Category Archives: Campus Events

Spotlight on Kendall Charles of RIT/NTID’s ‘The Story of Beauty and the Beast’

Three performers in costumes, two at right and left indicating to the one in the center, a dark-skinned male. all are smiling.

Kendall Charles is a fourth-year computing and information technologies major from Opelousas, La., who is adopting the role of Beast in NTID’s production of The Story of Beauty and the Beast. Charles has enjoyed acting and theater since elementary school, but he didn’t start being consistently involved with theatrical productions until last year. Last year, he was featured in three productions through NTID: Fairytale CourtroomDanceTale and The Crucifer of Blood. In addition to his love for theater and dance, Charles enjoys playing volleyball and basketball and is involved with several organizations on campus. He is the copy interpreter for the NTID Student Assembly, works at the NTID Learning Center as the senior learning center assistant lead and is in the process of becoming a fraternity brother of Sigma Nu.

This production of NTID’s The Story of Beauty and the Beast is unique from other interpretations of the story. Instead of conveying the fairytale verbally, the cast will tell the classic love story through a variety of dance styles, sign language and other non-verbal expressions. The production premiered at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Robert F. Panara Theatre. There will be shows starting at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, and Saturday, Nov 11, and one show starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12.

To purchase tickets for the event, go to https://rittickets.com/Online/default.asp.

Question: What brought you to RIT?
Answer: RIT perfectly embodied what type of college I was looking for. It covered all three of the things I was looking for when applying to schools. First, it’s a college that is outside of my home state of Louisiana. Second, it merged two different worlds together: the deaf world and the hearing world. The third is that RIT is well-known for my major, so it would look good if I got my degree from here.

Q: Have you always enjoyed acting and being on stage?
A: Yes, I have always enjoyed acting and being on stage. Acting and performing are like my comfort zone from reality, a place that I can escape to. It’s also a huge stress reliever when I’m on stage, so that is an added benefit.

Q: Beast is an iconic role; what was your reaction when you found out you got the part?
A: My reaction was a mixture of emotions. I was shocked, thrilled and, of course, nervous.

Q: Do you get along well with Belle and the rest of the cast?
A: Yes, I do get along well with everyone. Of course, every play has a little tension between the cast members because of all the stress we have about the show and our classes, but at the end of the day, we all get along. We want to make the play as successful as possible and make sure to work together so it will be great.

Q: Do you have any fun moments from rehearsals that you can share?
A: Oh yeah, definitely. At the start of every rehearsal we begin with a warm-up dance and exercise and that is really fun. We are allowed to dance any way we want to, so we can be silly or serious. The exercise gives us time to bond together. I also like that we all share our skills with each other to help each other improve. For example, someone might show someone else how they dance so that person can improve their dancing skills.

Q: Playing Beast typically involves wearing some extensive makeup and prosthetics, is it hard trying to work in such an elaborate costume?
A: You should come to the show and see the Beast costume yourself! I don’t want to spoil anything, but all I can say is that all of our costumes are actually lighter than most other Beauty and the Beast costumes. Because we are all dancers and need to move around a lot, the costumes needed to be flexible and easy for us to dance in. They are very cool and, thankfully, easier to move around in than you would think.

Q: Do you have any rituals or habits that help you prepare to perform?
A: Before rehearsals, I always do the warm-ups and exercises to get myself loose and ready to perform. I also review all the dances and lines before I show up to the rehearsal to make sure I’m prepared and hopefully won’t make any mistakes.

Q: What is your favorite part of the production as a whole?
A: It is a spectacle and a rich experience. I love building a bond with everyone involved with the production. I believe that having a bond with everyone involved with the production, from cast to tech crew, makes the distinction between an amazing production and a beyond-amazing production.

Q: What are your plans for after graduation?
A: I would like to eventually go back and get my master’s degree in business once I’m ready to start school again. Until then I want to find a good company to work at that understands my goals of eventually returning to school.

RIT/NTID Performing Arts presents dance and music adaptation of ‘The Story of Beauty and the Beast,’ Nov. 9–12

Dark skinned male in blue jacket with red trip hugs a medium skinned female in white dress.

The Performing Arts program at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf will present a dance and music adaptation of The Story of Beauty and the Beast, conceived by Thomas Warfield, director of NTID’s dance department. The performance—an adaptation of the traditional fairy tale written in 1740 by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villenueve—will be performed at NTID’s Panara Theatre in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9–11, and 2 p.m. Nov. 12. 

The show, co-directed and co-choreographed by Warfield and Nicole Hood-Cruz, tells the story of an arrogant young prince and his servants who fall under the spell of a wicked enchantress, turning the prince into a hideous beast until he learns to love and be loved in return. A spirited village girl, Belle, enters the beast’s castle in search of her father who has been imprisoned there and begins to draw the cold-hearted beast out of isolation with the help of the enchanted servants. The take is freshly told through non-verbal expressions in a variety of dance styles, sign language and melody.

“This uniquely creative production of The Story of Beauty and the Beast showcases the outstanding talent of RIT’s deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing actors and dancers,” said Warfield. “And while this ‘tale as old as time’ is one that many people are familiar with, the innovative fusion of dance and music is certain to mesmerize audiences, young and old. One of the underlying messages in our production is there’s beauty in our differences. Music and dance help to express and communicate that understanding for the deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing communities coming together to present this beautiful show.”

