4B - Thursday, October 11, 2007
From page 1B
visation," a dance without rules or particu-
lar direction. You can dance however you
want. You don't even have to "dance" -
"move"might be a better word. You can also
play the drums or the piano, sit and draw,
write or just watch. It's not structured, and
being "productive" isn't on anyone's mind.
Alex Springer, a Dance senior and the
head of the University's Dance Student
Assembly, is here. If anyone runs the Jam,
"Improv Jam is about creating an envi-
ronment where people can be unique, but
also part of a community," Springer said.
That community finds its roots in the
Dance department, part of the School of
Music, Theatre and Dance. It may be the
most unknown school within the Univer-
sity. Just ask dance senior Jenny Thomas.
"When I was a freshman, I had people
asking me, 'You're in dance? You mean the
dance team for football, right?' "she said.
Not exactly. Thomas and her classmates
are in an exclusive arts program competi-
tive with some of the nation's best conser-
Things are changing in the department.
A new chair and a slew of fresh professors
and students who are eager to make chang-
es are having a real effect on the program
and its placeat the University.
"There are a lot of opportunities in the
department, but it's the students' role to be
ambitious and take them," Thomas said.
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Banishing this prejudice is one of the
goals of Improv Jam and the environment
it tries to create. And it is a remarkable
environment. The air crackles with energy,
and there's something more: freedom. It's
all part of building that innovative atmo-
sphere, Springer said.
"If someone wanted to go out there and
just yell'Fuckyou!'that would be absolutely
fine," he said. "It'd change the environment
and become part of the dance."
He's not kidding. At one point, a fold-
ing chair was dragged onto the floor and
thrown down. The dancers reacted by mov-
ing to it and stomping on it aggressively - a
sort of dance battle. It's a freedom to invent
that many dance majors aren't able to expe-
ience anywhere else.
Said Dance sophomore Marlee Cook-
Parrott: "We do technique all day. This is a
chance to not be controlled, to create new
things, to learn from each other."
Everywhere you look in the room, there's
evidence of this. People seem to do whatev-
er comesto mind at the time, some together,
"Everyone just does their thing in their
own space, someone else's space, whatev-
er," said Scott Tolinski, an LSA junior and
It's a liberating thing to see. "It's as if
they forget they're being watched," said an
LSA freshman who experienced the event
for the first time.
Said Dance sophomore Sam Stone: "No
one judges you here - ever."
It's quite a claim, but for Improv Jam the
proof is on the dance floor.
Anything goes at the Improv Jam, which goes on tomorrow night at 8 p.m. at the Betty Pease Dance Building, Studio One.
That doesn't seem to slow them down,
with constant innovation and programs
from both the department and its students.
This week alone, there was a movie screen-
ing, an alumni reunion and a master class,
all of which speak to the flurry of activity
slipping past the rest of the University. Not
to mention the student initiative demon-
strated by Improv Jam.
The Jam is part of an effort to encour-
age a spirit of shared learning within the
department and to combat the friction
between dance and the rest of the Univer-
sity. Friction or, perhaps, a lack of respect.
"Once, I was in a program with a lot of
LSA students, and I remember one of them
saying to me, 'Dance? That mustbe nice,' as
if it was so easy," Thomas said.
It goes both ways. Aidan Feldman, who
has a double major in computer science and
dance, sees it in another perspective.
"It's funny, but the engineers I know
seem to appreciate dance more than the
dancers appreciate engineering," he said.
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From page 1B
Jeremy Peters, director of
licensing and publishing atGhost-
ly International, an Ann Arbor-
based indie record label, said only
a big name could pull this off.
"This type of method only
works for bands with the cachet
of Radiohead," Peters said. "It
may be anail in the coffin for the
common model, but not for the
Inventing a new model for the
industry is tough, though, and
even tougher when music is read-
ily available online and for free.
Peters said companies are trying
to market special editions to draw
customers and are capitalizing on
the reemergence of vinyl as a new
angle to sell albums.
Though probably not the
demise for the record indus-
try, what the Radiohead digital
release may signal is the tipping
point for death of the local indie-
music store. Considering the
huge number of copies Radiohead
would have sold had it released
the albumby traditional means -
the band still plans to sometime
later in the year, with or without
a label - the revenue is removed
from a sector of business that
is already struggling to keep up
with the digital age.
Steve Bergman, founder of Ann
Arbor-based Schoolkids' Records
in Exlie, understands the effects
firsthand. The local record store,
has had trouble competing with
online retailers, chain stores and
the pirating of music online. Now
residing in the upstairs of the
Shaman Drum Bookshop, Berg-
man hopes to stay through the
end of the month and then will
make the eventual shift to online
"Music as astandalone isgone,"
Bergman said, who's been in the
retail music business since 1973.
"In order to survive, you have to
sell used (albums) or other mer-
Bergman said the future may
be in special releases, offering
digital downloads along with a
vinyl release, for example. "In
the end, people still want some-
thing tangible," he said. "And a
great music store is still a special
But even Bergman doesn't
blame Radiohead. Rather, he puts
blame on the record companies.
"They're right on,'' Berg-
man said. "It's a benign move on
Radiohead's part. They're doing
it for the fans and away from
the short-sided greediness of the
Radiohead has essential-
ly eliminated the middlemen
between the fans and the band's
music, thus turning a full profit
as opposed to dividing the money
between record companies and
"Technology has changed the
way music is marketed, and the
record companies need to learn
that you can't change change,"
Music has adapted to fit for-
mats for centuries, and there's no
evidence this will change now.
Maybe Radiohead is redefining
the cost of music or the ways it
will be marketed, but there will
always be a niche for record com-
panies, though they may not be
the domineering entities that
they once were. As for the record
store? Said Bergman: "Schoolkids
can't make it anymore, but some
other store will eventually find a
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WISH YOU COULD'VE REVIEWED
RADIOHEAD'S NEW ALBUM?
The adventures of Huckleberry Finn come
alive in this Tony Award-winning musical
October 17, 2007
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Joan & Sanford Weill Hall,
Music and lyrics by Roger Miller
Book by William Hauptman
Directed by Mark Madama
Musical Direction by Catherine Walker Adams
Department of Musical Theatre
Oct. 11 at 7:30 PM * Oct. 12 & 13 at 8 PM
Oct. 14 at 2 PM eMendelssohn Theatre
Tickets $24 and $18 * Students $9 with ID
League Ticket Office 734-764-2538
Music,Theatre & Dance
University of Michigan
735 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109