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Photo of Ralf Jaroschinski and Eryn Rosenthal by Rob Sanchez


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A bit more about me:
I’m a research and site-based choreographer/ director and social practice artist, originally from Michigan, USA; my work is alternately silly and absurdist or of a more serious nature, investigating transitions and human rights-related issues. My choreography and other projects come out of my background in improvisation, contemporary dance, theater, visual arts, and several formative research and interview projects I’ve conducted with genocide survivors from Bosnia, the testimony of Holocaust survivors, and a diverse mix of artists, activists, and others throughout post-Apartheid South Africa. I’ve worked with playwright/ documentary theater pioneer Anna Deavere Smith, inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander, social justice educator Kevin Goodman and dance artists/ choreographers Rocío Rivera Marchevsky, Thomas DeFrantz, Sello Pesa, Elise Knudson, Jay Pather, Karen Nelson and Sol Picó, among others. My research and performance have been the recipients of multiple fellowships and awards, including the Open Society Institute President’s Grant and a Fulbright Fellowship, and I have published several articles in Spanish stemming from my work. I am honored to receive the Center for Artistic Activism’s Unstoppable Voters Grant for my work on US voting rights with Senator Singing Lessons.

With my ongoing series, The Doors Project, I co-develop performances based on observations of transition—political, familial, economic, intimate—and locate them in doorways, thresholds, and other transitory spaces around the world. The series premiered in Spain, and has taken several different forms so far: site-specific performances in doorways, archways, kiosks and stairwells throughout central Barcelona as part of Festival Lilliput; an animated short with visual artist Marta Azparren and Elliott Cooper; as well as a life-size doorframe on wheels—complete with floating door-handle—that my collaborators and I pushed uphill to La Puerta del Sol, the site of massive protests at the center of Madrid that launched the 15-M movement (photos, press coverage, and more information available through the links above). The Doors Project literally opened the doors of First Street Green Art Park in New York City, and has just broken ground in Chile on a different type of doorway: the horizon.

My intercultural work often intersects with environmental justice issues, and I was honored to be commissioned by The Studios of Key West to direct their first inter-community initiative on local water issues, as part of the National Water Dance Project. The work was featured on NPR.

Much of my artistic and pedagogical research investigates issues of democracy and social fabric, and I am thrilled to be back at Yale University teaching Dance and Democracy: Movement Improvisation and Liberation Pedagogies. The seminar looks at the connections and discrepancies between Contact Improvisation and democratic activism, based on my ongoing research and collaboration with artists and activists from South AfricaChile, Spain and the US. I also teach Making Performance on Socio-Political Questions, an interdisciplinary performance-making workshop -meets- humanities seminar, which students have called “transformative,” “empowering,” and “the best course I have ever taken.” My related performance, Freedom Suite: Transaction Being Processed, examines the role of the body in transgressing previously legislated boundaries, based on ongoing oral history research with activists from the politically active township of New Brighton, Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), South Africa. The performance premiered as my MFA thesis at the University of Michigan.

After returning to my research in South Africa and Spain, I came back to U-M in a different capacity, as a King-Chávez-Parks Visiting Professor and the inaugural Artist in Residence for Dialogue-Building, Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives. My residency included workshops and a working group, and culminated with a public film series; a choreographic commission on expanding definitions of beauty;  and an interdisciplinary seminar, Personal, Present and Immediate: Making Performance on Socio-Political Questions (a previous version of the Yale class). I was honored by the U-M President and Provost’s Office for my innovative diversity and inclusion work on campus. In addition to my teaching at Yale and U-M, I have also taught, in Spanish and English, at the Centre for the Advancement of Non-Racialism and Democracy (CANRAD) and the Market Theatre in South Africa; Teatro Montealegre and La Universidad de Playa Ancha in Valparaíso, Chile; La Universidad Complutense in Madrid; the In-Touch Festival in Barcelona; the Freiburg International Festival in Germany; The Yale University Art Gallery; New York University, Middlebury, UMass Amherst and elsewhere.  I am proudly based in New York City.  Be in touch here.