Kennesaw State University’s Zuckerman Museum of Art and Department of Dance Collaborate

dancers on stairs respond to artwork
Dance students respond to artwork in the ZMA. 

Dance students in special topics class respond to artwork in two site-specific performances

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec 7, 2021) — A part of Kennesaw State University’s School of Art and Design, the Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art (ZMA) collaborated with the Department of Dance this semester to give students the opportunity to create dance performances in response to the exhibitions This Mortal Coil and The Labor of Remembrance: Print and Textile Works by Louise Bourgeois.  Two performances, free and open to the public, will be held on Friday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. 

Curated by Cynthia Nourse Thompson, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the ZMA, This Mortal Coil and The Labor of Remembrance: Print and Textile Works by Louise Bourgeois will close on December 11; the public is also invited to the closing reception on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 4 to 6 p.m.

The themes addressed in these two exhibitions are more relevant than ever, in response to current shared grim realities and global struggles, and their relationship to loss, [in]justice, and mortality. Thus, the artworks on exhibit illuminate empathy, grief, and loss, as shared universal themes. 

image of dancer laying on floor in clothes
The first course of its kind in Dance, “Site Specific Performance: Process and Procession” uses the form of procession as a metaphor for the journey of life. Above, dance student Anna Jackson responds to artwork.

The first course of its kind in Dance, “Site Specific Performance: Process and Procession” uses the form of procession as a metaphor for the journey of life, according to Professor Sean Nguyen-Hilton. Students will perform throughout the ZMA, responding to art works and collaborators alike. 

“In the course, we have been talking about being ‘agents to the space’ so that the students aren't the sole focus or the spectacle. Students are working in—and with—the space to create an atmosphere. Viewers can observe the students in relationship to the space and the objects inside of it. This gives the students a more expansive performance experience which allows them to traverse time and space with a durational approach,” explains Nguyen-Hilton. 

two students holding hands to mimic artwork on wall
Left to right: Dance students Ethan Brasseaux and Anna Jackson respond to artwork in the ZMA.

Thompson says it’s been exciting to have the students in the ZMA this semester. “I am thrilled with the initiation of a collaboration with the Department of Dance, and the way it furthers this collaborative mission that we are working on across all departments.” Students had full access to the space surrounding the artworks and attended lectures and workshops by the internationally renowned artists. “It’s really exciting to have the ZMA be a vehicle for curriculum-based projects and serve as a creative space,” she adds. 

Interim Dean Harrison Long explains that the unique course is a good example of using the College of the Arts’ world-class venues in which students may learn, grow, and discover. “A special synergy occurs when artists collaborate across disciplines because both forms can be seen in new ways. The vibrant collaboration between the Department of Dance and the Zuckerman Museum highlights our cross-disciplinary approach in the College of the Arts, providing transformational experiences for our student community and beyond.” The course is scheduled again for Fall of 2022. 

Artists featured in This Mortal Coil include Janine Antoni, Louise Bourgeois, Sonya Clark, Gail Deery, Carson Fox, Markus Hansen, Donna Smith Jones, Anders Krisár, Rosemary Laing, Pixy Liao, Roberto Mannino, Martha McDonald, Oscar Muñoz, Tony Orrico, Dario Robleto, Piper Shepard, and Anne Wilson.  Students in this semester's class are Savannah Banks, Ethan Brasseaux, Kayla Brown, Anna Jackson, Char Tep, and Jada Thompson. 

The ZMA Dance performances, exhibitions, and closing reception are free and open to the public; reservations are recommended. 

--Kathie Beckett; images by Emily Knight

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