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Founded in 1987, Robin Becker Dance is dedicated to creating work that honors the innate wisdom of the body and its connection to the universal consciousness we share as human beings. The Company seeks to increase and enhance the quality of cultural experiences available to the community at large through performances, interdisciplinary workshops, lecture demonstrations, and movement training sessions.
In the Spring of 2011 Robin Becker Dance, working in collaboration with the Cultural Center at Hofstra University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will present Into Sunlight, a new evening length work, as the centerpiece of an interdisciplinary symposium, Into Sunlight: The Impact of War on the Social Body. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Maraniss’ remarkable book, "They Marched Into Sunlight," a cultural history of war and protest set in 1967, provided the impetus for choreographer Robin Becker’s conception of the dance, leading to a broader inquiry into the essential position of the body in self and cultural definition, and the social trauma enacted through war. The symposium has been built on that ground, with explorations of the impact of war and violence on the social body from a variety of social and cultural perspectives.
"They Marched Into Sunlight" examines the tumultuous shifting of cultural perspective centered around events in October, 1967. It weaves together stories of death and heroism in battle in Vietnam with growing social and political unrest on the home front. The violence of war is mirrored through protests that turn violent on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. These events illustrate how the violence of war is embodied in cultural action, and creates a structure of cultural disassociation. The message inspired from events in 1967 is equally meaningful to the contemporary public, who struggle to understand their connection to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan today. The symposium addresses themes of cultural embodiment, the impact of war and violence, and the integrative power of art from a variety of perspectives. The dance will provide a unifying process of reconciliation for those who experience the trauma of battle and for a culture engaged in its own inner battle.
The goal of the symposium and dance is to bring together diverse perspectives to engage both a public and university audience in active dialogue on the subject of embodiment, and to address current cultural conditions of war through an historical lens. The further goal is to open up consideration of how war and violence shape our experience, transforming us physically, mentally and emotionally.
At both Hofstra University and the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Maraniss will lead discussions with journalists and scholars from a variety of disciplines, using the lens of the Vietnam era to focus an understanding of our current experience, and investigating the role of embodiment in our social condition. Ms. Becker’s dance provides a focal point and palpable connection to the themes and ideas raised. Work on stage and in panel discussions will be connected to exhibits of art and photography exploring the reverberations of war on society. The symposium will include a collection of meetings, performances, discussions and exhibits drawn from as diverse a field of disciplines as possible, with contributions from History, Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology, Science and the Arts.
We are thrilled and inspired by the potential of Into Sunlight, and ready to begin what we believe will be an extraordinary and ongoing exploration of these vital concerns in our society.
- Robin Becker
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