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Dance News

Historic restaging of Halprin's 'Paper Dance' June 14

June 13, 2018

The UW-Madison Dance Department on Thursday, June 14 is presenting a restaging of Anna Halprin’s historic “Paper Dance” at the Memorial Union's Frederik March Play Circle Theater.

This work is a section of Halprin's​ 1965 "Parades and Changes." It is an ever-evolving dance that includes a distinct, well-known, process-based score and the dressing and undressing of the cast. The intention of the score, according to Halprin, “is to comment on the corporate world, with business suits as costume, removing them ceremoniously and revealing our naked unarmed nature, the whole body.”

Halprin (Photo by Kent Reno)
The context of nudity in this work has history.  It came at a time when no one was nude on stage in this country. When this dance was performed at the Hunter Kaye Playhouse in New York in 1965, the police put out a warrant for Halprin's arrest because nudity was taboo in this country.  

“Paper Dance” will be performed by UW-Madison dance students who participated in a two-part residency with guest artist Brooke Smiley, who, on behalf of Halprin, restaged the work. The process of the residency explored how the body is political in and of itself and how nudity in performance can function.

This unticketed performance will take place at 5:15 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

This special performance will include a pre-show introduction by Kate Corby, associate professor and chair of the ​School of Education's Dance Department, Natalia Zervou, an assistant professor with the Dance Department, and Ninotchka D. Bennahum, a professor with the Department of Theater and Dance at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who has been involved in curating the exhibit "Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti and Yvonne Rainer" in California and New York, 1955-1972.

After the performance, there will be a panel presentation, moderated by Zervou,  that will include Bennahum and dance advocate and educator Jody Gottfried Arnhold, who founded Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) at 92Y and created the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program at Hunter College. Guest artist Brooke Smiley will also be on the panel as well as dance lecturer Liz Sexe, who served as rehearsal assistant for the restaging.

Halprin is a UW-Madison alumna who who studied under dance pioneer Margaret H’Doubler.  

Halprin helped democratize dance-making with task-based improvisation and large-scale civic happenings. The choreographer of over 150 works, she developed a Deweyesque system of scoring movement.

Thursday's event is part of the Madison Reunion, which brings back former students and teachers to revisit old haunts and meet old friends.

This dance was made possible through generous support from Jody and John Arnhold.

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