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reed magazine logoMarch 2010

Eliot Circular

The Final Bow

Minh Tran

Visiting assistant professor of dance Minh Tran took the final bow of his stage career in “Kiss,” an autobiographical piece commissioned by White Bird and performed in the round at Portland’s World Forestry Center in January.

“Kiss” opens a window into Tran’s emotional memory. It portrays his escape by sea from a war-ravaged Vietnam, his arrival in Portland, and his coming out as a gay man. (See “Dancing Across Borders,” Spring 2009.) Tran teamed up with composer Heather Perkins and film designer David Bryant, and incorporated several different elements in choreographing his swan song, drawing on the Chinese opera training of his youth, Southeast Asian techniques, and modern dance.

The choreography is enhanced with streams of sensual images of body parts projected through the auditorium, which Tran admits were included to stir emotion.

“I’m not looking for acceptance anymore,” Tran told the Oregonian in a recent interview. He called it his definitive work and his most introspective. “It was created for myself. No one else will ever do that piece,” said Tran. “I cried every night on stage, I spilled my guts.”

At 43, Tran remains in exceptional physical condition and moves with grace and explosive speed. But he believes that dancing has become a distraction and that it is time to focus on teaching. “It is more rewarding to see where and how my students realize their potential,” said Tran. “It’s time to give back.”

Thesis Videos Online

The quantum mechanics of the ellipse. The predictive validity of the SAT. Examining worship in virtual reality. These are just a few of the fascinating issues Reed students have explored in their senior theses. To get a sense of the staggering breadth and depth of the questions Reedies are grappling with, visit our new webpage and watch them talk about their theses. See

Coyotes Make Home In Canyon

Students slogging home through the canyon at twilight are accustomed to seeing a wide variety of local wildlife. Squirrels chattering indignantly at one another, rifling through fallen leaves and gorging themselves on their findings, warbling flocks of tiny sparrows, feathers fluffed and swaying with the bitter wind, even slender, ribbon-like, black and yellow garter snakes trying to catch the last of the pale sunshine. Recently, however, there’s been an upswing in sightings of a larger cohabitant: coyotes.


Campus wildlife: a coyote stands near the orchard in the upper canyon.

“It’s quite a surprise,” says Molly Radany ’11. “One minute you’re walking home and the next you see this majestic, sleek creature just trot across the trail in front of you. They’re beautiful.”

Reed’s resident canyon expert, groundskeeper Zac Perry, believes that a pair of coyotes began prowling the upper canyon sometime in the fall and may have built a den in the area below the studio art building. “From the markings, it looks like they may be a male and a female,” Zac says. “But there’s no sign of pups—yet.”

The return of coyotes (along with the wild steelhead trout spotted in the canyon last year) is an eloquent testament to Reed’s intensive efforts to restore the 26-acre canyon to a self-sustaining, ecologically balanced condition. In 2001, the college removed an outdoor swimming pool and built a fish ladder to allow salmon and trout free passage to Reed Lake. This summer, thanks to generous support from donors (including the city of Portland, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Metro, and the Jubitz Foundation), work will begin on SE 28th Avenue to replace the culverts that have long choked the creek that issues from the Canyon.

The coyotes’ diet is believed to include downed fruit from the old orchard, squirrels, and the ever-scrumptious coypu. Are the coyotes dangerous? Not really, according to the Portland Audubon Society, which describes the species as “generally shy, wary of humans, and non-aggressive.” Should you actually come face to face, the recommended course of action is to make a fuss by waving your arms and shouting—though it’s worth taking a moment to stop and stare.

—Lucy Bellwood ’12

reed magazine logoMarch 2010