Contemporary PerforMemory

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Contemporary PerforMemory: Dancing Through Spacetime, Historical Trauma, and Diaspora in the 21st Century

Book Info

COMING UP: Book Launch on TUE MARCH 16, 2021 @ 2.15PM

Book Cover for Contemporary PerforMemory

This event will be held online via Zoom. To receive the link, please register here.

Book Summary

Contemporary PerforMemory looks at dance works created in the 21st century by choreographers identifying as Afro-European, Jewish, Black, Palestinian, and Taiwanese-Chinese-American. It explores how contemporary dance-makers engage with historical traumas to reimagine how the past is remembered and how the future is anticipated. The new idea of perforMemory arises within a lively blend of interdisciplinary theory, personal storytelling, performance analysis, and insightful interviews with seven international artists. Scholar and artist Layla Zami traces unexpected pathways, inviting the reader to move gracefully across disciplines, geographies, and histories.

Book links


Print: ISBN 978-3-8376-5525-4
E-Book: ISBN 978-3-8394-5525-8

Book Launch

Event Description: Academic/Artist Talk, Short Film & Conversation

TUESDAY MARCH 16, 2021 @ 2.15PM (ON ZOOM) To receive the link, please register here.

Dr. Layla Zami presents her new interdisciplinary publication Contemporary PerforMemory: Dancing Through Spacetime, Historical Trauma, and Diaspora in the 21st Century. She will be joined by two graceful and spiritful artists discussed in the book: Oxana Chi and Wan-Chao Chang. Dr. Nadine George-Graves will offer her insightful moderation to the conversation. Join us on this journey at the intersection of performance, art history, migration, and memory, from Berlin to Brooklyn, by way of Taipei, Lagos, and Paris! The event includes a talk, a short dance film, and a conversation with the possibility for the virtual audience to ask questions.

Event Co-Sponsors at Pratt Institute: Academic Senate (Academic Initiatives Fund), Humanities and Media Studies, History of Art & Design
Organized in partnership with: Ohio State University, Dance Department, "Community Conversation" series
Communication Partner: International Human Rights Art Festival


Dr. Layla Zami (Book Author)

Dr. Layla Zami is Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, where she teaches in the fields of humanities, art history, and performance studies. She is a former Co-Chair of Black Lives Matter Pratt. With this research, Zami obtained a PhD in Transdisciplinary Gender Studies from Humboldt-University in Berlin, where she was also awarded the First Prize in the Faculty Teaching Quality (Fakultätspreis für gute Lehre). She was a Doctoral Fellow with ELES and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and she co-chaired the international symposium-festival Moving Memory. Zami graduated from Sciences Po Paris, and studied Classical Saxophone and New Music at the Conservatory of Music in Le Mans, as well as jazz with Fuasi Abdul-Khaliq and Parageet. Her greatest blessing is to be an Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence with Oxana Chi Dance & Art since 2010, soulfully accompanying the dance with music, spoken words, and physical theater around the globe.

Oxana Chi (Guest Artist)

Oxana Chi is a German-Nigerian choreographer, dancer, filmmaker, curator, author, and trendsetter based in Brooklyn, NY. She is Co-Curator of Dance at the International Human Rights Art Festival. As the Founder and Artistic Director of Oxana Chi Dance & Art since 1991, she has produced 18 performances including two commissioned works for the Humboldt-University, Berlin. She was listed in the “A to Z of People Who Power The Dance World” (The Dance Enthusiast, NYC, 2018). Awards and honors include an Abrons Arts Center's AIRspace Grant for Performing Artists and the title of Ambassador of Peace (DOSHIMA, Jakarta, 2016). She was a Keynote performer at the Black German Heritage & Research Association Conference (University of Toronto, 2018) and performed in venues such as Volksbühne Berlin, Jack Crystal Theater at NYU, and NCUI Auditorium & Convention Centre New Delhi.

Wan-Chao Chang (Guest Artist)

Wan-Chao Chang is the founder of the ethno-contemporary project Wan-Chao Dance, that aims to create contemporary works rooted in traditional dance forms. Her choreographies have been presented internationally in venues such as the British Museum in London and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She was nominated for Outstanding Choreography by the Isadora Duncan Dance Award (Izzies) in 2011. She also has performed with Ballet Afsaneh, San Francisco Chinese Folk Music and Dance Association, and Westwind International Folk Ensemble, which she directed in 2001-2002. She moved from Taipei to San Francisco in 1995, where she graduated in Dance Ethnology (B.A.) and Interdisciplinary Arts (M.A.) from San Francisco State University (SFSU). She also holds a Bachelor degree in Management from Feng Chia University in Taiwan.

Dr. Nadine George-Graves (Moderator)

Dr. Nadine George-Graves is Chair of Dance, Professor of Dance, and Professor of Theater at the Ohio State University. She joined OSU after teaching for over 20 years at University of California, San Diego and Yale University. She is a past-president of the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD), and the new editor of the Dance Research Journal. Dr. George-Graves authored several inspiring books and numerous articles on African American performance, and is the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater. She is also a director, dramaturg, adapter, and dance theatre maker, and her creative work is part and parcel of her research. Recent projects include Architectura, a dance theatre piece about the ways we build our lives and Sugar, a digital humanities project at the nexus of creativity and scholarship.

Pratt HAD