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Artistic Experience Inspired by Human Anatomical Exploration Topic of UW Professor’s Talk

October 26, 2018
head portrait of a woman
Nicole Lamartine, the University of Wyoming’s director of choral activities, is the Faculty Senate Speaker Series fall semester recipient. Her talk is Monday, Nov. 12, at 4:10 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for Performing Arts concert hall.

Nicole Lamartine can’t quite explain how life-changing an experience it was to spend six days with other artists dissecting a human cadaver named “Grandpa Buddha.”

Two years ago, while on sabbatical, Lamartine, the University of Wyoming’s director of choral activities, took part in an intensive six-day human dissection course taught by Gil Hedley, founder of Integral Anatomy Productions LLC and Somanautics Workshops Inc. The course explores anatomy in layers and relationships of those layers, as opposed to the discreet medical approach.

“As a creative artist, I have always been curious about the relationship of movement and breath to creation of art. As an athlete competing in powerlifting, I was fascinated by the relationship of muscles to bones and the tensile strength of the connective tissues,” Lamartine says. “And as a vocal musician, I was in awe of the human instrument, situated unassumingly within the neck, so small and fragile, yet with the ability to create such sounds that move people’s emotions.”

That experience dissecting a cadaver, layer by layer, inspired Lamartine to create a unique piece, titled “Buddha and the Breath: An artistic experience inspired by human anatomical exploration.”

“The piece is part music, part poetry reading, part of my own writings that encapsulate this amazing relationship between breath, being human and what connects us on the most fundamental planes of our existence,” Lamartine says. “The piece illuminates the discoveries of each day with my cadaver, Grandpa Buddha.”

Based on her original work, Lamartine is the recipient of the UW Faculty Senate Speaker Series fall semester award. Lamartine will discuss how she developed “Buddha and the Breath” Monday, Nov. 12, at 4:10 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for Performing Arts concert hall. Her talk is free and open to the public.

Lamartine, a Department of Music associate professor, will discuss her six days with a cadaver when she discovered each layer of the human form.

“The intention for the dissection was not medical knowledge, but rather a deep exploration of humanness, both physical and spiritual,” Lamartine says.

woman lifting weights
Nicole Lamartine is an award-winning powerlifter. She will use the intersection of being a creative artist, a vocal musician and an athlete in her talk, titled “Buddha and the Breath: An artistic experience inspired by human anatomical exploration.” (Nicole Lamartine Photo)

She adds that “Buddha and the Breath” is inspired by the discoveries of that experience. Lamartine says her piece relates the body’s anatomy to its function as instrument -- mover, performer, speaker, conductor and musician -- with two underlying principles: All breath is common to all humans and animates life and movement; and all movement in the body is meaningful.

“Through music ranging from old-time folk and jazz to Handel and Purcell to Justin Timberlake, we highlight the body’s ability to express differing styles and intentions through the human instrument,” Lamartine adds.

As UW’s director of choral activities, Lamartine leads the Collegiate Chorale, the UW Singing Statesmen and the Happy Jacks, and she teaches conducting and studio voice. Her choirs have been honored to sing at several national and regional conferences; Lamartine also is a recognized expert in females conducting male choirs.

An active performer, she has sung with Conspirare, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, the Colorado Bach Ensemble, and has been a backup singer for both Barry Manilow and Linda Ronstadt. She holds world, national and state records in powerlifting, demonstrating that creativity is intertwined with strength of body and mind.

Lamartine received her B.M. degree (1997) in vocal performance from New Mexico State University; and an M.M. (2000) in vocal performance and a DMA (2003) in choral conducting, both from the University of Arizona.

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