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Dance Faculty Women Recognized For Leadership in Diversity

Minneapolis/St. Paul -- University of Minnesota Dance Theatre (UDT) faculty member Rachmi Diyah Larasati teams up with Dag Yngvesson of the Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature Department to present "Poetics of Labor: Citizenship and Invisibility," this Thursday, October 31st at 4:00pm for a film screening and discussion. Lasarati who authored, The Dance That Makes You Vanish, published by the University of Minnesota Press published earlier this year, has just been nominated for the Erving Goffman Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Social Interaction, presented by the Media Ecology Association. Her book describes the intricate irony between the tranquil style of dance and the violent government of mid-1960s Indonesia. Her background as an Indonesian national troupe dancer informs her work as both an author and UDT instructor.

On October 12, another UDT faculty member, Toni Pierce-Sands, was recognized for
her "lifetime of service to the community" through the arts at the Emerald Service
Awards, Inc., founded by The Links, a group of African American female leaders supporting culture in communities around the country. Pierce-Sands is a fitting recipient of such an award, as co-founder of TU Dance Company and School and as a UDT instructor. TU Dance performs a fusion of dance styles to celebrate and promote diversity, and teaches classes for all ages to encourage public involvement in the arts. She is an involved UDT faculty member, contributing most recently as the director of "Dance Revolutions."

A TU Dance colleague, UDT instructor Kenna Cottman was also recently awarded for her contribution to the local arts scene. She won Outstanding Performer at the SAGE Awards on October 15th for Pramila Vasudevan's "F6" and Angharad Davies' "Pretend." Cottman, like Pierce -Sands, explores and communicates her identity as an African American woman through dance. In addition to her work at TU Dance, she studies traditional and contemporary drumming, and the oral tradition of storytelling. Her company, Voice of Culture Drum and Dance, strives towards social change by performing and hosting workshops in schools.

The SAGE awards, first presented in 2005 to provide recognition amongst the Minnesota dance community, are named for Sage Cowles, who performed on Broadway and TV and founded the Minnesota Independent Choreographers' Alliance. Amirah Sackett (U of M '98) was also honored at the SAGE Awards for Outstanding Ensemble in "We're Muslim Don't Panic."

Warm congratulations to these dedicated UDT instructors whose passion influences the community every day!


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