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.

September 14, 2011


REMEMBERING 9/11: A Performance and Community Dialogue brought together students and faculty from across the university campus to consider how we choose to remember the tenth anniversary of September 11th. This unique production, devised and created by both dance and theatre majors, was directed by two graduate students Mike Mellas and Elliot Leffler, who moderated an engaging and thought-provoking discussion with the audience following the performance. For more details click on Minnesota Daily's news story "The Power of Memory" by Sarah Harper.

March 9, 2009

BFA Grads Finding Success on the New York Stage

BFA Actor Training Program grads are getting rave reviews in the NYC-based Acting Company's production of Henry V, which tour started at the Guthrie Theater. It features Matt Amendt (BFA Class 2004) as the title character, with 11 other performers, including graduates Will Sturdivant (BFA Class of 2005) and Sam Taylor (BFA Class of 2006), playing more than 55 other roles.

Below are the list of reviews for more detailed information:

A Bang-Up Take on the Bard
By Frank Scheck, New York Post

Henry V
By David Finkle,

Henry V
by Sam Thielman, Variety

The King, All Grown Up and Ready to Wage Battle
By Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

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.


June 29, 2006

Professor Lou Bellamy named 2006 McKnight Distinguished Artist

Every year, more than 40,000 people are moved and challenged by the thoughtful work of Penumbra Theatre Company in St. Paul, Minnesota. The McKnight Foundation has named Lou Bellamy, Penumbra's artistic director and University of Minnesota theatre professor, as the 2006 McKnight Distinguished Artist, in recognition of artistic excellence spanning three decades as a producer and director at the nation's preeminent African American theater. The annual award includes a $40,000 cash prize, and recognizes individual Minnesota artists who have made significant contributions to the quality of the state's cultural life.

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