Co-Taught Courses

Blood, Muscle, Bone: The Anatomy of Wealth and Poverty

Choreographers Liz Lerman and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar co-taught DANC374/AFAM347/AMST215 Blood Muscle Bone: The Anatomy of Wealth and Poverty in the fall semester of 2013 over three weekend-long intensives. The course combined their artistic methods to train and support students interested in discovering the bridge between academic and artistic research using their current piece Blood, Muscle, Bone: the anatomy of wealth and poverty. Their research for the project has looked at public health, rural poverty projects with unusual mechanisms for change, as well as being in dialogue with neuroscientists about the imagination. Using collaborative methods, the class mapped a vision for how a movement practice can be an engine that invigorates, animates, and connects students from their personal inquiry and imagination to information data. 

This course was multi-disciplinary in its processes as well as its outcomes and culminated in a performance-based teach-in on November 11, 2013. Wesleyan students and the Wesleyan community were invited to witness and participate in this event, which investigated and communicated ideas surrounding the impact of wealth and poverty on the body.

The course included guest faculty: Bill Arsenio, Professor of Psychology at Yeshiva University, Lois Brown, professor of African American Studies and English at Wesleyan and Wendy Rayack, Associate Professor of Economics at Wesleyan.

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar

In 1984 Jawole Willa Jo Zollar founded Urban Bush Women as a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. In addition to thirty-four works for UBW, she has created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, University of Maryland, Virginia Commonwealth University among others; and with collaborators including Compagnie Jant-Bi from Senegal and Nora Chipaumire. In 2006 Jawole received a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for her work Walking With Pearl…Southern Diaries. Featured in the PBS documentary “Free to Dance,” Jawole was designated a Master of African American Choreography by the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in 2005. Her company has toured five continents and was selected as one of three U.S. dance companies to inaugurate a cultural diplomacy program for the U.S. Department of State in 2010. She serves as director of the Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute and holds the position of the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor of Dance and Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor at Florida State University.

Liz Lerman

Liz Lerman is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker, and the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship and a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellowship in Dance. A key aspect of her artistry is opening her process to various publics from shipbuilders to physicists, construction workers to ballerinas, resulting in both research and outcomes that are participatory, relevant, urgent, and usable by others. She founded Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in 1976 and led it until 2011. Current projects include Healing Wars, an investigation of the impact of war on medicine, and an online project called “The Treadmill Tapes: Ideas on the Move.” She teaches her Critical Response Process around the world. Her third book, Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer, was published in 2011 by Wesleyan University Press.
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