UF’s University Scholars Program (USP) introduces undergraduate students to the exciting world of academic research. USP Scholars work one-on-one with UF faculty on selected research projects. Through this initiative, students take away an understanding of and appreciation for the scholarly method. The College of Fine Arts has ten 2013-2014 University Scholars. Here is one of their stories.
By Ana Gomez
School or Center Working With: Center for World Arts in collaboration with thel’Ecole des Sables in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal
Hometown: Lake Helen, FL
Minor: Spanish, Education
Mentor: Dr. Joan Frosch, Professor and Director of the Center for World Arts
Organizations Involved With: Publicist for Dance in a Suitcase; Student Ambassador for Center for World Arts Barakissa Coulibaly Residency; Student Ambassador for Center for World Arts Lacina Coulibaly Residency; and Student Ambassador for Center for World Arts Faustin Linyekula Residency
Awards: UF SoTD Summer Scholarship; Lawrence Baynard Hubbell Scholarship; Creative in the Arts and Sciences Event, awarded 3rd place, C.A.S.E. Award; and Dean’s Award for Choreography of Eight Hours, 2014 Student Juried Exhibition
UF SoTD BFA dance major Kyle Mosler has a hunger for travel. Inspired by the series of Center for World Arts (CWA) artists-in-residence, he developed a special interest in Africa. Kyle wanted to learn more about the diversity of the continent, which is what he was able to accomplish through the University Scholars Program. Inspired by the African artists that his mentor CWA Director Dr. Joan Frosch had invited to UF, Kyle wanted to further immerse himself in culture through research in dance.
“I realized that my research and experience in Senegal would help me bridge the gap between our two worlds and open the door for future collaborations both in Africa and the rest of the world,” Kyle says.
Despite its cultural and natural wealth, Kyle perceived Africa as too often underestimated, misunderstood, and misinterpreted. For one example, the entire continent is often perceived of in one undifferentiated concept of “Africa,” when in reality the continent is made up of 55 diverse nations.
Kyle’s work began with a six-week immersion into the world of Jant Bi/Ecole des Sables, which offers a Senegal-based foundation for training young dancers and choreographers from the whole of Africa where he studied abroad from July 16-August 28, 2013.
Kyle was selected to participate in “Criss-crossing Traces,” a workshop designed to bring young dance artists from across the continent and around the world to not only immerse themselves in the local culture, but also in the cultures of the participants to broaden their network in order to enrich future choreographic projects.
Kyle examined and interrogated his experiences in a research paper and created a documentary short based on the interviews he conducted while in Senegal. His mentor, Dr. Frosch, is guiding him through this process. Kyle credits Dr. Frosch with his unfolding success as a researcher. “She has the perfect balance of knowledge and experience while also making me figure things out for myself,” Kyle says.
“Kyle ranks in the top 5% of all undergraduate students I have taught over the past period, particularly in his drive and commitment to engage artistically in the global arena, which as the French say, ‘Ce n’est pas evident,’” Dr. Frosch says. “The mother of contemporary Sengalese dance, Germaine Acogny, known to Kyle through my documentary feature film on contemporary African performance, Movement (R)evolution Africa, warmly welcomed Kyle to her international dance retreat located in the small fishing village of Toubab Dialaw, Senegal.”
Dr. Frosch says that during Kyle’s summer of intensive study he explored choreographic fusion with emergent choreographers from across Africa. “Through the production of both written and film-based ethnographic historiographies, he is reflecting deeply upon his experiences as a young dancer/choreographer in Senegal and surprising himself with his findings.”
To learn more about UF’s University Scholars program and to apply, click here.