Dance and Dialogue: Human Contact and Democracy

Poster design by Brandon Monson; watercolor by Eryn Rosenthal.

Dance and Dialogue:

Human Contact and Democracy

Introductory Workshops
University of Michigan
March 2017 – March 2018

Choreographer Eryn Rosenthal examines the democratic underpinnings of Contact Improvisation, and the role of the body in transgressing previously legislated boundaries. As the 2017-18 King-Chávez-Parks Visiting Professor and Artist in Residence for Dialogue-Building, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiatives at the University of Michigan (U-M), she developed various pilot programs including professional development trainings, interdisciplinary workshops, and a working group that ask what the body can bring to larger discussions of diversity, empowerment, and inclusion. Her work draws from research and collaboration with democratic activists in South Africa, the US and Spain. Eryn’s work at U-M culminated this past semester in the interdisciplinary seminar Personal, Present and Immediate*: Making Performance on Socio-Political Questions. She also designed and choreographed Root Vegetables, a community-based diversity and resilience initiative in the U-M dance department on groundedness, growth, and expanding definitions of beauty. Her work has been recognized with a Fulbright research grant, an Open Society Institute President’s Grant as well as multiple other fellowships and awards.

Eryn holds a BA in Comparative Literature from Yale University and an MFA in Dance from U-M, where she also studied in the Ford School for Public Policy. She has performed and taught throughout the US, South Africa, and Europe, and has worked with choreographers Sello Pesa, Jay Pather and Sol Picó, poet Elizabeth Alexander, and documentary theatre pioneer Anna Deavere Smith, among others. Eryn’s ongoing series, The Doors Project, investigates transitions — political, social, intimate — through site-based performance in different doorways around the world. Her related performance, Freedom Suite: Transaction Being Processed, is based on ongoing oral history research with anti-Apartheid activists in South Africa.

These events are sponsored by the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI); the King-Chávez-Parks Visiting Professorship; ArtsEngine; the CEW Frances and Sydney Lewis Visiting Leaders Fund; the W.M. Trotter Multicultural Center; the School of Music, Theatre and Dance’s DEI Fund; the African Studies Center; the LSA Democracy in Action Fund; the Center for World Performance Studies; and the Department of Theatre and Drama.

© Eryn Rosenthal, 2017-18. Please share widely, and cite with link to this page.