An exploration of beatboxing and the choreopoem led by Chesney Snow & Rebecca Arends
Participants will explore the creation and origin of the choreopoem through the lens of beatboxing, hip hop theater, physical movement and, of course, style! The choreopoem is a form of drama that fuses elements of hip hop such as beatboxing and spoken word with contemporary dance movement theater to express stories with a stylistic emphasis on the generation of visceral emotional responses from audiences. Pioneered by iconic American playwright Ntozake Shange, the form continues to evolve the life of American theater. Using beatboxing, movement, and spoken word, Drama Desk Award-winning beatbox artist, poet and Broadway performer Chesney Snow and dancer/director/choreographer Rebecca Arends guide participants through a journey of vocal sound, verse, and modern dance to explore the systemic oppression and marginalization.
CHESNEY SNOW is a Drama Desk award winner and a 3 time Artist in Residence at Harvard University with the Office of the Arts. He most recently appeared in Two River Theater’s production of Oo Bla Dee written by Golden Globe winner Regina Taylor and directed by Tony winner Ruben Santiago Hudson. He was a composer and lyricist for the McCarter Theatre’s 2018 production of Crowns alongside Pulitzer finalist and Obie winner Diedre Murray at Princeton University. He also appeared in McCarter Theatre’s “Princeton and Slavery Plays” directed by Carl Cofield. Snow is an interdisciplinary artist. He released his debut album on Warner Music in Europe as the songwriter for his group Spoken Love.
Considered a pioneering figure in American beatbox culture, Snow co-founded the American Beatbox Championships where he served as the executive producer for 7 years. The annual event held in New York City is a 3-day international arts festival featuring performances, film screenings, workshops, gallery exhibitions, panel discussions, and of course beatboxing battles of all kinds. Snow also created, produced, and starred in the feature documentary American Beatboxer which was placed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame archive as well as Schomburg Center for Black Research, the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University, and the Harvard University Hip Hop archive. The film was licensed by Sean “P Diddy” Combs’ Revolt TV (Time Warner) after receiving accolades at numerous domestic and international film festivals.
Snow recently starred on Broadway in the a cappella musical In Transit at Circle In The Square. He originated the role of “Boxman” both on and off Broadway. He has headlined Carnegie Hall twice with Distinguished Concerts International. His critically acclaimed autobiographical choreopoem The Unwritten Law was commissioned by Dixon Place experimental theatre and hailed as “Political Theatre at its best. The most powerful theatre I have ever witnessed” by Broadwayworld.
For over two decades Snow’s work as a teaching artist has centered on engaging the arts as a vehicle for social change and empowerment. He has been a collaborator with Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Lisa Russell for over 10 years developing performances, workshops, and dialog surrounding the arts and education with the United Nations. He has taught workshops and masterclasses in countless prisons, hospitals, public and private schools and universities including Harvard University, Juilliard, New York University, University of Wisconsin Platteville, the Kingdom of Bhutan, and the U.S. State Department with American Voices, as well as numerous theaters throughout the country. He is a long time teaching artist with New Victory Theater and more recently with The Town Hall in New York City where he created a storytelling intensive with young incarcerated men in Rikers Island Correctional facility.
REBECCA ARENDS graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in History and Afro-American Studies. She also attended The Ailey School (Oprah Winfrey Foundation Fellowship) under the direction of Denise Jefferson. For nine seasons, she toured with the Seán Curran Company. Serving as cultural ambassadors of the U.S. State Department, SCCo toured throughout Central Asia (Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan). Additional credits include Seán Curran Company & Ustatshakirt Plus (Dream’d In a Dream), Seán Curran Company + The King’s Singers (Travel Songs), Anybodys (El Paso Opera’s West Side Story), The Kiss (Tino Sehgal, Guggenheim Museum), Trainor Dance and Rosario. She was Dance Captain in Washington National Opera’s production of Terence Blanchard’s Champion at The Kennedy Center and was in the original cast of both Champion and Mr. Blanchard’s newest opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones , at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Rebecca was an Adjunct Professor and Assistant Director of the Drexel Dance Ensemble at Drexel University (2016-2019) and resident jazz/contemporary instructor for Sparks Dance Company at The University of Pennsylvania. Rebecca is on faculty at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, where she teaches Modern Technique & Improvisation, Ballet, and Variations. She is the founder of RAREdancework, and her work has been presented at Dixon Place, Greenspace, Constellation Chicago, Drexel University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, The Barnes Foundation and Carnegie Hall. Rebecca is the director, choreographer and co-creator of The Unwritten Law with Drama Desk Award winner, Chesney Snow.
Alexander Street, between Lawrence Drive in Princeton and Canal Pointe Boulevard in West Windsor, will close for about six months beginning on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, for road construction.
Construction makes traveling to campus more time consuming. Traffic congestion from all routes to campus during peak times (weekdays, 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.) will be higher than normal. Drivers traveling to campus along Route 1 will see the greatest delays.