Tickets can be purchased through RIT University Arenas and are $5 for students, senior citizens and children; $10 for RIT faculty/staff/alumni; and $12 for everyone else. Tickets will also be sold at the door on performance days. For more information, call 585-475-4121.

RIT/NTID job fair connects deaf students with employers across the country

Light skinned man on left with cochlear implant wearing suit chats with darker skinned man on right in red golf shirt, tan pants

Representatives from more than 40 local and national corporations, federal agencies and nonprofit organizations will meet with hundreds of deaf and hard-of-hearing students at the 17th annual job fair, 12:30–4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. The event will be held in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall on the RIT campus.

“Employers will have the opportunity to recruit talented deaf and hard-of-hearing students in associate and bachelor’s degree programs such as business, finance, graphic design, engineering, computing and more,” said John Macko, director of NTID’s Center on Employment.

Interpreters will be available, and in many cases, the company recruiters are RIT/NTID alumni. Companies registered to attend the fair include Caterpillar, Communication Service for the Deaf, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, FDIC, Ingalls Shipbuilding, Merck, Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Prudential and Texas Instruments, among others. 

“Employers continue to want highly qualified employees who bring the necessary skills and who will fit into the company culture and contribute to the company’s success,” added Macko. “Our students are well-trained and can hit the ground running at companies right here in Rochester and all over the country.”

There are a few openings available for employers who want to participate. For more information, email Mary Ellen Tait or call 585-475-6426. 

What: 17th annual NTID Job Fair
Where: Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, Rochester Institute of Technology

When: 12:30-4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18

Details: More than 40 local and national corporations, federal agencies and nonprofit organizations will be on campus to recruit deaf and hard-of-hearing students and graduates for co-op and full-time positions.

RIT presidential inauguration set for Sept. 28

Dr. Munson in navy jacket, light blue shirt and tan pants, sitting in brown leather chair. He is wearing glasses.

The inauguration of President David Munson as Rochester Institute of Technology’s 10th president will take place Sept. 28. For more information on the inauguration and a full schedule, go to rit.edu/president/inauguration/overview.

What: Inauguration of David Munson as RIT’s 10th president

  • Keynote speaker Philip Hanlon, president of Dartmouth College, will welcome Munson. A mathematician, computer scientist and educator, Hanlon came to Dartmouth from the University of Michigan, where he served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. At the inauguration, Hanlon will be joined by dozens of college and university presidents from across the country.
  • A video on Munson’s successes in higher education will also be a highlight of the ceremony.
  • Munson’s address will look toward the future of RIT and the role that higher education can play in solving complex issues around the world.

When: 3 to 4:30 p.m., with a reception to follow, Sept. 28

Where: Gordon Field House and Activities Center on the RIT campus

Who: Open to the entire RIT community

Munson facts:

  • Munson became RIT’s 10th president on July 1
  • Munson took the helm from retiring president Bill Destler, who served RIT for 10 years.
  • Munson was previously dean of the University of Michigan College of Engineering.
  • For a full biography of Munson, go to rit.edu/president/biography.

RIT Quote: “With his terrific leadership experience at the University of Michigan and his success as a faculty member and as an entrepreneur, Dr. Munson is a perfect fit for RIT,” said Jeremy Haefner, RIT provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “I look forward to working with him as we enter an exciting new era for the university.”

Young artists, writers win RIT/NTID’s digital arts, writing competitions

Artists image of a galloping horse in shades of browns, grays and whites

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has announced the winners of the annual Digital Arts, Film and Animation Competition for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students. The contest, in its 11th year, generated dozens of entries in graphic media, photo illustration and 3D animation.

The winners of each category, receiving a $250 prize, are:

  • Graphic Media: Gabriel Veit of Austin, Texas, a student at Texas School for the Deaf, for The Wind.
  • Photo Illustration: Zee Grant of Denver, Colo., a student at Rocky Mountain Deaf School, for Snow Life.
  • 3D Animation: Connor Switenky of Frederick, Md., a student at Maryland School for the Deaf, for Phantasma.

The runners-up were:

  • Graphic Media: Jeni Kim of Charleston, S.C., a student at Charleston County School of the Arts, for Color of Silence.
  • Photo Illustration: Samantha Suarez of Jacksonville, Fla., a student at Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, for No Matter What’s Inside, and Nydia Cooper of St. James, La., a student at Ascension Catholic High School, for The River Meets Bayou.

Honorable mentions were:

  • Interactive Media: Denali Thorn of Indianapolis, a student at Indiana School for the Deaf, for UFO Kid.
  • Graphic Media: Grace Kominsky of Mount Wolf, Pa., a student at Northeastern Senior High School, for Instrumental Elephantal Semblance.

The winning entries may be seen at www.rit.edu/ntid/dafac/winners.

High school students in 10th or 11th grades won prizes for the RIT/NTID SpiRIT Writing Contest for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students. Winners have their choice of a scholarship and travel expenses to NTID’s Explore Your Future program, or a $500 cash prize.

Winners of the SpiRIT Writing Contest were Cecilia Gallagher of Bunker Hill, W.V., a student at Musselman High School, for Memories of the Fallen; and Hannah Van Sant of Sully, Iowa, a student at Pella Christian High School, for An Article Gone Awry. Honorable mentions were presented to Anna Kasper of St. Louis Park, Minn., a student at St. Louis Park High School, for Siddhartha’s Detachment; and Lillie Brown of Jacksonville, Ill., a student at Illinois School for the Deaf, for Sixteen is Way Too Young. Says Who?!