The next event in the CFA’s Breaking Ground Dance Series is almost upon us: Morgan Thorson’s HEAVEN goes up this Friday and Saturday at 8 pm in the CFA Theater. In short, the piece is an investigation into religious/spiritual ecstasy using dance, music, lighting and research into religious practices as a means of exploration…but since I have yet to see the work, I’ll stop trying to explain it and leave that to people who have some firsthand experience. Lydia Bell ’07, who saw the performance in New York, is quoted in the most recent entry on the CFA blog,
“I felt like the piece was asking, if we don’t believe in X, what do we believe in? There is a sort of activism in this question that I like–re-framing things in the positive and of course, I felt like Morgan’s answer to this question was clear–everyone can take solace in art-making and being part of a community, which have always been core parts of any religious or spiritual practice.”
Another theme is gender identity. As Thorson says in an interview for the Walker Art Center (who co-commissioned the piece),
I purposely wanted to blend groups of variously gendered people—not to just convey the power of drag (creating your gender the way you want to), but to approach an all new manifestation of gender identity, a roving, third gender. We modeled this idea after angelic shape-shifters, which often play an important role in biblical lore.
Along those lines, the CFA is hosting a dinner conversation with Thorson Wednesday evening at 7 pm in the Daniel Family Commons. The discussion will be facilitated by Claire Potter, Professor of History and American Studies, and will focus specifically on queer and transgender themes in the work.
To summarize what’s going on:
Morgan Thorson’s HEAVEN
Pre-performance talk by Debra Cash on Friday, post-show conversations with the choreographer follow both performances. On Friday night, Nicole Stanton, chair of the Dance Department and Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Assistant Professor of Religion and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, will join the conversation and share their perspectives.
Date: Friday, 1/29 and Saturday, 1/30
Time: 8 pm (pre-performance talk at 7:15 in the CFA Hall on Friday)
Location: CFA Theater
Tickets: $8 for Wesleyan students, $18 Seniors/Wesleyan Faculty & Staff/Non-Wesleyan Students, and $21 general admission.
Dinner discussion of Queer and Transgender themes in HEAVEN
Date: Wednesday, 1/27
Time: 7 pm
Location: Usdan, Daniel Family Commons