February 22, 2013

Dance Prof Rachmi Diyah Larasati authors "The Dance That Makes You Vanish"

Theatre Arts & Dance professor, Rachmi Diyah Larasati has written Dance That Makes You Vanish: Cultural Reconstruction in Post -Genocide Indonesia. Published by the University of Minnesota Press in March, the new work explores the transformation of dance form in the highly charged political repression in her native homeland during the 1960s.

Indonesian court dance, a purportedly pure and untouched tradition, is famed throughout the world for its sublime calm and stillness. Yet this unyieldingly peaceful surface conceals a time of political repression and mass killing. Between 1965 and 1966, some one million Indonesians--including a large percentage of the country's musicians, artists, and dancers--were killed, arrested, or disappeared as Suharto established a virtual dictatorship that ruled for the next thirty years.

In The Dance That Makes You Vanish, an examination of the relationship between female dancers and the Indonesian state since 1965, Rachmi Diyah Larasati elucidates the Suharto regime's dual-edged strategy: persecuting and killing performers perceived as communist or left leaning while simultaneously producing and deploying "replicas"--new bodies trained to standardize and unify the "unruly" movements and voices of those vanished--as idealized representatives of Indonesia's cultural elegance and composure in bowing to autocratic rule. Analyzing this history, Larasati shows how the Suharto regime's obsessive attempts to control and harness Indonesian dance for its own political ends have functioned as both smoke screen and smoke signal, inadvertently drawing attention to the site of state violence and criminality by constantly pointing out the "perfection" of the mask that covers it.

Reflecting on her own experiences as an Indonesian national troupe dancer from a family of persecuted female dancers and activists, Larasati brings to life a powerful, multifaceted investigation of the pervasive use of culture as a vehicle for state repression and the global mass-marketing of national identity.

Rachmi Diyah Larasati is assistant professor of cultural theory, critical studies, and dance history in the department of Theatre Arts & Dance at the University of Minnesota. She also holds an affiliate graduate faculty position there in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and is a former guest faculty at the Brown University Critical Global Humanities Research Institute.

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February 1, 2012

Arthur Ballet 1924-2012

Arthur Ballet (1924-2012)

"It's hard to express how important Arthur Ballet was to the university and tens of thousands of its students, to the Guthrie and to the American theatre," according to Donald Schoenbaum, former managing director of the Guthrie.
"Professor Ballet was one of the almost legendary figures responsible for the growth of this department from the 1950s to the 1980s" said University of Minnesota Theatre Arts and Dance Department Chair Carl Flink. "He was a great advocate for the power of live theatre and film to the general public."
Professor Lance Brockman, former colleague, recalled "Ballet's Intro to Theatre classes introduced generations to live performance and it was his contribution that made the theatre scene in the Twin Cities so vital and important. His connections with the National Endowment for the Arts Theatre Program and the Office of Advance Drama Research (OADR) promoted and developed a generation of American playwrights."
Arthur Ballet died January 30, 2012. For additional information go to The Star Tribune.

May 12, 2009

BIG LOVE Cast Announced

Director Lisa Channer has announced the cast for the October 2009 production of Big Love.

Cast List for Big Love:

Thyona: Sasha Gibbs
Olympia: Jenna Frankenfield
Lydia: Julianna Drajko

Constantine: Nickolas Marcouiller
Oed: Ian Knodel
Nikos: Billy Mullaney

Eleanor: Addy Salami
Leo: Kalen Keir

Bella: Allison Witham

Guliano: Nathaniel Nesheim-Case
Piero: Kevin O’Neil

Additional Brides and Grooms will be announced later after discussions with the choreographer.

A note from Lisa to all who auditioned: there were so many talented and prepared auditioners that this was a very difficult decision. Anyone who wants feedback on their audition, just email me and I'm happy to share what I can with you.

A note from Lisa to those who are cast: I will be contacting you about prep work you can do over the summer. Please contact me also at some point to talk about the role and how you'd like to prepare for it.

April 28, 2009

Exclusive Offer for U of M Alumni Association Members!

