School of the Arts at Rhinelander makes a joyful noise

Ronsman belly dancing
Taku Ronsman (also pictured at left in the photo above) says students can connect with their 'higher selves' in her School of the Arts workshops.
Taku Ronsman (also pictured at left in the photo above) says students can connect with their ‘higher selves’ in her School of the Arts workshops.

Taku C. Ronsman’s workshops at School of the Arts at Rhinelander will be fun and informative for students of all ages. But there’s an added benefit: inner peace and cultural harmony.

Ronsman is teaching three new courses at the annual event in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, held July 17-19. In World Drum and Dance Celebration, participants will learn rhythms and steps from the Middle East, Asia, Europe, South America, and the Caribbean. Strengthen Your Spirit with Movement to Music draws on elements of Tai Chi, Qigong, Authentic Movement, and liturgical dance, encouraging introspection through creative physical expression. Finally, Make a Joyful Noise with Drum and Song will teach vocal music from around the world, along with the relevant percussion parts.

The workshops require no prior experience—just an openness to world cultures. Ronsman has great faith in the beneficial effects of multicultural music and movement.

“There is a lot of collective wisdom within traditional music of all the world cultures,” she says. “Whenever we experience a piece of that wisdom, we become more connected to one another and to our higher selves.”

School of the Arts at Rhinelander, offered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies, features nearly 40 three-day workshops in visual arts, culinary arts, mind/body/spirit, performing arts, and writing. This is the event’s 52nd year of fostering creativity and camaraderie in Wisconsin’s Northwoods.

Spontaneous grooving

Ronsman is a Wisconsin native who journeyed to California in the 1970s to study multicultural music and dance. She moved back to Green Bay in the 1980s, began working with students, and now conducts music and dance programs full-time.

Ronsman has designed her School of the Arts workshops so that everyone will feel welcome.

“Students with little or no experience with world music or movement—including those who feel rhythmically challenged—will be able to spontaneously groove to the music by the end of the third day,” she says. “Those with previous experience will be able to expand their music and dance skills.”

Ronsman wants participants to enjoy themselves during the workshops and also to come away with something more lasting.

“My goal is to be a catalyst for students to integrate multicultural music and dance into their lives, and to seek out more social interactions with people of diverse cultures,” she says.

For more information about School of the Arts at Rhinelander, contact director Lynn Tarnoff, ltarnoff@dcs.wisc.edu, 608-890-1424.