January 25, 2006: From the Editor
Last year, Princeton students and faculty mounted a headline-grabbing reconstruction of a great, lost ballet of the 20th century, Sergei Prokofiev’s Le Pas d’Acier, or The Steel Step. Dancing the lead roles were Natasha A. Kalimada ’07, a seasoned dancer, and Silas R. Riener ’06, a rising talent who took his first dance class as a Princeton freshman.
The two students illustrate a challenge facing Princeton today: How can the University cultivate student artists who come with a deep-seated interest and years of training, and at the same time reserve the resources needed to encourage novices to explore hidden talents?
That question has been at the center of a lengthy conversation between President Tilghman and arts students and faculty; by the time you are reading this magazine, Tilghman likely will have brought that discussion to Princeton’s trustees. It seems clear that Princeton already is aggressively recruiting arts-minded students: Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye pointedly said in a news release Dec. 19 that the 599 high school seniors granted early admission to the Class of 2010 “include violinists, dancers, artists, orators, athletes, poets, and thespians.”
Princeton has a thriving arts scene that might surprise older alumni, from the student-run theater and dance groups, to the extraordinary orchestra, to a rich curriculum that infuses the arts into academics. Michael Cadden, director of the Program in Theater and Dance, has called this year the “Year of the Playwright,” and for good reason: Charles Mee, a playwright known for reconceiving Greek tragedies; Will Eno, the young author of Thom Pain; and Ellen McLaughlin, an actress and playwright who creates original adaptations of classical plays, all are teaching on campus. A new play developed at Princeton by Noah Haidle ’01, A Long History of Neglect, premiered at the Berlind Theatre in the fall.
With this issue, PAW celebrates the arts and artists. We offer an update on the concerns and hopes of students and faculty, report on some of Princeton’s newer and nontraditional student artists and projects, and profile established and rising alumni in the arts. Merrell Noden ’78 introduces us to some of Princeton’s renowned faculty poets, exploring both how they work and how they teach; Fred A. Bernstein ’77 writes on changes in focus at the School of Architecture. In showcasing alumni, we have drawn on an exceptionally large number of Princeton contributors, including photographers and illustrators whose names typically are presented in tiny type, too easy to miss: cover artist Marc Rosenthal ’71, Michael Witte ’66, Henry Payne ’84, John Jameson ’04, Christopher Dawson ’94, and Celene Chang ’06. The work of these Princeton artists, too, is cause to celebrate.