Olive Prince Dance, a dance company founded by William Smith alum Olive Prince ’99, was in residence at Hobart and William Smith from Feb. 4, through Feb. 8. Prince has been commissioned to create site-specific pieces throughout Philadelphia and created a piece, “twine: a celebration of power” to honor the 40th anniversary of women’s studies at the Colleges. Designed specifically to be performed in the Blackwell Library and Fisher Center in Demarest Hall, “twine” was presented as the culmination of the residency on Feb. 7, and explored the psychology of women in relation to internal power and the external gaze.
“As a community of women our goal will be to express the complexities and simplicities of power in our relationship to the space, the audience and one another,” said Prince prior to returning for the residency. “I always thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to bring my company to HWS and Professor of Dance Donna Davenport offered us this unique opportunity to create choreography that is made for a particular site instead of the concert stage.”
The work was inspired by artist Marcel Duchamp and his experimentations with space and display. In 1942, as part of a retrospective exhibition of Surrealist art, Duchamp created a gigantic web of string throughout the gallery, covering paintings and making it difficult for viewers to see the work. This caused the audience to get closer to the work, to look more deeply, and to have more power in the process of viewing.
Prince explained twine as, “A piece where the audience is a more active spectator and the dancers negotiate display. Duchamp’s concept will be translated in the dance by giving the spectator freedom to wander through the space, to see the actions on display, and to have actual choice over lighting the piece.”
In one section the audience was given flashlights to illuminate the dance.
While on campus, Prince also provided several master classes.
Prince earned a B.A. in individual studies cum laude, having created an individual major in children’s rights and public policy. She minored in dance and was a member of Koshare as a student. She also participated in the semester abroad program in London. After working professionally in Boston as an educational consultant, she earned an MFA in dance from Temple University and has performed nationally and internationally as a company member with Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, Merian Soto Performance Practice, and Group Motion. Her choreography has been presented numerous times in the U.S. and internationally. Prince has taught and choreographed at many universities and currently teaches dance at Drexel University.
She has returned to perform at HWS twice since graduation, most recently having been selected to perform one of her works in the Dance Alumni Concert. She also returned about five years after graduation to perform a solo work, “Figment of Her,” for which she received national attention while working on her MFA. “Figment of Her” was selected for the American Colleges Dance Festival Association (ACDFA) Gala Concert and the ACDFA National Concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Prince received the ACDFA/Dance Magazine Award Nominee for Outstanding Student Performer.
Prince was excited to bring “twine” to campus, calling it “A dream come true.”