2017 Configurations in Montreal


Configurations in Montreal: 

Performance Curation and Communities of Colour 

(Montreal, QC – May 10, 2017) –Canadian and American performance curators, artists, and scholars will gather in Montreal June 1 and 2, 2017 to share work, develop resources, and build strategies for supporting performance in, for and by Black, Indigenous and communities of colour in Canada and the United States.

Convened by the department of Art Education at Concordia University, in collaboration with the University of Toronto and the Institute for Dance Studies, SLIPPAGE:Performance|Culture| Technology, and Duke University, the event has been curated by Dr. Thomas F. DeFrantz (Chair of African and African American Studies and Professor of Dance and Theater Studies at Duke University); and Dr. Seika Boye (Lecturer at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and Director of the Institute for Dance Studies at the University of the Toronto), to explore topics that impact communities of colour.

This public event includes morning statements from presenters, with live translation in French and English, and public discussion, as well as an afternoon long-table on June 1st. A talk by Dr. Thomas F. DeFrantz, entitled “Dancing the Museum,” will take place in association with DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art on June 2nd, 6:00 pm at Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts.

All events are wheel-chair accessible, free and open to the public; a full schedule with guest bios follows. Speakers include: Dr. Seika Boye, Dr. Dasha A. Chapman, Dr. Thomas F. DeFrantz, Rhodnie Désir, Christine Sokaymoh Frederick, Dr. Jane Gabriels, Alan Harrington, Rasu Jilani, Dr. Nicole Martin, Soraya Peerbaye, Joyce Rosario,Vivine Scarlett, Nikki Shaffeeullah, Tara Aisha Willis.

The gathering in Montreal builds on two previous iterations of Configurations in Motion: Performance Curation and Communities of Color first convened at Duke University in June 2015 and then again July 2016. Produced by Dr. Thomas F. DeFrantz with Montreal-based curator Dr. Jane Gabriels and post-doctorate fellow Dr. Dasha Chapman, Configurations involved approximately 15-20 curators, artists, scholars, presenters, and funders each year, and resulted in a self-published booklet of essays (2015 and forthcoming 2017).

Configurations in Montreal is part of a year-long series of events focused on critical dance studies and funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), in partnership with Duke University and University of Toronto. Collectively, these events aim to mobilize knowledge, foster critical dialogue, and bring heightened awareness of dance research in the academic setting. Project collaborators: MJ Thompson (Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies and Practice Art Education, Concordia University), Jane Gabriels (Independent Curator, Ph.D.), David Rose (BFA candidate, Studio Arts).

Presented with generous support from the following: Art Education Department, Concordia University; Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture, Concordia University; Office of the Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University; SSHRC/CRSH, SLIPPAGE:Performance|Culture|Technology, Duke University, and the University of Toronto (Institute for Dance Studies and Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies), in addition to DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, Pepatián, and International Community for Performing Arts Curators (CICA-ICAC).

Media contacts: Jane Gabriels: janejane7777@gmail.com | Andy Murdoch: andy.murdoch@concordia.ca | MJ Thompson: mj.thompson@concordia.ca


SCHEDULE, June 1 & 2 

Configurations in Montreal: Performance Curation and Communities of Colour

June 1st

9:00am-2:00pm – Speakers

York Amphitheater, Concordia University

EV 1.615 (1st floor), EV building, 1515 St. Catherine West (between Guy &  Mackay)

Opportunity for public discussion; simultaneous translation provided.

4:00pm-6:00pm – Long Table on issues of performance curation and communities of colour

Seminar Room, Concordia University 

EV 3.760 (3rd floor), EV building, 1515 St. Catherine West

Opportunity for public engagement and opportunities for discussion 

Informal translation providedpublicaddresssystems.org/projects/long-table/

June 2nd

6:00pm-7:00pm Talk by Thomas F. DeFrantz, “Dancing the Museum” 

7:00pm-7:30pm Q&A moderated by Cheryl Sim Ph.D., Managing Director and Curator at DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art

Open to public, French translation of talk available on-site

Musee des Beaux Arts

Maxwell-Cummings Auditorium, 1379 Sherbrooke West (btwn Ave de Musee and Rue Redpath)

“Dancing the Museum”

This talk explores the ways that dance in the museum shifts across generations of theatrical dance practice to land, uneasily, in concert with the curator’s craft.  We will consider the embodied assumptions that surround the designations of dance across historical eras, and the ways in which these types of dance exceed or conform to possibilities of museum spaces. We will wonder at the gulf between the capacious physicality of dance practice, and the cultural capital afforded to museums that inevitably encourages choreographers to work in these rarefied sites.  We will attempt to account for some of the ethical dimensions of dancing the museum for artists, even when the conditions of performance are far from ideal. The talk also considers the recent shifts in theoretical language affiliated with certain modes of dance production, and the exclusivity that academic language can create around very public practices of dance and performance. It also contends that theoretical language allows for transitions to museum curation of dance performance, whether that performance arrives fundamentally prepared for the spaces of the museums.