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Dance

Fall 2003

Wings to Fly

Mia Song Swartwood hovered over the Gladish Auditorium stage on pointe, adorned in vibrant plumage of gold, teal, and purple, arms stretched skyward, joyous in flight. Cast in the lead role of The Sparrow Queen, the May 10 inaugural production of Pullman’s Graham Academy of Contemporary Ballet, Swartwood embodied the free spirit that ultimately unites two estranged sisters in the ballet based on a Japanese fairy tale.

Swartwood’s own life is something of a fairy tale that began in South Korea. Left at a local Catholic Children’s Services Center in Inchon the day she was born, Swartwood was adopted a year later by Jim and … » More …

Fall 2009

What I’ve Learned Since College: An interview with Maurice (Sandy) Pearson

Maurice Pearson was born in Chicago in 1904. When he was just a year old, his family moved west and settled in Ferndale on 40 acres near the Lummi Indian reservation. Everyone called him Sandy because of his red hair.

After high school, Pearson worked for three years on bridge projects in Ferndale and Everett until he felt he had enough money to pay for his first year at Washington State College. He was the only one of his six siblings to go on to college.

While in Pullman, Pearson first “bached” with friends in an apartment downtown over Johnny Gannon’s Pool Hall. Later, he … » More …

Fall 2002

Whispered prayers

On the floor of Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum, Native American children dressed in full regalia run off steam before the grand dance at the Pah-Loots-Pu Powwow this Saturday night in April. One of them is Red Bear McCloud, the 5-year-old son of arena director Russell McCloud, seated at the announcer’s platform in jeans and a crimson wind jacket. Father looks on at son unhurriedly. The grand dance is scheduled for 6 p.m., an hour away, but McCloud knows it will most likely be later. Always factor in Indian time—about half an hour more than what’s advertised.

“I grew up going to powwows,” McCloud says. He … » More …

Fall 2002

Dancing for the Gods

On a recent spring evening, the audience at Daggy Hall was mesmerized by a rare glimpse of a complex and ancient culture. For more than two hours, Raji Soundararajan, who by day is a research associate with the Center for Materials Research, danced the magical Bharata Natyam.

Though obviously a rare treat, for many Indians in the audience Bharata Natyam was not so exotic as it was for the rest of us. Even without the excellent explanations by Mani Venkatasubramanian, associate professor in electrical engineering, they understood the stories, the rich allusion to Hindu epics danced by Ms. Soundararajan. The rest of us, including many … » More …