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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Bernstein Festival opens with yarn and music

Published: April 27, 2012
Section: News

The campus and lamp posts around the SCC have been yarn-bombed with vibrant multi colored knit for the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts. Kinetic sculpture pieces have been put up within the student center itself. More observant community members may have even noticed sophomore Sarah Bierman’s tiny copper people hanging out in trees on the humanities quad. On Thursday, the Creative Arts festival officially began with the Art Activation, an opening celebration that took place in the atrium of the Shapiro Campus Center. The event began with a musical performance by an eclectic group of musicians consisting of violins, violas, hand drums, a wooden wind instrument and a Turkish oud. As the ensemble played, a group of dancers clad in black clothes took center stage and performed a lively circle dance featuring jumping and clapping. Once the music stopped, the dancers left the center of the atrium rhythmically chanting while walking in procession. As the dancers filed out, students and faculty members alike loudly declared the various ways in which “Art Activates!” The overall effect was a slam poetry performance that echoed around student center, eventually dying down into a steady chant of “Art Activates You! Art Activates Me!” A string trio began playing a classical piece as a single dancer took the center of the room and performed modern dance to accompany the music. The dancer interacted with both the music and the musicians themselves before bringing out a member of the audience who turned out to be a lead in the next performance. The final performance was a rendition of “Carnaval del Barrio” from the Tony award-winning musical “In the Heights.” This group of dancers, singers and rappers took the stage by storm, delighting the audience with their performance of the lively musical number. Their dances, which were accompanied by the waving of flags of various Latin countries, concluded with a conga line that exited the atrium. The group had previously performed together as part of Brandeis Cares. At this performance there was much more audience participation as the onlookers took to clapping along with the music as it was performed. The opening celebration closed with provost Steve Goldstein declaring the festival officially open.