Nevertheless, She Persists was a new performance from Core Dance advocating for the dignity, intelligence, and potential of women everywhere. Six artworks from the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art’s collection prompted the approach, asking viewers to look again at the depictions of women from the nineteenth through late twentieth centuries—representations of women both prior to and following the passage of the 19th Amendment.
Sue Schroeder, Artistic Director of Core Dance directed the performance work, in collaboration with Core Dance Artists and Berlin-based composer, Christian Meyer. Utilizing Schroeder’s long history and practice with embodying visual art through movement/dance, Nevertheless, She Persists invites the audience to be participatory rather than passive -- empowering them through the physicality of the performance to better understand and connect with the meaning and impact of the visual art experience and to be “moved” by it.
As part of the University of Central Arkansas’ Suffrage Centennial project, live performances, with limited seating, were open to the public on October 22nd at the Alumni Circle at UCA. The production included spoken word by The Writeous Poets and “Transparent Fashions” by theatre student Jillian Gregory.
On November 9th, at 6 p.m. CST / 7 p.m. EST, there was the full virtual performance and Q&A session with Crystal Bridges. Over Zoom, the program began with an introduction given by Sue Schroeder and Mindy Besaw, Crystal Bridges Curator, American Art and Director of Fellowships and Research. The pre-recorded performance showed the artwork that inspired the movement and was filmed inside the art museum.
Following the viewing of the performance, guests had the opportunity for Q&A to learn more about the rich context behind this performance commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment.
Regarding the performance, Schroeder stated, “Always mindful of the visual artist’s intention, I strive to emulate through movement, embodied movement, the multilayered aspects of the exhibition by researching the processes of the artists, and/or that of the curators, and then placing myself into their process, rather than simply “commenting” on the art itself. I am most inspired in the messy and uncertain area that blurs the lines which traditionally separate art, music, theatre, and dance. It takes a curious, willing, open, and courageous producer, audience, and ensemble of movement researchers to see the magic that happens when the arts overflow their boundaries.”
Featured art works for Nevertheless, She Persists include:
Gari Melshers, The Embroideress [Portrait of Mrs. Hitchcock)
William Merrit Chase, The Song, 1907
George Bellows, Two Women, 1924
John Anansa Thomas Biggers, Victim of the City Streets #2, 1946
Wayne Thiebaud, Supine Woman, 1963,
Tom Wesselmann , Smoker #9, 1973,