Rothrock Residency 2021: Tune-Yards

The Tune-Yards exclusive virtual concert for Middlebury premiered Thursday, April 22, 2021, and was followed by a live Q&A with artists Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner.

Screenshots from both follow, as well as a summary of the original proposal by student host Francis Shiner ’23. Many thanks to Merrill and Nate for a great virtual residency!

Standard and Large-print programs available.

April 22, 2021

Proposing student: Francis Shiner ’23

Tune-Yards is an American, Oakland, California-based music project of musician Merrill Garbus, with long-time collaborator, bassist Nate Brenner. Garbus’s music draws from an eclectic variety of sources and utilizes elements such as loop pedals, ukulele, vocals, and lo-fi percussion. Garbus described their sound as “a patchwork of sound snippets, of history in a present tense. It is a composer’s commitment to the preservation of stories, however small and unassuming.” Merrill Garbus is a musician, producer and composer who slams, wails, strums and shakes with her band, Tune-Yards and will speak to students about composition, music making during the pandemic, decolonizing Western music, and much more. 

Rothrock Residency: Sara Shelton Mann

Tuesday, February 18–Sunday, February 23, 2020
Sara Shelton Mann Rothrock Residency
Proposed by Sam Kann ’20

Sponsored by the Rothrock Family Residency Fund, Middlebury Dance Program, and Middlebury Department of Music.
More information at go/mann.

Being in the Body – 3 Day Workshop
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; February 18, 19, and 20 – 4:30-6:30 PM

Mahaney Arts Center, Dance Theatre
What is holding the being? What is holding the body? What is your set point? What is your zero point? Participants in this 3 day workshop will engage in communication through touch, sensing, energy exploration, physical puzzles and what can be imagined. The process is directed, specific and open for your uniqueness. Come bask in the weight body, sensing body and spirit in space. Open to all. Registration at go/mann and participation in all sessions required. 

Solo Neutral Follow: A Study in Choice – Performance Lab
Friday, February 21, 2020 – 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Saturday, February 22, 2020 – 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Performance: Saturday, February 22 – 7:30 PM

Mahaney Arts Center, Dance Theatre
Are you in your body? Someone else’s? Or in the “in between?” Sara Shelton Mann will lead students in an intensive, 2 day performance lab, culminating in a presentation the evening of Saturday, February 22. Solo Neutral Follow is a basic study in creating radical space. It is a training of focus and concentration and multidirectional attention. You will sweat. You will find freedom. Registration at go/mann and participation in all sessions required. 

The Edge of Balance – Master Class
Sunday, February 23, 2020 – 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Mahaney Arts Center, Dance Theatre
San Francisco-based choreographer, performer and teacher Sara Shelton Mann leads a two hour class open to all levels. The study of bones, muscles and weighted nuts and bolts teach us the delicacy and strength of weight and space. We slow down action until it becomes silence in and of itself. The breath moves the heart, and we move with it. No registration required.

Saturday, February 22, 2020 – 7:30 PM
Sara Shelton Mann, “Raine/Vortex” + “Middlebury Performance Lab”

Mahaney Arts Center, Dance Theatre
As part of the her Middlebury College Rothrock Residency, San Francisco-based choreographer Sara Shelton Mann presents two works in one evening: the culmination of an intensive performance process with Middlebury College students followed by “Raine/Vortex,” an evolving collaboration between Sara Shelton Mann and Jesse Zaritt. Sponsored by the Rothrock Family Residency Fund, Middlebury Dance Program, and the Middlebury Department of Music. Free.

Celebrating 100 Years

Our 100th anniversary season in 2019–2020 coincides with other milestones that are reflected in the programming—commemorating Beethoven’s 250th birth year, and raising women’s voices in honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote—plus we’ll premiere new works, debut new artists, and connect with performers vital to the series’ development. The season, by the numbers:

  • Almost 70 individual artists hailing from over a dozen countries
  • 5 collaborative performances with world-renowned artists and/or ensembles
  • More than 4 weeks of residency activities
  • 4 commissions or co-commissions of new works
  • 2 world premieres and 1 Vermont premiere

Season details will be released in mid-to-late summer.

