The print. (Oregon City, Oregon) 1977-1989, April 15, 1981, Page 4, Image 4

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right. Rickenbaugh, one of the
charter faculty members of the
Of The Print
College, though not originally
In the broad spectrum of the as a dance instructor, has just
American cultural scene, earned a Master of Arts in
modern dance has never gain­ Liberal Studies degree from
ed an overwhelming audience. Reed College—the first one
Perhaps because of the art’s ever granted by that institution
relative youth (it was born and for dance.
Her masters project, called
nurtured in the 1930s), or what
some would consider the dif­ “Nursery Rhyme Suite-
ficult degree of comprehension^ Recollections
demanded of its audience, Reminiscences of Childhood,”
modem dance has never quite called for years of work from
caught on, except in a few Rickenbaugh, as well as a writ­
quarters. In the land of “B.J. ten thesis and the production
and the Bear,” and Ted which eventually involved a
Nugent, one wonders if it ever composer, a costume designer,
and 10 dancers and readers.
In spite of (or perhaps
because of) this lack of mass
“I dealt with the light and the
appeal, the art demands a high dark of childhood,” says
degree of dedication from its Rickenbaugh of the project,
practitioners. The physical “and all the different shades of
talents must be kept as finely experience that a child has.”
tuned as the creative or inter­ The piece consisted of eight
pretive. The profession is far dances interspersed with eight
from lucrative. U.S. Depart­ nursery rhymes. “The nursery
ment of Labor statistics show rhymes led into the dances,
that the average dancer makes and they also gave an image of
$3,469 a year—more than a a child’s mind, which is very
motel maid, but less than a unpredictable. I choregraphed
from all these childhood feel­
One such dedicated in­ ings and memories that I had.”
dividual is Jane Rickenbaugh,
In the nursery rhyme, “Jack
the College’s modem dance in­ be nimble, Jack be quick,” for
structor, and free-lance example, Rickenbaugh “was
choreographer in her own the one who chanted it, and
Page 4
By R. W. Greene
my dancer did it three different
times. The first time, I por-
trayed the parent who was be­
ing very nice and rational. The
second time I became insistent,
and quite stem ; and the third
time I just became diabolical,
and irrational.” Says Ricken­
baugh, “It’s an adult’s craft
looking at childhood, so it
speaks to both children and
Despite her current dedica­
tion to dance,. Rickenbaugh
never started out with the idea
of being a choreographer, or
even a dance instructor. Bom
in central California, and raised
in Escondido, a city about
hailfwayr between
Clemente and San Diego, she
never took: lessons from a
young age, as so many dancers
do. She was always athletic,
she says, being a strong swim­
mer and tennis player. She ma­
jored in speech and English at
Palomar College, earned her
B.A. at Brigham.Young, and
her first M.A. at Southern Il­
linois University. She began
teaching speech after that, first
at OSU, and then at SOSC
before coming to CCC in
1967. “Dr. Hakanson always
introduces me as the first facul­
ty member they ever hired,”
laughs Rickenbaugh.
/In the beginning, Ricken-
oaugh taught both speech and
drama. The reminiscence of
those early years seems to fill
her with a mixture of chagrin
and glee. “The janitors built me
a stage of 4 x 8 plywood planks
and we did these one-act plays,
over in Clairmont, when it was
still the Student Center,” she
recalls. A stage tree fell over
during a performance of
Pirandello, and another time
Rickenbaugh almost came to
blows with a Servomation man
when he fried to start filling up
the vending machines during a
performance. “Another time,”
she says, “I unplugged ail the
machines because they were
making so much noise, and
forgot to plug them back in
again-there were a lot of soggy
foods when we came back the
next nighty
But speech was not fulfilling
the creative urges Rickenbaugh
was feeling at the time. She
began taking modem dance
classes from Margaret
Charters, who now serves as
chairperson of the library.
Charters has an interesting
story herself, having danced
years ago with such pioneers of
modern dance as Martha
Graham and Doris Hum­
phreys. Charters was quick to
recognize Rickenbaugh’s
talent, and encouraged her to
continue; she did so, taking
workshops at Reed and even
tually taking an entire year’s
leave of absence to work on the
M.A. project. “I just decided
that there was a time in one’s
life when one did something
important or it just never got
done,” says Rickenbaugh.
Charters is full of admiration
for what Rickenbaugh has
done, both for her own career;
and for CCC’s dance program.
“She’s a very dedicated in-
dividual,” says Charters, “and
it speaks well of her that she’s
done as well as she has.” The
early years of the dance proj
gram were rough, according M
both Charters arid Ricken^
baugh. All classes Were taught
off-campus, because both
refused *to teach on the wood;
topped cement floorpf the gyrt
and other places; > locations
were as diverse as the V.F.W
Hall in Qregon City, and a
karate studio. When Rickenî
baugh returned from her year
off, Charters went to the library
and Rickenbaugh took over
dance, while still teaching
speech, and choregraphing on
her own. After months d
fighting administration skep­
ticism of the idea, of a full-time
Clackamas Community College