When Eiko Otake, a visiting dance instructor, found out that her Wednesday night Delicious Movement Workshop was not only full but also had a lengthy waiting list, she decided to offer more.

In an effort to give additional students the chance to get involved in her dance workshops, Otake and her Wednesday night class intern, Lydia Bell ’07, started “Mondays at 7,” a series of dance workshops open to the entire campus community.

Though Otake and Bell hope that the series will give students who are involved in dance a new perspective on a subject they already know well, they also hope to attract students who are not as involved with dance.

“One of the first things [Otake] told me was, ‘Lydia, let’s get Econ majors,’” Bell said.

So far, it seems that Otake and Bell have gotten their wishes. The first workshop of the Monday night series brought together 53 students from 20 different majors. But students are not the only participants in these workshops.

“I wanted to create collaboration and merging of students, artists, faculty, and other members of the University,” Otake said.

Otake and Bell hope to create an environment in which workshop attendees learn not only from the teachers of the workshops, but also from each other.

Four more workshops, which are free and open to all, will be offered this semester. Otake and Bell encourage students to come to all of the workshops or to simply give one a try. They feel that each workshop ends up being largely what the students themselves make it.

“An important aspect of [the dance series] is an openness to trying new things,” Bell said. “There was no expected outcome for Monday nights. In fact, every Monday night is an experiment: we invite creative, dynamic people to engage in a particular topic together and make individual and group discoveries.”

Considering the immense popularity of Otake’s past classes, it is no surprise that the Monday night series has been an instant success.

“We have some regular participants,” Otake said. “But each time, new and different people join. Some faculty members joined and moved and tried things together with students. I am very pleased.”

Otake is a Japanese-born choreographer and dancer who has worked for over 30 years with Eiko and Koma, a two-person professional dance company consisting of her and her husband. Currently, she is at the University as part of the Center for Creative Research (CCR), a national program that tries to bridge the gap between academia and the arts by bringing professional artists to college campuses.

Otake is a founding member of the CCR and also one of 11 artists participating in the program. Bell, an intern at the CCR, said that while this is the second year that the CCR has worked with the University, many students remain unaware of the program. She hopes this will change soon.

“The CCR Student Task Force wanted to make sure as many students as possible would get to have contact with [Otake] during her weekly visits,” Bell said. “We hoped the ‘Mondays at 7’ event series would further integrate CCR activities into campus life.”

Upcoming “Mondays at 7” events include “Dialogue and Movement” with Dean of Diversity Daniel Teraguchi on April 16 and “Move and Draw” on April 23.

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