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Life Interrupted

Engaging the public through art, music & contemporary dance.

Life Interrupted: Sharing Our Learning and Passion

Life Interrupted, which was previously titled Gaman, is a richly-layered, full-length work of contemporary dance, art, and music that draws from the experiences of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent who were interned on American soil during World War II. While rooted in this specific story, the work ultimately creates a universal experience from historical events. The story has deep resonance for what is happening today across the globe with post-war emigration and the xenophobia that erupts in response.

Core Dance is committed to meaningfully engaging with the public in the communities where we perform. We hope to encourage discussion and raise awareness about issues including the direct experience of the Japanese-Americans during WWII and, more generally, topics that are contemporary such as the politics of the “other” and social change through art-making; these activities are all developed in collaboration with our presenters to address their community’s needs and interests.

The Creative Team

​The Life Interrupted project was initiated by Sue Schroeder, Artistic Director of Core Dance, and Dr. Gayle Seymour, professor of Art History and Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Central Arkansas, Conway. Schroeder’s collaborators include: Nancy Chikaraishi, professor of architecture, Drury University, visual art; Scott Silvey, set design; German composer Christian Meyer, sound design; Gregory Catellier, light design; D. Patton White, Company Manager, Core Dance, costume design; and Erin Weller Dalton, Dramaturg. White also served as Community Engagement Facilitator.​

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The Funding Team

The 2015 creation and touring of Life Interrupted was funded in part by grants from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese-American Confinement Sites Grant Program; The Pattillo Foundation; the O Fund for New Work; Alternate ROOTS; and Goethe-Zentrum Atlanta.
The September 2015 performance in Houston was funded in part by the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board. The Holocaust Museum Houston was a community partner for that Life Interrupted residency.

The November 2015 performances and the residency activities in Arkansas were made possible by the University of Central Arkansas Artist in Residence program, Reynolds Performance Hall, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arkansas Arts Council, and foundations, corporations, and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center, Conway Public Schools, Hendrix College, McGehee Public Schools, and the World War II Japanese-American Internment Museum were community partners for the tour and residency activities in Arkansas. Lodging in Conway was provided, in part, by Comfort Inn and Suites, and Fairfield Inn and Suites. Lodging in Bentonville was provided by Simmons Suites.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of our funding partner, the U.S. Department of the Interior.


Enrichment Activities & Study Guide
Contextual and historical information about the internment of Japanese-American citizens A
Contextual and historical information about the internment of Japanese-American citizens B
Complete List of Arkansas Residency Activities


​​Two minutes of excerpts from Life Interrupted
Nine minutes of interviews and excerpts from Life Interrupted
20 minutes on the creation, context, and tour of Life Interrupted


Photos of Nancy Chikaraishi’s art work as it was incorporated into the stage design and lobby exhibitions at the performances of Life Interrupted 

Thank You to Our Partners

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