Student produces free instrumental and dance performance to raise awareness about bullying, ally involvement
‘Uncommon Action’ to premiere on Feb. 3 at CNY Jazz
Syracuse University music education senior Rachel Dentinger has enlisted 16 student musicians and a team of production assistants to produce an interdisciplinary program about bullying and ally involvement that has been more than a year and a half in the making. Titled “Uncommon Action,” Dentinger’s production is a unique artistic effort where the classical musicians will also perform as dancers while playing. The musical piece, commissioned from Eric Maine (’12, music education), tells the story of a student who suffers the effects of being bullied in school and the ally who steps in; Maine based his work on a poem written by Dentinger.
“Uncommon Action” debuts on Feb. 3 at CNY Jazz, 441 E. Washington St. in Syracuse. Performances are at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and are free and open to the public. To reserve seats, register at blogs.soe.syr.edu/Uncommon_Action.
Different instruments will represent different “characters” in this four-movement original classical piece, with a single cello playing the role of the victim of bullying, and the alto saxophone as the ally. The first half of the performance will have the performers seated, playing in traditional concert dress. However, the second half will see the entire ensemble come alive with movement, lights and colorful costumes. For the larger instruments such as cello, bassoon and tuba, special harnesses had to be engineered to make dance possible.
The performance of “Uncommon Action” and Dentinger’s role as artistic director serves as her senior capstone project, a requirement of the Renee Crown University Honors Program. However, Dentinger has been involved in social advocacy work since high school.
“The focus of this project is on becoming an active ally as an empowered bystander in an instance of bullying, a topic that I am very passionate about as a future educator,” she says. “If all goes well with this performance, we would like to perform in middle and high schools in the future.”
“Uncommon Action” is sponsored by the Renee Crown University Honors program, the School of Education, College of Visual and Performing Arts and individual donors through Dentinger’s Kickstarter website. For more information, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/1094259113/uncommon-action.