Making Performance on Socio-Political Questions


“One of the best courses I have taken
at the University of Michigan.”
–anonymous student evaluation

pushing the doorframe through Lavapies 449x600 Making Performance on Socio Political Questions

Loreto Ares, Miguel “Melo” Quintana, Joan Taipo-San, Eryn Rosenthal, and José Luís Cano Blanco in Tú Aquí, a chapter of The Doors Project. Doorframe design by Bea Velasco; construction at La Nave Trapecio, La Tabacalera Cultural Center, Madrid. Additional thanks to: Cristhian Salazar, Cecilia Ruiloba, José Jerónimo, Natalia Sánchez-Ton i Normand, and Jesús Escobar. Photo by Cecilia Ruiloba.

Making Performance

on Socio-Political Questions

Yale University, fall 2019
Wednesdays, 3.35-6.30pm
Visiting Professor Eryn Rosenthal
Residential College Seminar Program



RC Visiting Artist and Student Present at Convening of Campus DEI Leaders


Course Description:

This composition workshop-style course is a generative laboratory to make rigorous, experimental works that open reflection on socio-political issues. Our seminar involves: a study of other artists’ work and ways they engage with wide-ranging political matter through performance, animation, sculpture and other media; an embodied exploration of compositional elements at different sites on Yale’s campus; and creative assignments that employ various methods to interrogate sociopolitical material of your own choosing. We’ll be examining the immediate, present, and personal relationship of the body to performance in a very expansive way, studying William Kentridge’s stop-gap animation, Titus Kaphar’s large-scale murals, and Maya Lin’s Vietnam Memorial, for example, alongside more traditional understandings of performance in theater, dance and film. Questioning assumptions of performance, genre, audience and politics will form an important part of our work in this interdisciplinary class, as will a detailed examination of compositional elements common to multiple art forms. We will gain practice and experience with different approaches to making performance and different ways to deploy compositional tools, depending on your objectives. No previous experience in performance or socio-political action necessary, and all bodies, abilities, and backgrounds are actively welcome on this journey; experimentation, adaptation and play with formats and tools that may be new to you will be encouraged. The course will culminate in a public showing of original student work.  



Choreographer Eryn Rosenthal examines the role of the body in transgressing previously legislated boundaries. Her ongoing series, The Doors Project, investigates transitions–political, social, intimate–through site-based performance in different doorways around the world. Eryn has worked with choreographer Sello Pesa, poet Elizabeth Alexander, and documentary theatre pioneer Anna Deavere Smith, and has performed and taught throughout the US, South Africa and Europe. Her research and performance have been recognized with a Fulbright Fellowship to Spain and an Open Society Institute President’s Grant to South Africa, among other awards.

Eryn was recently the inaugural Artist in Residence for Dialogue-Building, Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at the University of Michigan, and she is delighted to be back at her alma mater.


© Eryn Rosenthal, 2015-19. Please share with link to this page, and contact me with any questions.