Summer 2013 Research Project: Cassandra Owen '14

Watch Cassandra Owen '14 discuss her Theatre and Dance research project.

Student-faculty research is an essential part of Pomona's educational mission. In biology, the research process teaches students how to think like a scientist. Students engaged in research work closely with faculty to develop the skills needed to form a biological question and answer it in a rigorous way.

All biology majors either carry out an original experimental or field research project or develop an original research proposal for their senior capstone experience, but students are encouraged to engage in research before their senior year. Some students first become engaged with a research lab as an assistant — helping the faculty member and advanced students with their projects and carrying out lab support tasks. The department also encourages students to spend a summer or a semester involved in biological research, either working with a faculty member on campus or through one of many available research internship programs or biological field station programs.

Dionysus on the Dance Floor

Chrysanthe Oltmann ('12); Anthony Stevens*;  Anna Lazou†; Mentor: Arthur Horowitz
*College Year in Athens, College, Athens, Greece;  †University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Abstract:  The rhetoric of Top-40 songs, which advise listeners to lose yourself on the dance floor, has parallels to the cult worship of Dionysus, which express an overwhelming desire to free the spirit from the body through dance.  Primarily,  I researched theatrical auteurs like Theodoros Terzopoulos, in order to learn more about administering a ritual in a theatrical setting.   Furthermore, I joined the Dora Stratou Ancient Greek Orchesis Troupe, and learned the solemn Apollonian movements as well as the ecstatic Dionysian dances.  Through these experiences, I've determined that the worship of Dionysus functions to liberate the mind from orderly binaries, celebrating the complexities that define the human experience.  And just as our drinking culture functions as its own ritual, my research has given me the tools to recreate such a ritual, for the actors involved (through physical preparation) but especially for the audience (through musical repetition as well as participation).
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP