Shared Academic Experience:
Class of 2026 and Transfer Students


Each year the dean of the faculty curates a Shared Academic Experience led by Dartmouth faculty to encourage community dialogue and personal reflection. This year, the Shared Academic Experience will feature a panel discussion led by the creative team behind The Ritual of Breath Is the Rite to Resist, a new multidisciplinary work inspired by the healing practices of survivor mothers who lost their children to police violence. 

The panel discussion will feature two Dartmouth faculty members—Enrico Riley, the George Frederick Jewett Professor of Studio Art, and Vievee Francis, associate professor of English and creative writing. The panel also includes Jonathan Berger, the Denning Family Provostial Professor in Music at Stanford University, as well as two Dartmouth alums—Niegel Smith and Peter Nigrini.

Enrico, Vievee, Jonathan, Niegel, and Peter will welcome the new class to our intellectual community and take students on a journey through the creation, development, and production of The Ritual of Breath Is the Rite to Resist.

Reverberating against the theft of Black breath by the police—and interweaving music, text, visuals, and movement—this meditative, immersive, and participatory work represents a creative act of resistance.

Experience information

As part of the Introduction to Our Intellectual Community days within New Student Orientation (September 2 and September 6), you will attend a panel led by the creative team behind The Ritual of Breath is the Rite to Resist. To learn where and when you will attend this panel (based on arrival date and First-Year Trip section), please see your New Student Orientation schedule!


Jonathan Berger

Jonathan Berger is the Denning Family Provostial Professor in Music at Stanford University. Berger is a composer of a wide range of genres including opera, orchestral, chamber, end electroacoustic music. He is also an active researcher, with expertise in computational music theory, music perception and cognition, psychoacoustics, and sonification. He has published over 70 academic articles in a wide variety of fields relating to music, science, and technology, including relevant work in digital audio processing in Neuron, Frontiers in Psychology, andthe Journal of the Audio Engineering Society. Among his awards and commissions are the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rome Prize, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and commissions from Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, the 92nd Street Y, The Spoleto Festival, the Kronos Quartet, and others. His most recent recording, My Lai, performed by the Kronos Quartet was recently released by Smithsonian-Folkways Records. Next season, Mekong, Berger’s collaboration with Van Anh Vo will be performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

Vievee Francis

Poet Vievee Francis is author of Forest Primeval (2017), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, Horse in the Dark (2012), winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize among others. Her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2010 and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. She was the recipient of the 2009 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award and the 2010 Kresge Artist Fellowship. A Cave Canem Fellow, she is currently Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College.

Peter Nigrini

Peter Nigrini has been, for the past twenty years, a pioneer in the integration of digital projection technology and live theatre.   
Some of his designs on Broadway include MJ: The Musical, Ain't Too Proud, Beetlejuice, The Spongebob Squarepants Musical, Dear Evan Hansen, A Doll's House Part 2, and Fela!, An Act of God, and Gore Vidal’s The Best Man.  Some projects of note in other venues include Here Lives Love, conceived and written by David Byrne, Grounded directed by Julie Taymor for the New York Public Theater, Lucia Di Lammermoor and Don Giovanni at the Santa Fe Opera, and a series of adaptations with Robert Woodruff including Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, Bergman’s Autumn Sonata, and Fassbinder’s In a Year of Thirteen Moons.  He has been nominated for three Tony Awards.
In addition to his work in the theater, he also designs in other contexts and mediums, including Deep Blue Sea, for Bill T. Jones at the Park Avenue Armory, the Grace Jones Hurricane tour, Hans Zimmer Live, and Real Enemies, a multi-media piece conceived with Darcy James Argue and Isaac Butler for The Secret Society. Additionally, he was a founding member of the New York troupe, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, for which he designed every aspect of their productions including No Dice, Romeo and Juliet, and the multi-part work Life & Times.

He is currently designing KPOP for Broadway, Plays for the Plague Year for the Public, and Tommy for the Goodman Theater.

Enrico Riley

Enrico Riley is the George Frederick Jewett Professor of Studio Art at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. He currently lives in Norwich, VT. 

Riley received a BA in Visual Studies from Dartmouth College and an MFA in painting from Yale University School of Art. He is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a Rome Prize in Visual Arts, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Prize in painting. He has exhibited work both nationally and internationally. Selected exhibitions include Jenkins Johnson Projects, Brooklyn, NY, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, The American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA. The Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia, The Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas, The American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City, Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH, His work has been reviewed in Art New England, The New Criterion, The Hudson Review and the New York Times. He is represented by Jenkins-Johnson Gallery

Niegel Smith

Niegel Smith is a Bessie Award winning theater director and performance artist. He is the Artistic Director of NYC’s Obie Award winning theater, The Flea; board member of A.R.T./New York; and ringleader of Willing Participant (www.willingparticipant.org) an artistic activist organization that whips up urgent poetic responses to crazy shit that happens.

His theater work has been produced at The Alley Theater, The Barbican, Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Flea Theater, The Goodman Theatre, HERE Arts Center, Hip Hop Theatre Festival, The Invisible Dog, Luna Stage, The Melbourne Festival, Magic Theatre, Mixed Blood, New York Fringe Festival, New York Live Arts, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Playwrights Horizons, Pomegranate Arts, The Public Theater, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Summer Play Festival, and Under the Radar, and his participatory walks and performances have been produced by Abrons Arts Center, American Realness, The Brooklyn Museum, Dartmouth College, Elastic City, The Invisible Dog, Jack, The New Museum, Prelude Festival, PS 122, the Van Alen Institute and Visual AIDS. He often collaborates with playwright/performer Taylor Mac.

Smith is co-director of Mac's critically acclaimed ‘A 24-Decade History of Popular Music’, winner of the Kennedy Prize in Drama, Bessie Award, the Edwin Booth Award and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He was associate director for the Tony Award winning musical FELA! – restaging that production in London, Lagos and its world tour, assistant directed the off-broadway production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and both the Broadway and off-Broadway productions of Tony Kushner’s Caroline, or Change.  He has worked on the artistic staffs of The Public Theater, Trinity Repertory Company and Providence Black Rep. 

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Smith has received residencies, grants and/or fellowships from Brooklyn Arts Council, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the MAP Fund, New York Stage and Film, Sundance Theatre Lab, Theater Communications Group, Tucker Foundation, Van Lier Fund and VoxFest. Before high school in Detroit, he grew up in the North Carolina piedmont, fishing with his dad, shopping with his mom and inventing tall-tale fantasies with his two younger brothers. www.niegelsmith.com.