March 13, 2015

Alex Adam ’07 Award Winners Share Their Work


Princeton seniors Tula Strong, Yessica Martinez, & John Somers Fairchild with Laszlo & Winky Adam.

At a recent gathering that included the Adam family and Lewis Center faculty and staff, three Princeton University seniors shared stories and glimpses of the ambitious creative projects they undertook last summer with support from the Alex Adam ’07 Award.

Tula Strong ’15 studied with leading NYC choreographers, taught Polynesian dance classes within her hometown, and probed her own multi-disciplinary approach to using movement as a means of preserving and sharing cultural narratives. Her work will be performed in “Exit,” the collaborative Senior Dance Thesis show on April 17-18.

John Somers Fairchild ’15 traveled New Zealand, working with a renowned hip hop choreographer and other cultural leaders to explore Maori dance and history.  He also used his traveling experiences to develop the pilot script for an episodic drama series, which he plans to continue developing after graduation. He played Moritz in Spring Awakening this spring.

Yessica Martinez ’15 traveled the length of the US-Mexico border, volunteering, teaching, documenting the experience of detained migrants and divided families, and working on a manuscript of new poetry. She is the co-winner of this year’s Pyne Prize and a recipient of the Labouisse Prize, which will enable her to pursue a yearlong civic engagement project in her native Colombia after graduation.

Here’s a look at some of the artwork they created during or soon after their transformative summer work:

Han Desaparecido,” choreographed and filmed by Tula Strong. See more of her work in Dance on Camera and at


Academy (Warriors), choreographed by John Somers Fairchild for BAC Dance.


by Yessica Martinez

There’s monotony in this whole thing
A wave hits the fence, breaks through
Its teeth. Once, twice, steady with the
Tide. It rolls as easy as the time dripping
From you. You would almost sleep
You think, if not for the cold wind.

Industry—pressure valves, ducts and
Pipes. Always the split, the strain and
The spill, the picking, the hauling,
The cleaning. A caged bull flattening
His horns against a wall. Sisyphus and
A perfectly weighted stone.

But, in this white noise there is warning.
Fortune telling, a steady pitch rising.
If we could reach to the lip and trench
Of the sea, our eyes would meet a distant
Time, a coming time, what treads and
Thunders toward us.

The tower was as tall as the clouds, so
Tall that when it started to bend and fall,
They did not notice and when they did,
They had time to run a full length, and
Still they could not flee. Can you feel it?
The ocean taking the floor from your heels.

Press Contact

Steve Runk
Director of Communications