Ohio Wesleyan University is offering a series of online workshops and speakers this spring designed to educate and engage all bodies who want to grow within the dance community.
Titled “Moving Bodies and Social Justice,” the free virtual events are created in collaboration with the dance faculty of the Five Colleges of Ohio, which also includes Oberlin College, Kenyan College, Denison University and The College of Wooster.
Rashana Perks Smith, MFA, a Wesleyan dance teacher from Ohio, said the workshops were meant to help students examine the systems in which they study and perform, as well as help them create support systems to themselves as body-conscious dancers.
“I hope those who participate will ask more questions about the institutional structure and systems and the program,” said Perks Smith. “I hope there will be more discussions with teachers and administrators as we work to become more inclusive as a discipline. … I also want students to become more confident with their bodies and connect with others to build support networks.
Upcoming Bodies in Motion and Social Justice events are:
• 7 pm February 18 – Naomi Macalalad Bragin presents “Black Power of Hip Hop Dance: On Kinethic Politics”. Bragin, Ph.D., teaches classes in performance studies, critical race and gender studies, and dance at the University of Washington Bothell’s School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.
• 7 pm February 25 – mayfield brooks presents “A Discourse for De-Composing Dance and Choreographing Breath”. brooks, MFA, is a movement-based performance artist, singer, urban farmer, teacher, and writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
• 7:00 pm March 18 – Sydnie L. Mosley and Sharon Udoh participate in a panel discussion on “Body Positivity: Radical Self-Love and Social Transformation”. The conversation will be moderated by OWU instructor Smith. Mosley, MFA, is an award-winning artist-activist and educator from Harlem, New York. She produces experiential dance works with her collective SLMDances. Udoh is a first-generation queer Nigerian-American composer, pianist, singer, educator, speaker, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. She was in residence at the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University.
• 7:15 pm April – Thomas F. DeFrantz presents “Making*Queering*Dancing”. DeFrantz, Ph.D., is Professor of African and African American Studies at Duke University and Director of SLIPPAGE: Performance, Culture, Technology, a research group that explores emerging technologies in live performance applications.
• 7 pm April 22 – Jaamil Olawale Kosoko presents “The transgressive body workshop”. Kosoko, MA, is a Nigerian-American poet, curator and performance artist. In the fall of 2020, he was named Alma Hawkins Visiting Chair in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at UCLA. He also teaches regularly at Princeton University.
Moving Bodies and Social Justice events are financially supported by the Ohio Five Collaborative Grants program. For more detailed event descriptions, presenter bios, and access to each virtual presentation, visit https://sites.google.com/oberlin.edu/moving-bodies-social-justice.
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