‘Reperformance’ symposium Sept. 13-15

Experts from dance, theater, visual arts and performance studies discuss restaging live works

Eleanor Antin, The King, from The King of Solana Beach (1974). Mannequin wearing original costume consisting of bush hat, fake hair and beard, wool cape, silk blouse, blue jeans, boots, and walking stick. University purchase, Art Acquisition Fund and Charles H. Yalem Art Fund, 2000.

How do you recreate a live event?

It’s a pressing question in many fields, as scholars, historians and arts institutions struggle to archive and preserve choreography, performances, installations and other works that, by their nature, can be fleeting.

Antony Tudor in Gala Performance, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1941. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection.

On Sept. 13-15, Washington University in St. Louis will present “Reperformance,” an interdisciplinary symposium exploring the means, methods and difficulties of restaging live work. Events will include lectures and panel discussions — as well as sample performances — by a handful of prominent artists and scholars.

“The deliberate re-creation of past performances has rather suddenly become a hot issue in the worlds of theater, modern dance and contemporary art,” says Pannill Camp, assistant professor in the Performing Arts Department (PAD) in Arts & Sciences.

“There is a growing body of scholarship on the issue, but no one has yet brought experts together from across the broad spectrum of performance to examine the theoretical problems that bind these concerns together,” adds Camp, who organized the conference with Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal, professor of the practice in dance.

“We’re going to do just that.”

Conversations with Stalin

The symposium will begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, with Conversations with Stalin, a reading/performance by acclaimed artist Eleanor Antin.

In the 1960s and ’70s, Antin was among the first contemporary artists to combine autobiography, confession and performance, dramatizing personal and political narratives through an imaginary theatre of alternative personae and mythological characters — the King, the Ballerina, the Nurse. In 2000, WUSTL’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum presented a major retrospective of her work.

In Conversations with Stalin — also the title of her recent memoir — Antin chronicles her own dysfunctional immigrant family in Cold War-era New York, as well as her desperate, and often hilarious, quests for art, self, revolution and sex; and her strange relationship with Stalin himself, who comes to serve as an imaginary confidant.

Additional events

A screenshot from Posse Comitatus by Mark Tribe and Chelsea Knight.

Featured artists Mark Tribe and Chelsea Knight will work with WUSTL’s Cecil Slaughter, senior lecturer in dance, and members of his company, The Slaughter Project, to reenact scenes from Posse Comitatus, their video-in-process, at 12:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14.

At 5:30 p.m., James Jordan, répétiteur for the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust and a former principal dancer with the Kansas City Ballet, will restage Dark Elegies (1937), Tudor’s classic modern ballet.

Featured speakers will include Judith Chazin-Bennahum, an author and historian who worked with Tudor as principal soloist for the Metropolitan Opera Ballet (Sept. 14); Rebecca Schneider, chair of theatre and performance studies at Brown University (Sept. 15); and Paul Menzer, who directs the Shakespeare and Performance program at Mary Baldwin College (Sept. 15).

Details and sponsors

All events are free and open to the public. Performances take place in the Annelise Mertz Dance Studio, Mallinckrodt Center, main level. Lectures and discussions take place in the Ann W. Olin Women’s Building Formal Lounge.

For a complete schedule, visit http://pages.wustl.edu/reperformance2012 or call (314) 935-5858.

“Reperformance” is hosted by the PAD and co-sponsored by the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. Antin’s performance is presented in conjunction with the Sam Fox School’s Multiple Feminisms Lecture Series.