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PERFORM MIDWEST: Collaborative Research Project Launches with Events July 16 & 17


PERFORM MIDWEST, supported by the Humanities Without Walls Consortium through Mellon Foundation funding, brings 20 artists and scholars from 6 institutions and community based organizations, working in interdisciplinary performance within the region to Ann Arbor for a summer developmental residency.

PERFORM MIDWEST aims to use performance, broadly defined as a mode of humanistic inquiry, mapping questions indigenous to the region that resonate in a global context. We’ll be laying the groundwork for a network of artists, scholars, presenters, working within and outside of academic institutions across the Midwest.

On July 16 and 17, several free public events and workshops will take place in Ann Arbor. Please note that workshop space is extremely limited and you must reserve in advance.

Thursday, July 16

Workshop with Jennifer Monson
10:30 am – 12:30 pm 
Betty Pease Dance Building
Limited space, reservations required

Jennifer Monson is a choreographer, performer, and teacher. Since 1983, she has explored strategies in choreography, improvisation, and collaboration in experimental dance. In 2000, her work took a new turn to investigate the relationship between movement and environment. This ongoing research has led her into inquiries of cultural and scientific understandings of large-scale phenomenon such as animal navigation and migration, geological formations such as aquifers, and re-functioned sites such as the abandoned Ridgewood Reservoir. These studies provide the means to unearth and inquire into choreographic and embodied ways of knowing and re-imagining our relationship to the environments and spaces humans/​all beings inhabit. Her projects BIRD BRAIN (20002005), iMAP/​Ridgewood Reservoir (2007), and the Mahomet Aquifer Project (20082010), SIP (sustained immersive process)/watershed are investigations that have radically reframed the role dance plays in our cultural understandings of nature and wilderness. Her current work Live Dancing Archive proposes that choreography itself is an archival practice for environmental phenomena.

Performances of works in progress
7:00 pm 
In Tow (Clare Croft, Jennifer Monson, Ramon Rivera-Severa, and performers) 
Living Lakes (Anita Gonzalez, Joel Martinez-Valentin, Cindy Garcia and performers)
Duderstadt Video Studio 
Limited seating, reservations suggested

Friday, July 17

Workshop with Lisa Biggs 
10 am – 12 pm
Betty Pease Dance Building
Limited space, reservations required

Lisa Biggs is a performing artist and performance scholar. She earned a BA in Theatre and Dance at Amherst College, an MA in Playwriting and Performance Studies from New York University, and most recently completed a PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University. Since 1993, she has developed and toured original performance works to venues across the United States, including Cultural Odyssey, Links Hall, Baltimore Theatre Project, Joe’s Movement Emporium, the National Black Theatre Festival, Dance Place, and the National Hip Hop Theatre Festival. In addition to devising new work, Lisa has appeared in productions at Arena Stage, Lookingglass Theatre, the African Continuum Theatre Company, the Kennedy Center, and many more. She is a former member of the Living Stage Theater Company, one of the preeminent Theatre for Social Change programs in the US, where, as a teaching artist, she devised hundreds of improvisational theatre works and taught introductory performance making to students aged 3 to 103.

Workshop with Anita Gonzalez and Joel Valentin-Martinez
1:00 — 3:00 pm
Betty Pease Dance Building
Limited space, reservations required

Anita Gonzalez is a director who has staged more than 52 productions during the course of her career. She views theatrical practice as a laboratory for artists and audiences to explore new ways of interacting and considering world issues at a personal level. Her work has appeared on PBS national television and at Dixon Place, The Workshop Theatre, HereArts, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Ballet Hispanico, and other venues. She has been awarded a residency at Rockefeller’s Bellagio Center (2003) and has completed three Senior Scholar Fulbright grants.

Joel Valentín-Martinez was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He initiated his theater/​dance training at American Conservatory Theater, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, Rosa Montoya’s Bailes Flamencos, Oakland’s Dimensions Dance Theatre, and San Francisco State University. From 1990 – 2003, he was a member of Garth Fagan Dance (Tony Award Winner) and toured with the troupe throughout the United States, Canada, the Middle East, Europe, Australia, South America, and the Caribbean. Since 2003, Mr. Valentín-Martínez has devoted his time to teaching at the university level and developing his own choreography projects.

Performances of work in progress 
7:00 pm 
Lions, Tigers and Bears (Deke Weaver, Holly Hughes, Heidi Kumao, Lisa Biggs, Meredith Alexander, Kim Marra) 
Duderstadt Video Studio 
Limited seating, reservations suggested.
Reception to follow