Dieman-Bennett Dance Studio to be discussed at Coe Thursday Forum

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2017-11-21 07:15:00 - General

Jane Nesmith,
Assistant Professor of Rhetoric
Jane Nesmith
Assistant Professor of Rhetoric

In a special Thursday Forum presentation, Coe College Assistant Professor of Rhetoric Jane Nesmith will share the stories of the founders of the Dieman-Bennett Dance Studio and the way they revolutionized dance education during the mid-20th century in Cedar Rapids. The one-time lecture will be held on Thursday, Dec. 7, beginning at 9:15 a.m.

Thursday Forum lectures are held in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall on the Coe campus. Each session begins with registration and refreshments from 8:45-9:15 a.m., followed by the class until 11:30 a.m.

From 1951 until 1996, Edna Dieman, Coe class of 1925, and her partner, Julia Bennett, ran the Dieman-Bennett Studio of Dance and directed the Dance Theatre of the Hemispheres in Cedar Rapids. Dieman and Bennett presided over the ballet classes for generations of eastern Iowans and staged the well-known "Nutcracker Ballet" in a variety of venues ranging from Franklin High School to the Paramount Theatre. The duo also taught more unusual forms of dance not often found in small Midwestern cities including Hindu, Spanish and Renaissance dance, bringing a multicultural perspective on the arts to eastern Iowa.

Participants will explore the historical and cultural context of the time, especially what was going on in dance. The ways that these formidable women, Dieman and Bennett, were influenced by—and also pushed back against—cultural expectations of a dance studio in a small city will be discussed. There will be lots of photos and video footage from the George T. Henry Archives at Coe and the Iowa Women's Archives, as well as a demonstration or two.

The Coe College Thursday Forum Series

Coe College Thursday Forum courses are open to all adults. Admission to this one-time lecture is $12.  Payment can be made in person on Thursday morning by cash or personal check. Credit card payments can be processed online only. For more information about paying by credit card or directly from your checking account, or to order gift certificates, call (319) 399-8623.

For the remainder of the 2017-18 academic year, the Thursday Forum schedule includes:

  • "Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre - Behind the Scenes with 'Turandot'" - Jan. 18
  • "A New Arsenal: American Art during World War I" - Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22
  • "Two Scenically Beautiful Hikes in the English Countryside" - March 1
  • "Songs of Protest and Resistance" - March 8, 15, 22, 29
  • "Saints, Sinners and Secularists: Religion and Politics on the World Stage" - April 5, 12, 19, 26