Rothrock Residency: The Mammals

The Mammals

Friday, April 19, 2019
7:30 PM, Mahaney Arts Center, Robison Hall
Indie-roots trailblazers, The Mammals, are no strangers to Middlebury, as frequent performers at Festival on the Green. This Americana quintet is known for just the right amount of guitar grit, soothing harmony, barn-burning fiddle, retro grooves, and storytelling savvy. Equal parts musicians and activists, The Mammals’ campus show will include selections from newest album Sunshiner, highlighting issues surrounding climate change. Sponsored by the Rothrock Family Residency Fund. Free.

This student-initiated Rothrock Residency is hosted by Fiona McCarey ’19.

Friday, April 19, 2019 – 3:00 PM
Being Private in Public: A Performance Skills Toolkit
with Ruth Ungar

Mahaney Arts Center, Room 221

Would you like to stand on stage and deliver a song with the same confidence as when you sing it at home in your shower? Singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ruth Ungar of The Mammals leads this workshop where participants will build a toolkit of personalized performance tricks for turning stage fright into stage presence. In a supportive space, participants will take turns on “stage,” where they’ll explore everything BUT the actual singing: what the song means, what to do with their hands, breathing, identifying current strengths, and finding new ways to re-connect to pure joy and truth. The class promises to be ”super deep and super fun.” Sponsored by the Rothrock Family Residency Fund. Free

Student Rothrock Proposal:

Artist/Ensemble: The Mammals
Proposing Student (s): Fiona McCarey ’19
Residency Date(s): Friday, April 19, 201
Summary:  Indie-roots trailblazers, The Mammals, are a high-octane Americana quintet from New York’s Hudson Valley—carrying on the work of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie—with a deep original repertoire, searing American roots sound, and a message of hope for humanity. A regular at Middlebury’s mid-summer Festival on the Green, The Mammals have a strong local bond and loyal following. Self-identifying as “subversive acoustic traditionalists” or a “party band with a conscience,” the ensemble excels in both its musicality and activism—and their newest album raises awareness on issues related to climate change.  Outreach during their one-day visit will be limited, but may include workshops in harmony singing, songwriting technique, performance skills, or instrumental lessons.

Rothrock Residency: Alison Clancy

Alison Clancy

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 – 7:30 PM
Mahaney Arts Center, Dance Theatre

Alison Clancy is a NYC-based multidisciplinary artist working across the time based mediums of dance, music, and visual media. Her artistic endeavors are centered around the pursuit of beauty and catharsis, incorporating ritual practices and visual design into the forms of contemporary ballet and popular music, to create an otherworldly highway—the lost intersection where we search for ourselves in the shadows. Sponsored by the Rothrock Family Residency Fun; this student-initiated Rothrock Residency is hosted by Annie Aguilar ’19. Free

Learn more here>>

Please also join Alison for her open master class on Monday, April 1!

Dance and Musicality Master Class by Alison Clancy
Monday, April 1, 2019
4:30 PM, Mahaney Arts Center, Dance Theatre

The class begins with a gentle physical warm up, moving into improvisational techniques and phrasework, with a special emphasis paid to musicality. Alison Clancy is a multidisciplinary artist working across the time based mediums of dance, music, and visual media, in pursuit of beauty and catharsis. Clancy has danced for ten seasons with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and tours internationally with ZviDance. She composes music for theater and film and has released albums under the monikers Psycho Tyko, Loving You, HUFF THIS!, and Electric Child. All levels welcome. Sponsored by the Rothrock Family Residency Fund. Free

Rothrock Residency: Caroline Shaw

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw will be in residence April 10-11, 2018, as part of a student-initiated Rothrock Residency.  Proposed by Annie Beliveau ’18 and Tevan Goldberg ’18, the residency plan includes class visits to electronic music, collaborative improvisation, and dance; consults with student composers; and rehearsals with Middlebury students while Shaw is on campus. Public events include two discussions and a concert of Shaw’s original works as outlined below.


