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Dance News

Arts Institute hosting Wray as spring 2018 interdisciplinary artist in residence

February 14, 2018

UW-Madison's Arts Institute welcomes Sheron Wray as the spring 2018 interdisciplinary artist in residence.

Wray’s residency is hosted by the School of Education's Art Department, with co-sponsoring Departments of Art History, Dance, Afro-American Studies and African Cultural Studies. The faculty lead is Associate Professor Faisal Abdu’Allah of the Art Department.

The UW–Madison Arts Institute’s Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Program brings innovative artists to campus to teach semester-long, interdepartmental courses and to publicly present their work for campus and community audiences.

Sheron WrayDr. Sheron ‘Ama’ Wray self-titles as a “Performance Architect,” and has developed a theory and practice called Embodiology, a neo-African approach to contemporary dance improvisation. She is an improviser, choreographer, director, teacher and scholar. Her 2012 TED talk articulates its distinctions and philosophy. Currently, her improvisation practice is extending into clinical research with University of California, Irvine Medical Center, by using her dance improvisation methods as a form of therapy for patients who suffer from chronic diseases.

Additionally, she utilized her improvisation skills to inform the vision for a new interdisciplinary research institute, AICRE – Africana Institute for Creativity, Recognition and Elevation, which aims to create a dynamic exchange of cultural, scientific, economic and spiritual knowledge between local communities and academia to positively impact the next generation, so that people of African descent can equitably contribute towards a more sustainable society and command respect worldwide.

During her residency at UW–Madison, Wray will teach “The Art of Improvisation: From Phronesis to the Production of Practical Knowledge.” The course will reveal how to discern and apply African improvisation methodologies to enable innovative interdisciplinary collaborations, while also showing how to tap into personal creativity. Students are expected to form an active and integrated web-based community to facilitate group research and sharing of resources. The class will combine practice-based workshops, interdisciplinary guest lectures, fieldwork, journaling and site-specific happenings and performance. The residency will explore decolonizing aesthesis through African knowledge, enabling analysis of its intersectionality with our national and global identities through participatory action research, sensory investigation, rhythmic embodiment and production.

Wray will incorporate the Art of Improvisation technique, Embodiology, which provides opportunities for participants to enter into improvisation through dance, visual art, neuroscience, specific African and Asian cultures, theatre and technology. International guest artists Mojisola Adebayo (UK), Fleeta Chew Siegel (UK/USA) and Daniel Kodzo Avorgbedor (Ghana) will engage with students and participate in lectures and/or symposiums. The semester will culminate in a final student performance that is free and open to the public.


Public Events | go.wisc.edu/wray
All the events are free and take place in Madison, Wisconsin unless noted otherwise. Events are subject to change and more events may take place during the semester. Please see website for more details.

Wednesday, Feb. 21 | 5:00-6:15 p.m.
Artist Talk with Mojisola Adebayo
A presentation on “The Afriquia Theatre of Mojisola Adebayo: a retrospective on performance collaborations and a look to future productions with Dr. Sheron Wray”
Art Department Visiting Artist Colloquium
L160 Elvehjem Building | 800 University Ave.

Wednesday, March 14 | 5:00-6:15 p.m.
Artist talk with Fleeta Chew Siegel
“Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Art of Improvisation: 'From Planned Opportunities to Continual Uncertainty'”
Art Department Visiting Artist Colloquium
L160 Elvehjem Building | 800 University Ave.

Friday, March 16 | 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Artist Talk with Fleeta Chew Siegel
Dance Department Friday Forum
Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space, Lathrop Hall | 1050 University Ave. 

Friday, May 4
Final Performance Event
Gallery Night
Location TBD

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