New series connects students, community with artists and scholars

A new initiative from the Department of Performing and Media Arts, the Asian American Studies Program, and the Latina/o Studies Program is inviting students and community members to engage in hands-on workshops and conversations with artists  and arts/performance scholars. The next visit is Thursday, Oct. 29.

“Critical Moves: Performance in Theory & Movement,” envisioned as a multiyear project, is hosting four virtual events with artists this semester. The artists work across boundaries of race, gender, sexuality and ethnicity and exemplify the ways that the arts, and in performance in particular, are lived and studied.

“We are both artists and scholars ourselves,” said Christine Bacareza Balance, associate professor of performing and media arts and Asian American studies, who is organizing the series with Karen Jaime, assistant professor of performing and media arts and Latina/o studies. “Coming from Southern California and New York City, respectively, we realized that conversations around race and diversity could be expanded, here on-campus and in Ithaca, to be more representative of the world we live in. This series centers artists’ work that is able to speak across different divides.”

The artists will visit Balance’s “Fictions of Dictatorship” class and Jaime’s “Spoken Word, Hip-Hop Theater, and the Politics of Performance” course, as well as offer some evening sessions.

The series began Oct. 22 with a visit by poets Rich Villar and Anacaona Rocio Milagro. It continues this Thursday, Oct. 29 with a visit from Jessica Hagedorn, author of “Toxicology,” “Dream Jungle,” “The Gangster of Love,” “Danger and Beauty” and “Dogeaters,” which won the American Book Award and was a fiction finalist for the National Book Award.

Hagedorn will visit Balance’s class from 3:15–4:30 p.m. then take part in a public conversation with Balance from 6:30–8 p.m. Both sessions are open to the public.

“A lot of my students are anxious in this particular time of COVID and in this political moment,” Jaime said. “These artists can speak to where they are as students and to the experiences they have across various communities.”

The visiting artists will also share their career paths and the ways they continue to focus on their art, she said. “How do you frame art as an essential part of your life along with paying your bills?”

The sessions with poets will also include some time for participants to take part in writing exercises, poetry creation or spoken word performance movement, albeit from their own spaces.

The other visit this semester will be:

  • Dec. 3, 1:25–2:40 p.m.: Regie Cabico visits Jaime’s course. Cabico is a spoken-word pioneer who won The Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam Championship (1993) alongside earning top prizes in three National Poetry Slam competitions. His work appears in over 30 anthologies and his television credits include two seasons of HBO's Def Poetry Jam, TedX Talks, NPR's Snap Judgement, and MTV's Free Your Mind.

Next semester, the series will include a film screening of “Havana Divas,” a story focused on Chinese opera and how it flourished in Cuba in the 1940s and 1950s. Also planned is a Nightlife symposium, featuring scholars Kemi Adeyemi, Kareem Khubchandani and Ramón Rivera-Servera, who will talk about their scholarly work related to queer night life.

For more information on the series, visit the website for the Department of Performing and Media Arts.

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		Critical moves poster