Campus outreach is sponsored by the Rothrock Family Fund for Experiential Learning in the Performing Arts, established in 2011, which supports opportunities that broaden the scope of Middlebury students’ experience in the performing arts. The residency is co-sponsored by Middlebury College’s Ross Commons, Chellis House, and the Department of Music.

Composer Caroline Shaw: From Pulitzer to Kanye

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 – 4:30 PM
Axinn Center, Room 229

Join Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw as she discusses blurring genre boundaries and collaboration in music making. Shaw sings with vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, plays violin with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, has composed and performed with Kanye West, and recently appeared on the Amazon TV series “Mozart in the Jungle.” Sponsored by the Rothrock Family Residency Fund, Ross Commons, Chellis House, and the Department of Music. Free. See associated events on April 11.

Lunch Discussion with Composer Caroline Shaw

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 – 12:15 PM
Chellis House

Join Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, vocalist, and chamber musician Caroline Shaw for an informal discussion about the historical role of women in classical music and the work of women today to break through the musical glass ceiling. Sponsored by the Rothrock Family Residency Fund, Ross Commons, Chellis House, and the Department of Music. Free. See associated events on April 10 and 11.

Caroline Shaw in Concert

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 – 8:00 PM
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Robison Hall

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw caps her Middlebury residency with an evening of her music, in collaboration with Middlebury College vocal students. In addition to being the youngest-ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, Shaw sings with the Grammy-award winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, plays violin with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, scored the soundtrack for the feature film To Keep the Light, and has collaborated with Kanye West. Sponsored by the Rothrock Family Residency Fund, Ross Commons, Chellis House, and the Department of Music. Free. See associated events on April 10 and 11.

Ragamala Dance: Sacred Earth

Ragamala Dance
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Friday, March 1, 2019
7:30 PM each evening
Mahaney Arts Center, Dance Theatre

Ragamala Dance Company’s Middlebury debut program—Sacred Earth—explores the inter-connectedness between human emotions and the environment that shapes them. Performed with live music, the dancers create a sacred space to honor the divinity in the natural world and the sustenance we derive from it. Inspired by the philosophies behind the ephemeral arts of Kolam and Warli painting and the Tamil Sangam literature of India, Sacred Earth is Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy’s singular vision of the beautiful, fragile relationship between nature and man.

Ragamala Dance >>

See Ragamala Dance in Written in Water, this summer, in their Jacob’s Pillow debut>>

Declassified Memory Fragment

Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project


“Declassified Memory Fragment” by Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project. Photo Credit: Mark Simpson.

September 29–30, Friday–Saturday

8:00 PM, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre

The transnational performance group Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project (BTDP), based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and Philadelphia, draws from Africanist and postmodernist aesthetics. BTDP presents Declassified Memory Fragment, a dance theatre work with live music, inspired by memory, history, and images of the political and cultural realities currently affecting the continent of Africa.
Tickets: $22/16/6 (See related event on September 26, listed below.)

(Associated Event)

Dafra Kura Band

Dafra Kura Band (Photo by Bernice Lee)

September 26, Tuesday

7:30 PM, McCullough Student Center, Wilson Hall

Hailing from Burkina Faso, the Dafra Kura Band fuses the high energy of the griot ancestral tradition and the contemporary sounds of modern African cities sourced from Manding tradition, nomad desert blues, and Afrobeat. Hear the band shine solo before their performances with Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project later in the week. Olivier Tarpaga, artistic director. Tickets: $10/10/6

Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project is a recipient of the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project Touring Award, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.