Dancing in the Dark

I had a really, really long day today so all I can manage is this small offering. I came across this picture quite a while ago and although it isn’t a really great image, I’ve always found it both evocative and immediate. I look at it and remember what this felt like.

Hanszen dance inaugurating new patio

It’s not dated but it is labeled on the back: “Hanszen Dance, inaugurating new patio.”

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11 Responses to Dancing in the Dark

  1. I think that is a great image. It is stripped down to just the mood. Really strong geometric focus to the center, but there isn’t anything there, so all you see is the dancers. The sandals in the foreground anchor it. It is exposed just right — the highlights still have some texture. The film grain looks like it has been pushed (Acufine?) which also adds some texture. Pushed film gets contrasty, but the photographer has used that rather than fighting it. High contrast works in this photo.

    I don’t recognize it. I think I’d remember this if it had come in while I was Thresher Photo Editor, so it isn’t from 1976-78.

  2. I don’t think I remember the patio like that. Would that have been before the commons fire? I thought the commons arcade was approximately there. Deborah, do you have any idea?

    • Richard Miller (Hanszen '75 & '76) says:

      note sure of the date ubt it is in the courtyard just in front of the entrance to section 2. (You can see the windows to two rooms on the first floor just west of the section 2 entrance)

    • Deborah Gronke Bennett (BSEE Hanszen '82) says:

      I’m pretty sure the patio was there when I lived in Hanszen (1976-1979). There was often black metal patio furniture out there. Richard is right about the location – the arched windows in the first and second arches of the colonnade are for room 121 and 122(?), a 4-person quad room, 2 bedrooms, one on each side of a center door and short staircase. In 1977-78, the room was overcrowded to 5 men. They set up the room to the left as the social room (kitchen and fridge in the back, couches in the front), and the room to the right with 5 beds all up on frames, with desks underneath. I dated a guy who lived in that set of rooms my sophomore year.

      In the third arch, you can see the door into the center stairwell of the old section. When I was there, the college office with Mrs. T and the mailboxes was to the left. In 1976, the rest of the first floor (to the right) was the student health center. In 1979 the health center became smaller and the first floor room to the right of the stairwell was returned to the college for housing. I lived in that room in the fall of 1979. (I think it was 132).

      I don’t think the B&P lasted long in the attic. In the summer of 1977 (after my freshman year), we could store our things over the summer up there in that attic. I think they must have renumbered the sections after the renovation too. I lived on the third floor, in the hall to the left of the stairwell (basically 2 floors above the college office). The rooms along that corridor facing Weiss (i.e. the back of the building in this photo) were 319, 317, 315 and 313. (I lived in each of them for a semester, in succession, my first two years at Rice). 313 was the single opposite the bathroom.

      • Richard Miller (Hanszen '75 & '76) says:

        Things got renumbered when the old section was renovated in 1975. Up till then the old section was divided into three sections (each section was defined by the stairwell,

        Section 1 was the old tower. The office and mailboxs were on the first floor and it extended for four floors plus the two rooms off of the patio. there was a door the the attic on four.

        Section 2 was was the center strairwell. It went to the thrd floor and the B&P was in the attic over it until the renovation

        Section 3 was the stairwell at the east end. As indicated the student health service was on the first floor and there was an entrance to the attic

        There also was a basement level underneath the portion of the new wing (stairwells 4 and 5) where the rec area and library were housed.

        Based on what you said and my memory I think the renovation divided the old wing into two sections with a wall in between (I think the center stairwell had doors into both halves. ) The 121/122 rooms were left alone. I had the 122 room my 5th year (and perhaps my senior year). Remember that we were only 2 years into co-ed living when the rennovation was done so there still needed to be a ‘hard’ demarcation between the mens space and the womens space. The rennovation was a point of hostility since the decision was made that starting in the fall of ’75 the women would get the old tower (up until then they had section 3 and the new tower plus I think one additional stairwell in the new section. The residents of the old tower enthusiatically assisted in the demolition
        of the old
        walls and doors when they left that year (leaving behind some very pointed and obscene messages). This was not considered vandalism since everyone knew what was going to be removed by the rennovation. All of the furnature was stored in the commons (which burned down early in the summer)

  3. marmer01 says:

    There’s a live band. Wonder who?

  4. almadenmike says:

    There appears to be a sign “B & P” on the cloister wall behind the band in the center of the photo.

    • marmer01 says:

      Interesting. B & P was in the basement of the new section when I was there. Where that sign is appears to be what we called “The Pit.”

      • Richard Miller (Hanszen '75 & '76) says:

        Until the renovation in the summer of 75 the B&P was in the attic of the old section, right above section two. The B&P sign is next to stairwell 2. The pit is to the left. This tends to date this to no later than spring of ’75

  5. That makes sense. When I was there the attic was a study area called the “Weenie Loft.” I actually got a lot of work done there.

    • Sam says:

      There seems to be a flux in names over time (or at least lapses in memory?). Regarding the attic in Old Section, today it is known as The Weenie Loft. If I am not mistaken, it was named such in the 60’s. The B&P is the basement of New Section. All of this can be confirmed in the Hanszen history book printed last year to celebrate Hanszen’s 55th. I don’t know why the attic of Old Section would ever be called the B&P…

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