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A Time to Dance

by: Dan Bennett   (January 2005)

Public service at UC Riverside is distributed through a broad range of disciplines, including the arts.

The Riverside Cultural Trust is part of an ongoing effort to make Riverside the center of arts and culture in the Inland Empire by 2005, and The Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts has enabled university performers and educators to perform and teach in area schools and nursing homes. UC Riverside is one of only three Gluck Foundation sites in the country, and recently received a $1 million grant from the foundation to continue its work through June 2006.

Local performances have doubled in recent years, with UCR showcasing more than 500 performance projects last year, compared with 250 a few years ago.

“This opportunity has been a very rare and very fortunate thing for the university,” said Sarah Fritsche, the Gluck program coordinator. “It exposes people to a variety of programming, everything from ballet folklorico to traditional renaissance performance to baroque to free-improvisation dance.”

The program offers free music and dance performances and a lecture series in downtown Riverside, at the Riverside Public Library and the UCR/California Museum of Photography.

Workshops have included dancers and choreographers, singers, costumed actors, poets, art historians and others. They travel to a school or nursing home and bring the arts to an audience that might otherwise be left out of the experience.

Dance Professor Wendy Rogers, who is the co-director of the Gluck Modern Dance Ensemble, said that with each passing year, the Gluck program is accumulating benefits, not only for the audience but also for the performers. She said one of her own student dancers, Megan Maxwell, remembered a performance at Riverside’s Ramona High School when she was a student there.

“She recalled seeing a performance of the Gluck Modern Dance Ensemble and she wanted to be a part of it,” Rogers said. “And now, here she is.”

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