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Living Room Occupied

November 16, 2011

Aseem Chipalkatti
Living Room Occupied

Some call it the “Fishbowl.” Others call it the “Think Tank.” But for Pomona student Elizabeth Espindola, the Kravis Center Living Room is a dance studio. Recently, Claremont McKenna College students may have glimpsed Espindola dancing in the Living Room on select evenings. Espindola, whose dances run anywhere from four to eight hours, incorporates ballet, modern dance, and yoga poses into her routines. She chooses to use the Living Room as her dance studio as part of her ongoing interest in “site-specific dance.” As she describes it, “Site-specific dance is created to exist in a certain place where the artist considers a site’s unique environment, social context, and architecture. I see the beauty of moments that cannot be planned or created.” Espindola emphasizes that her performances are part on her ongoing research into the field of dance. She explains, “I am no different from the students that go there to study.”

Initial reactions to the dance performance were varied. Some, for example, thought that Espindola might be a Pitzer student protesting in conjunction with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Many speculated about her props, which include ropes and ribbons. One student playfully suggested that the props might be “symbolic of the oppression of the 1% on the working class.”

Espindola emphasizes that her performance had no ulterior motives or messages. When informed of fellow students’ reactions, however, Espindola was unsurprised, stating, “There is a power bigger than me that can communicate on a nonverbal level. Everyone will have their own experiences, ideas, questions and feelings when they see me dancing.”

After learning the reason for Espindola’s dancing, students have had mixed reactions.  CMC sophomore Sam Stone, who live-tweeted a portion of the performance, joked, “if Pomona students are entitled to express themselves in new CMC facilities, then I should be allowed to work on my Goldman Sachs application at Pomona in Sontag Hall!”

More seriously, senior/tech guru Dave Meyer was “impressed with her innovation, and [feels that] it is demonstrative of the lack of creativity on CMC’s campus. Perhaps the focus on economics and government pulls students away from their deeper passion for the arts.”

Espindola echoes Meyer’s sentiments, stating, “While there is plenty of artistic expression on campus, the problem is that we are too busy to see them, to appreciate them, and be thankful for them.” She hopes her dancing inspires students to think and create art in non-traditional ways. As she puts it, “There is always more to see. Open your senses to feel, to hear, and to see the hidden meaning of a space.”

While Espindola does not have any scheduled dances, she will be on the CMC campus performing at various locations for the rest of the year. You can find out more about Pomona’s site-specific dance program at

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