Oberlin’s Winter Term affords students the opportunity to participate in immersive learning experiences outside of regular course offerings. Winter Term supports students as they expand their academic knowledge, prepare for future careers, conduct intensive research, put on artistic performances, and develop new skills. Students can choose to enroll in one of the over fifty different faculty- and staff-led group projects offered during the term. In Winter Term 2023, this included Tatyana Tenenbaum’s choreography and composition project, “Revelatory Vibrations”. The project offered students the chance to delve into the world of choreography and composition, and to grow as artists under the guidance of a talented and experienced artist.
Tenenbaum is a choreographer and composer who employs breath, voice, fascia and musculature to excavate spaces of memory, power and transformation. Her Jewish ancestors wove their voices – literally and metaphorically – into the tuneful stories of the Broadway stage. She draws from this lineage while grappling with the lived residues of American violence buried in its form, feeling and pleasure. Her work, which sits at the juncture of experimental music and dance, has been described as “rich polyphony” (The New Yorker) and “transcending the fraught history between utterance and stance through an exacting inquiry” (Critical Correspondence).
Tenenbaum’s group Winter Term Project culminated in a performance that showcased students’ growth and development throughout the month. Tatyana Tenenbaum said of the project, “I have been blown away by the students’ willingness to jump into all of these offerings and to bring their fullness to voice/body work. In just two weeks we have built a performance score that combines co-created environments as well as material I have offered from past works. My goal is to encourage each of them to find their growth edge and to find the magic of performance as an active, unfolding excavation and energetic state. We are working with amplification and live electronics, approaching this technology through the body of course, and through our multivalent listening. The result has been pure magic.”
Participating students found the experience equally magical. Asked about spending their Winter Term with Tenenbaum, first-year TIMARA major Amanda Hergn said, “When I first started working with Tatyana Tenenbaum, I had no idea just how deep and personal this project was. To throw shame out the window and move with all the muscle memories you carry. Experiencing vibrations in one’s own body, in others, in your feet, and in the environment intuitively all felt surreal…” Likewise, Chris Dahlke, TIMARA and Viola Performance major shared: “working with Tatyana was one of the most inspiring and creatively energizing experiences I’ve had at Oberlin. Exploring her practice of movement, vibrations, and processing was revelatory—especially within the environment of trust she fostered in our group of participants.”
Oberlin’s winter term, with its emphasis on immersive learning, offers a unique and valuable opportunity for students to explore their passions and interests in a meaningful way. “Revelatory Vibrations” is a prime example of the kind of transformative experiences that can be had during this special term.