Sexual assault has moved into the national spotlight as an alarmingly serious problem on college campuses across the United States. In May 2011, the Dartmouth Dance Theater Ensemble (DDTE) created an original, timely work dealing with this trend: Undue Influence.
The authorship of Undue Influence stems from each of the DDTE members as they give this complex issue a physical form. The work is conceived and created as a visceral mirror in which college students can look at the phenomenon of sexual assault under a different lens than what is typically reported in the media. The work does not tell a specific story or provide a consummate answer to this serious problem. Rather, through the dramatic vehicle of Undue Influence, the complexity of sexual assault is viewed through different social facets, institutional traditions, the hook-up culture, the Greek system, alcohol use and pornography. The evening length work does not assume a bias but creates a picture in which the audience can examine the dilemma from multiple points of view.
All the performers in Undue Influence have created their own unique characters. These fictitious personas were developed to illustrate stereotypical behaviors dealing with the social scripts inherent in college life.
We strongly feel that Undue Influence is relevant to every college student, teacher and administrator. We feel an obligation to present the work gratis wherever we can. It is our greatest hope that the work will provide immediate discussion that leads to creating a more active role in changing this unfortunate reality.
Ford Evans, Director DDTE
Peter Hackett, ’75 & Professor Theater