Join fellow University of Minnesota Alumni Association members for a special evening aboard the Minnesota Centennial Showboat on Friday, June 19, or Tuesday, July 21.

The Friday, June 19 event offers a pre-show talk with director Kenneth Noel Mitchell, dinner on the upper deck of the Showboat, a ticket to Is There a Doctor in the House? and an invitation to the opening night reception following the show. On Tuesday, July 21, your Showboat experience will include a ticket to the performance and a member-exclusive, post-show dessert reception with actors of the Showboat Company. For event details, including pricing and times, visit

Tickets are available now by calling Padelford Riverboats, the exclusive ticketing agent for the Showboat, at 651-227-1100 or toll free at 1-800-543-3908. Please identify yourself immediately as a member of the Alumni Association and have your alumni member number available.

April 22, 2009

Dance Program Recognized in the City Pages' Best of Minneapolis 2009


In the City Pages' Best of Minneapolis 2009, the University of Minnesota Dance Program students performing José Limón's 1958 classic Missa Brevis was named the Best Dance Performance of a Classic. Check out the full article at

Affiliate Dance Faculty member, Marciano Silva Dos Santos, was named Best Dancer. Read the full article about his award also at

April 16, 2009

BIG LOVE Auditions Announced

Written by Charles Mee
Directed by Lisa Channer

Description of the play: Fifty brides flee their fifty grooms and seek refuge in a villa on the coast of Italy in this modern re-making of one of the western world's oldest plays, The Danaids by Aeschylus. And, in this villa on the Italian coast, the fifty grooms catch up with the brides, and mayhem ensues: the grooms arriving by helicopter in their flight suits, women throwing themselves over and over again to the ground, pop songs and romantic dances, and, finally, unable to escape their forced marriages, 49 of the brides murder 49 of the grooms-and one bride falls in love. About the same odds as today.

The entire play is available to all at

It is suggested that you read it before auditioning so you understand the style in which it is written and the world it inhabits.

Auditions are Monday May 4th from 6:30-11:00pm in Room 20 and callbacks are Tuesday May 5th from 7:00-9:30pm.

An audition sign-up sheet is posted on the callboard across from the tunnel entrance in the Pit.

For May 4th Auditions:
Sign up for a slot and come with two things:
A song excerpt that is no longer than one minute in length.
A monologue excerpt that is no longer than two minutes in length.

Note: Everyone must sing for the audition (even if it is Happy Birthday) although not every character sings in the show so you may be cast even if your singing is less than stellar :-)

For May 5th Callbacks:
You will be asked to prepare sides from the play and there will be a group dance/movement audition. Additional information about the callbacks will be given after the initial auditions.

Questions? or 626.6617

March 19, 2009

BA Theatre Program Head Named One of City Pages' Artists of the Year

BA Program Head and Instructor, Luverne Seifert, was named one of the City Pages Artists of the Year for 2008. Check out the City Pages article for more detailed information.

Faculty Members Granted Institute for Advanced Study Collaborative Awards

Three Theatre Arts and Dance faculty members have been granted the highly competitive Institute for Advanced Study Collaborative Awards for next year. Director of Dance and Associate Professor Ananya Chatterjea received an award for her project Intersecting Performance and Social Justice. Lisa Channer, Associate Professor in Directing, received one for her project Embodying Gilgamesh: New Physical Language for Staging Epic Texts. Department Chair and Associate Professor Carl Flink will be working with Microbiology Professor David Odde on their project Choreography of the Moving Cell: Self-Organization and Catastrope.

February 9, 2009

PhD Student Rachel Chaves Awarded Prestigious Fellowship

Congratulations to PhD student Rachel Chaves for winning the Norman Johnston DeWitt Fellowship. Rachel is the sole recipient of this University-wide fellowship for research in the Humanities. This is the first time a graduate student in Theatre Arts and Dance has won the fellowship.

