Witnessing life through art

By Elyas Harris


From Martincich’s perspective, theatre and dance share narratives through kinesthetic and emotional cues.  As a professor, she has discovered that art, in a university setting, has the ability to broaden perspectives on an emotional and intellectual level.

“Art demands the intersection of technologies with humanity in innovative ways which communicate an experience,” Martincich said.

Martincich received her Masters of Fine Arts from Smith College and her B.A. in Theatre/English from Marquette University. She was invited to the University as a visiting professor in 2007.  The University was in search of a dance professor with expertise in jazz dance, dance conditioning, ballet and musical theatre choreography. Martincich taught in Minnesota for a year prior to being offered a permanent position on campus.

Martincich’s work at the University allows her to teach both theatre and dance courses.

“Every jazz class, I learn something new about natural rhythm and community. Every class I deal with new humans. Setting dance on them informs me because everyone moves differently. It’s always about an individual expressing his or her style,” Martincich said.

In addition to teaching, she spends time researching in both fields and performing as a dancer. In April of 2011, “Then Again,” a collaborative piece by Martincich and her colleague Kathryn Borrows, opened in Chicago. Martincich’s current work, “Lone Windows,” is a physical narrative as an ekphrastic work, inspired by Edward Hopper’s paintings and flash fiction from Joseph Scapellato.

“My favorite thing is collaboration. Collaboration is key. It’s what develops the form,” Martincich said.

Art has been a major influence throughout Martincich’s life, who was introduced to arts at an early age by her mother and father. She identifies her parents as the guiding force motivating her engagement with creative processes. Growing up outside of Chicago, Martincich had an enviable access to the arts. She got her first dance experience training at Shirley’s Dance Studio of Crest Hill in Illinois. There were many quality jazz music and dance offerings in the Chicago area, she said. Martincich’s parents helped her take advantage of the rich arts scene in the region and to connect the arts with issues of social justice. They even recruited her as an emerging artist to choreograph performances for charity and local community events. From those early experiences, Martincich internalized the power of art to address issues of diversity and/or gender inequality.

Martincich attempts to bring to her work here, and to her students, her embrace of the transformative and pragmatic potentialities of art. She sees art as an important aspect of the social balance on campus.

She believes that students are rising to the challenge and noted the “Double Take Project” of Tina Cody ’12, a show which addresses student concerns and experiences on campus.

Martincich believes that after acquiring an artistic and intellectual toolbox, students can begin to integrate arts into everyday life.

“Be educated in everything. Take as many classes as you possibly can. Know that everything can be used. Be able to make connections. Community is where the heart of art is. Synthesize all those connections you make. Research. Be generous. Give as much as you take in. Contribute,” Martincich said.

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