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Dance, Theater, and Performance Studies

Organizers Heading link

Christine Dunford, Theater
Lisa A. Freeman, English
Mario LaMothe, Black Studies and Anthropology

This group will offer events that apply a theoretical and critical lens both to the art of theater-making and to the performative practices of everyday life.

April 13, 2022 from 5:30-7:00

Conversation with Two Great Latinx Authors:  

Luis Alfaro (playwright) and Luis Urrea (UIC English)

April 13, 2022 from 5:30-7:00

UIC Recital Hall (ETMSW Building, Room L285), 1040 West Harrison Street

Program sponsored by the Dance, Theater and Performance Studies Working Group, Institute for the Humanities, and the Luis Alfaro Residency Project.

Covid-19 Guidelines:

Event attendees must register to attend, either in advance or at a registration table at the event, in case contact tracing for the event is necessary. UIC community members must show their Daily Pass with a “green” status upon arrival at an event. Non-UIC attendees must be able to answer “no” to the following health-screening questions: 1) Have you been exposed to someone while they were infectious with COVID-19 within the last 5-10 days? 2) Are you experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath? Attendees are required to wear masks at all times at events.

For accessibility or information on the event please contact our box office:

Box Office: 312.996.2939 UIC Theatre, 1044 West Harrison, Chicago, IL 60607

Registration is required at this link:

Thursday, February 24, 2022 from 3:30 – 5 PM (format to be announced)

Thursday, February 24, 2022 from 3:30 – 5 PM (format to be announced)

Reading and Discussion of

The Greek Trilogy of Luis Alfaro: Electricidad; Oedipus El Rey; Mojada (Methuen Drama 2020)

Please mark your calendars! Details about accessing e-book will be posted.

Thursday, April 22, 2021 from 4 – 6 PM, via Zoom

Waiting for Godot and the Racial Theatre of the Absurd

Shane Vogel, Indiana University

Zoom link:

This talk takes the little known 1957 black-cast Broadway production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot as an occasion to explore a deep tradition of an Africana absurd that found an interlocutor in European philosophies of absurdism. While the European absurd developed as a repudiation of Western philosophy and aspired to a universalizing assessment of the human condition, the Africana absurd is situated in the historical formation of racial slavery and its afterlife. More specifically, this Africana absurd is a response to the formal meaninglessness—the incoherencies, paradoxes, and arbitrariness—of Western racial logic, and most often appears in an aesthetic idiom. The 1957 production of Waiting for Godot inaugurated a long line of racial Godots, including the Free Southern Theater’s production that toured across the US South in 1964 and Paul Chan’s 2007 Waiting for Godot in New Orleans. The relationship between blackness and Beckett exemplifies how an Africana theatre of the absurd develops within and against the European theatre of the absurd, toggling between the experience of the human condition and the situatedness of black experience in the New World, ultimately confounding the boundary between these two registers.


Shane Vogel is Ruth N. Halls Professor of English at Indiana University. He is the author of Stolen Time: Black Fad Performance and the Calypso Craze (Chicago, 2018) and The Scene of Harlem Cabaret: Race, Sexuality, Performance (Chicago, 2009). His research has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University. He is co-editor of the Minoritarian Aesthetics series at NYU Press.

Tuesday, February 11, 1-3 pm

Work-in-Progress and Feedback Session

Reading: Mario LaMothe, UIC African-American Studies and Anthropology/”Manbo Ayizan on a New York Stage: Or How Roxane D’Orléans Juste Danced Women’s Movement Intelligence”

(download reading here)

Tuesday, September 17, 1-3 pm

The Dance, Theater, and Performance Studies (DTAPS) Working Group of UIC’s Institute for the Humanities invites you to its inaugural session of a series of reading discussions, workshops, and public presentations, on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 1pm-3 pm. Address:  Lower Level Stevenson Hall, 701 South Morgan Street, Chicago, IL 60607.

This first shared-reading session is open to all interested in dance, theater and performance research, pedagogies, and practices.  We seek to cultivate a generative community at this and future sessions for discussions of questions such as: how do artists transform the world through performance?  how does theater shape and reshape, orient and reorient, our sense of history and human experience? how might everyday practices be viewed as performatives that contribute to the making of everyday realities?  how do dance, drama, and performance act as a lens through which to understand and investigate larger social, cultural, and political events and movements? what role do the fields of dance, theater and performance play in fostering collectivities and in shaping contestatory forms?

We imagine this first gathering to be collaborative and participatory, as, by way of provocation, we discuss the four readings posted to the website and work together to map out future working group sessions.

Our 2019-2020 calendar dates will be:  September 17, November 19, February 11, and April 21, 1pm-3pm.

Christine Dunford
Lisa Freeman
Mario LaMothe


Inside/Beside Dance Studies

McMillan Embodied Avatars Introduction Part 1
McMillan Embodied Avatars Introduction Part 2
McMillan Embodied Avatars Introduction Part 3
McMillan Embodied Avatars Introduction Part 4

Conquergood Performance as Moral Act Part 1
Conquergood Performance as Moral Act Part 2
Conquergood Performance as Moral Act Part 3

Barnette Adapturgy Chapter 3 Part 1
Barnette Adapturgy Chapter 3 Part 2
Barnette Adapturgy Chapter 3 Part 3
Barnette Adapturgy Chapter 3 Part 4

Tuesday, November 19, 1-3 pm

The Dance, Theater and Performance Studies Working Group invites you to join us for our second session of the year. As a follow-up to our first discussion, this second session will be organized around a screening of a performed lecture by Susan Foster, “Kinesthetic Empathies and the Politics of Compassion” and a reading of her essay, “Textual Evidances.” We will continue our discussion of how dance, drama, and performance act as a lens through which to understand and investigate larger social, cultural, and political events and movements and extend that discussion to a consideration of how histories of dance, drama, and performance come to be shaped.

Susan Foster’s article, “Textual Evidances” in Representing the Past: Essays in Performance Historiography, eds. Charlotte Canning and Thomas Postlewait (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2010), 333-350, can be found on the working group website.

November 23, 2020, 4:30 pm to 6 pm

Chicago Theater in the Time of Pandemics

November 23, 2020, 4:30 pm to 6 pm CST, via Zoom 

Register in advance for this meeting  (click to register)

Five Chicago theater practitioners and scholars lead a dialogue on the impact of the current intersecting  pandemics on their craft and Chicago Theatre’s strategies for bridging its past, to its present and future. The session bring our invited panelists into conversation with interested participants in order to pursue the following questions:

  • What pandemic threat(s) is the Chicago theatre community facing today? What is at stake? For whom?
  • How is the theatre community in Chicago responding to these threats? Are these responses positive? Negative? Mixed?
  • What lessons are we learning?
  • Are there intersections between COVID-19 responses and innovations and racial justice initiatives across theatres and theatre companies/audiences?
  • Where will Chicago Theatre be a year or two or three from now? Is the future positive? Negative? Mixed?


  •       Coya Paz Brownrigg and Chloe Johnston (co-authors of Ensemble-Made Chicago: A Guide to Devised Theater)
  •       Quenna Lené Barrett (The Goodman Theater)
  •   Nina D’Angier (Prop Thtr, Pop Magic Productions and The Plagiarists)

·   Jorge Silva (The Neo-Futurists)