January 22, 2009

Sonja Kuftinec named Scholar of the College

The following is an e-mail from Theatre Arts & Dance Department Chair Carl Flink:

Dear All:

It is my pleasure to let you know that TAD's very own interim Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor Sonja Kuftinec was just named one of only two new Scholars of the College by the College of Liberal Arts! While this is no surprise to all of us who know Sonja, it is wonderful to see the College acknowledge her excellence at a time when I am certain competition for these awards was particularly high given our current economic climate.

Congratulations, Professor Kuftinec! A truly well deserved honor.


November 13, 2008

Faculty member wins Emmy!

Emmy® Award Winner:
Affliate Theatre Faculty member, T. Mychael Rambo, narrated a series of one minute video spots honoring Minnesotans who have worked to protect and restore our natural landscape called "Minnesota Minute". Produced by TPT/KTCA - Twin Cities Public Televison and the University of Minnesota Bell Museum, the thirteen PSAs received an Emmy® from the National Television Academy's Upper Midwest Chapter in the Community/Public Service Campaign category.

September 23, 2008

Peace Crimes Documentary Nominated for Emmy Award

"Peace Crimes - The Minnesota 8," a program produced in partnership among Twin Cities Public Television, the U of M Department of Theatre Arts and Dance and The History Theatre of Saint Paul, has been nominated for a prestigious regional Emmy Award™.

"It's a testimony to the talents of TPT staffers as producer, as well as to the quality of the story being told, and the importance of the contributions of all the partners involved," said Sherry Wagner-Henry, Managing Director of University Theatre. University Theatre is the production arm of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, and one of the collaborators on the "Peace Crimes" play and documentary project. Many folks may recall the co-production University Theatre hosted this spring on campus with the History Theatre of St. Paul on a "real story" play about the Minnesota 8, which centered around former U students who were sent to prison for their protest of the Vietnam War. Seven of the eight men were on hand for the construction of the play and documentary of the process of the play. The play titled "Peace Crimes--The Minnesota 8 vs. the War" premiered on Feb. 21, 2008 at the Rarig Center on the West Bank campus, and the documentary aired on TPT the following evening. A grant from the U of M McKnight Arts and Humanities Fund sponsored the documentary project.

Continue reading "Peace Crimes Documentary Nominated for Emmy Award" »

September 4, 2008

Upcoming Season Auditions

(sent out August 28, 2008 on TheatreList with updates September 4, 2008)

Please read the following carefully:


WOYZECK will audition Wednesday and Thursday, September 3 and 4, from 7-10 in Norris Gym on the East Bank where the production will be performed. From 7:00-8:00 there will be group movement auditions with Carl Flink. At 8:00 there will be interview and exercises with Luverne Seifert and Michael Sommers. Sign-up sheets for each night are posted.

Using Buchner's play WOYZECK as a springboard for themes, images, and gesture and per formative events, participants will propose, construct, and perform in a world in which the audience becomes the voyeurs. The forms of peep show, diorama, tableau vivant, The Fun House, installation, shadow, the museum and site-specific all become possibilities. The work will culminate in movement/dance created by the cast and Carl Flink. The participants will create their own event from the initial idea, the construction of all elements, space, object, scenography, sound and light, through the performance. These events may range from 30 seconds to three hours in duration. Rehearsals will be structured according to participation.

Performance dates: October 10-18. 3100 credit is available. Rehearsals
Monday-Thursday 7-10.

Although HAY FEVER and PRESENT LAUGHTER are designated as Senior BFA shows in rep, there are additional casting opportunities. All roles to be cast are speaking roles. All current students as welcome and encouraged to audition on Saturday afternoon, September 6 from noon to 3:00 p.m. in the Thrust. Sign-up sheets for these auditions will be posted on the Production Notices Bulletin Boards in the basement of Rarig.

Performances: November 14-23.

Students should prepare a short comic monologue with heightened language. Please bring a resume with you. The roles available in PRESENT LAUGHTER are Fred, Miss Erickson, and Lady Saltburn. The sides for these roles in will be posted near the signup sheet. You should pick the role for which you would like to read. HAY FEVER will have two female roles available to be determined during the Saturday audition process. You may be asked to read one of those sides at the audition. Please plan to stay after your audition.

