Knowing Dance More Series: Susan Manning

Caplan Recital Hall

Presented by the School of Dance, "Knowing Dance More" is a series of lectures, conversations and informal showings led by important artists, theorists, scholars and curators in the international field of dance. This series seeks to bring into focus current issues within the production, performance and practice of dance works and will hopefully foster ongoing conversations about knowing dance (more).

Reggie Wilson and the Traditions of Modern Dance
In this lecture, dance historian Susan Manning contextualizes the work of Reggie Wilson within the multiple traditions of modern dance. Manning will present a short documentary on Reggie Wilson’s “Moses(es)” and will describe the process of making this new work, from her perspective as a dramaturge.

Through travel and ethnographic research, Wilson incorporates performance practices of the African diaspora into his choreography, and in so doing updates the research-to-performance methodology of Zora Neale Hurston, Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus from mid-century.

At the same time he freely borrows movement material and compositional devices from a wide range of sources, blurring the distinction between black dance and modern dance and challenging spectators to recognize the global circulation of American and African cultures. Wilson pushes us to reconsider the transnational circulation of modern dance, for his encounters with Phyllis Lamhut, Ohad Naharin, Noble Douglass and Andreya Ouamba call for a global dance history, rather than histories premised on a single nation-state or subculture. In this lecture, Manning reflects on how her encounter with Reggie Wilson has compelled her to see dance history in new ways.

Susan Manning is an internationally recognized historian of modern dance. A professor of English, Theatre and Performance Studies at Northwestern, she has authored Ecstasy and the Demon: the Dances of Mary Wigman and Modern Dance, Negro Dance: Race in Motion; coedited New German Dance Studies; and curated Danses noires/blanche Amérique at the Centre national de la danse in Paris.

She currently serves as principal investigator for the Mellon-funded initiative “Dance Studies in/and the Humanities.” Manning had never worked as a dramaturge until Reggie Wilson invited her to work on

“Moses(es),” and she is thrilled that he did, for she has immensely enjoyed collaborating on the creative research and documentation for the project. In spring 2014, she will be a fellow at the International Research Center in Berlin, where she will complete a series of essays on Reggie Wilson and “Moses(es)” for publication in TDR: A Journal of Performance Studies.

Upcoming speakers (locations TBD):
October 2 – Lauren Bakst
November 13 – Miguel Gutierrez
February 5 – Marianne Kim
March 26 – Susan Leigh Foster
April 16 – Wrap Up & Student Showings with Lauren Bakst

Terra Hall
211 S Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
United States

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