A Celebration Service – The Dancer’s Ensembles (DAN4184.02)

Thomas Bogdan & Levi Gonzalez

This class will reconstruct and perform Meredith Monk’s “A Celebration Service” for the Bennington College community.  Tom Bogdan, an original cast member in the work, will cast and teach an ensemble of singer/ dancers to be joined by an ensemble of “Processional” dancers, supervised by Levi Gonzalez to perform this spiritually inspired performance piece, created by American composer and pioneer of interdisciplinary performance, Meredith Monk. A Celebration Service uses Monk’s musical and movement compositions, as well as texts from various world religions to create a contemporary ritual celebrating the larger community of mankind and the power of the human spirit.  Bogdan, a long-time member of Monk’s vocal ensemble, has recreated the work to ensembles in Budapest, Sao Paulo, Manila, Kiev, Syracuse University and several times at Bennington College. Originally performed by 12 members of Monk’s Vocal ensemble, “A Celebration Service” will be performed in Bennington by up to thirty students and faculty in Greenwall Music Workshop on May 5 and 6.

Levi Gonzalez will schedule intensive weekly dance rehearsals after Allison Easter teaches and reconstructs the movement components of the work. The 10 singing /dancing performers must be available for weekend rehearsals on March 10 (evening) and 11, 2 two-hour sessions, and March 24 (evening) and 25, 2 two-hour sessions.

In addition to the cast of singer/dancers, an ensemble of up to ten dancers will be formed to learn and perform the celebratory processional that concludes “A Celebration Service.” The singers/dancers and Processional dance ensemble will meet weekly on Wednesday evenings with Levi Gonzalez, after Allison Easter’s weekend intensive rehearsal sessions, to rehearse the folkdance and to develop improvisational skills and an ensemble awareness. Performances are scheduled for Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6.

Course dates: March 10, 11, 24 & 25 for the singer/dancers. Also, Wednesday evenings (7:00-8:50pm) March 15 – May 3 for the singer/dancers and the Processional dance ensemble.


Learning Outcomes:



Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Audition. Tuesday November 29, 5:30-7 PM in Greenwall (VAPA). All students wishing to audition must be at the full audition.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 1
W 7:00PM-8:50PM (2nd module block)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: Fully In-Person , All courses , Dance , Music
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