As a reminder, in professional auditions in the US it is advisable to use an RP or other basic British dialect when the script is in those dialects (Shaw, Coward, Wilde, A Christmas Carol, Pinter, etc.).

The Xperimental season will audition its fall productions Monday and Tuesday, September 8 and 9, with Callbacks Wednesday September 10 for fall productions only. DIVERSE VOICES will audition during these dates also. See separate postings.

Two opportunities to participate in 4380 creative collaboration projects are available this semester. Section (1) will be production of BACCHAE working with Assistant Professor Dominic Taylor. Auditions will be held September 9 in Studio A. Section (2) will be a production of GILGAMESH working with Assistant Professor Lisa Channer. A group audition will be held Thursday, September 11. Further information on both these projects will be posted separately.


The University Theatre will be auditioning both NIGHT TRAIN TO BOLINA and A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY on Wednesday through Friday evenings, November 5-7. Individual production callbacks for A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY will be held Saturday, November November 8; individual production callbacks for NIGHT TRAIN will be held Saturday, November November 15. Casting for both productions will be posted November 17.

NIGHT TRAIN TO BOLINA by Nilo Cruz will be directed by Dominic Taylor, Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and Dance, in the Arena. Rehearsals will start January 20 though there may be some read-through rehearsals in late fall semester. Performance dates are Feb 27-March 7. Clara and Mateo, young, poor and powerless in an adult world, confront life with intelligence, passion and eloquence in a lyrical portrayal by Nilo Cruz in Night Train to Bolina -- a haunting tale of the dispossessed of the earth in which two poor Latin American children's spirits soar like kites as they run away to an invented place called Bolina. Roles for 5 actors (typically 3 women and 2 men, which could change depending on talent pool).

A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY by Tony Kushner will be directed by Lisa Channer, Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and Dance, in the Thrust. Rehearsals will start February 23. Performance dates are April 17-25.

Set in two opposing viewpoints of early 1930s Berlin and Long Island in the 1980s, Kushner relates the concerns of Agnes Eggling, a middle-aged actress in pre-Nazi Berlin, to those of Zillah, a young woman frustrated with the governing Republican Party led by Ronald Regan and determined to move to Berlin. Based on Bertolt Brecht's The Private Life of the Master Race, Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner examines the rise of two political parties to power in two different eras. A Bright Room Called Day is produced as a part of the 2009 Kushner Celebration presented by the Guthrie Theater. Roles for between 5 and 6 women and between 5 and 6 men.

Sign-up sheets for the general auditions will be posted on the Production Notices Bulletin Boards in the basement of Rarig. For these auditions, please prepare two contrasting pieces: one dramatic and one comic, one of which should be non-realistic. Time limit of 3 minutes or less per audition will be strictly enforced. It is strongly suggested that you read the plays before auditioning.

NOTE the following spring conflicts:
- NIGHT Train conflicts with UDT, the X production of SHADOWS/WILL TALKING in spring semester and possibly THE ODYESSY.
- BRIGHT ROOM conflicts with the X production of THE ODYESSY in spring, and possibly SHADOWS/WILL TALKING.
- Neither production conflicts with the Minnesota Centennial Showboat.

July 31, 2008

U of M's Rarig Center hosts MN Fringe Festival

The Department of Theatre Arts & Dance's own Rarig Center is one of the host venues for the 2008 Minnesota Fringe Festival. All four of its theatre spaces (thrust, proscenium, arena, black box) will be used to host events throughout the festival, which takes place July 31st – August 10th. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit

June 16, 2008

The Count of Monte Cristo opens the 50th Anniversary Showboat Season

The Minnesota Centennial Showboat began its summer-long run of "The Count of Monte Cristo" on Friday, June 13th. Please visit to learn more about the 50th anniversary celebration of our favorite floating theatre. Please also view our "Finding Minnesota" segment produced by Jeanette Trompeter of WCCO-TV.

