.”

The performances will serve as the vehicle for a mental health panel afterwards whose purpose is to facilitate awareness and to reduce the stigma around those who experience mental health challenges. Panelist will include Carmen Cupples, lecturer in social work; Beth Sutton-Ramspeck, associate professor of English; Margie Anich, lecturer in theater; and Samantha Haudenschield, lecturer in psychology and coordinator of Ohio State Lima’s Counseling and Consultation Service.

According to Williams, the performing and visual arts have a history of collaborative research and creative activity projects that address solutions, treatment, and socialization of mental health, and DaNCe2U#mentalhealth is just one of the many ways the performing arts can align with this topic.

“Dance provides a way for people to contemplate a new way to see and to move and to converse about mental health issues because it provides a new way of thinking about them,” Williams said. “We can see in the movement how the ideas of anxiety, daydreaming, suicide, depression, feelings of aloneness or how we relate to society based on our own character are portrayed.”

The DaNCe2U #mentalhealth Performance and Panel Tour is a collaboration among the Department of Dance, BalletMet 2 and the University Libraries. The event is free and open to the public.

More about the tour

image of DaNCe2U dancers