April 18, 2008

U of M/Guthrie BFA Actors Shine in Midsummer and New Plays

University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program students and alumni are shining on the Guthrie's stages this spring. Through April 27th, see the current Senior Company of the program perform its annual New Plays Series. Well into June, get your tickets early to see several BFA Acting alumni in the popular A Midsummer Night's Dream. Take a look at for more information about both of these events, and to see interviews with Midsummer cast members. A preview story and wonderful video about Midsummer also appears at

For more information about the U of M/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program, visit

March 18, 2008

"The Wiz" rehearsal blog is unveiled

The University Theatre has unveiled its new "rehearsal blog," which allows anyone to get a behind the scenes glimpse of the rehearsal process leading up to our April 11-19 subscriber series production of "The Wiz." Link to the blog and learn more about this musical production — where Oz is turned into a university campus — at

March 13, 2008

Watch the "Peace Crimes Backstage" video documentary

Please take some time to watch "Peace Crimes Backstage," a recent production by Twin Cities Public Television about the Minnesota Eight and how they influenced the world-premiere production of "Peace Crimes." "Peace Crimes" was presented February 22 - March 9 at Rarig Center by the History Theatre and the University of Minnesota Theatre.

Media Mill Video

February 21, 2008

Peace Crimes Press

"Peace Crimes: The Minnesota Eight vs. The War," which previews Thursday and opens on Friday, Feb. 22nd is hot in the press. Read about this exciting collaboration between the University of Minnesota Theatre and History Theatre:

Star Tribune

Minnesota Monthly

City Pages

Minnesota Daily

February 20, 2008

"Peace Crimes Backstage" to air on TPT

Twin Cities Public Television has produced a half-hour backstage special that tells the story of the Minnesota 8, as seen through the eyes of the playwright, director and actors of “Peace Crimes,? as well as through interviews with some of the original participants. The program premieres on Saturday, February 23 at 8:00 pm on TPT Channel 17. Check for additional broadcast times.

December 10, 2007

Michael Sommers wins United States Artists Fellowship

Michael Sommers, an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance and the new Interdisciplinary Program in Collaborative Arts (IPCA), was just named one of 50 fellows for 2007 by United States Artists. Sommers was named along with several notable artists such as Robert Woodruff, Bill T. Jones, and Ann Hamilton, as one of the recipients of a $50,000 unrestricted award.

November 11, 2007

Two Theatre Arts & Dance grads named "Artists on the Verge" in the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Namir Smallwood, a 2006 graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program, and Vanessa Voskuil, a 2001 graduate of the BFA Dance Program, were recently named by the "Minneapolis Star Tribune" as two of eight "Young Artists on the Verge."

Continue reading "Two Theatre Arts & Dance grads named "Artists on the Verge" in the Minneapolis Star Tribune" »

May 23, 2007

U of M theatre faculty shine at OBIE Awards

Lou Bellamy, Department of Theatre Arts and Dance faculty member and director of the Penumbra Theatre, won an Obie Award on May 21st for best direction for his staging of August Wilson's "Two Trains Running."

Continue reading "U of M theatre faculty shine at OBIE Awards" »

April 4, 2007

U of M theatre students take on Fringe Benefits

U of M and area high school students are uniting to end LGBTQ discrimination with the Fringe Benefits theatre project. Learn more here.

Continue reading "U of M theatre students take on Fringe Benefits" »

March 20, 2007

More ACDFA success for U of M Dance

Congratulations to the Dance Majors performing at ACDFA/Regional American College Dance Festival in Milwaukee. BOTH U of M student Emily King’s ‘Better to Have’ and Cowles Guest Artist Uri Sands’ ‘Happy’ were selected by national adjudicators for the final Gala performance. University of Minnesota Dance is proud to represent at the North Central regional conference with dynamic student and faculty/guest artist work.

February 5, 2007

The Xperimental Theatre's Spring Season

The University of Minnesota's Xperiemental Theatre Company has an exciting spring season of theatre entertainment ahead. View their spring season here.

Continue reading "The Xperimental Theatre's Spring Season" »

January 12, 2007

The Master and Margarita named Top 10

Quinton Skinner of City Pages has named "The Master and Margarita" one of his top 10 theatre productions of 2006.

Continue reading "The Master and Margarita named Top 10" »