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Nevertheless, She Persists:

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Nevertheless, She Persists

Filmed at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Premiers November 9, 2020. 

Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing and protecting a woman’s constitutional right to vote

Presented virtually over Zoom, the premiere performance of Nevertheless, She Persists, was presented in collaboration with Core Dance and University of Central Arkansas. The program began with an introduction given by Artistic Director of Core Dance Sue Schroeder, and Crystal Bridges Curator, American Art and Director of Fellowships and Research Mindy Besaw. Following the viewing of this pre-recorded performance, guests tuning in had the opportunity for a Q&A to learn more about the rich context behind this performance commemorating the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth (19th) Amendment.


Sue Schroeder, Artistic Director
in collaboration with

  • Core Dance Artists: Walter Apps, Joshua Rackliffe, Rose Shields, Benjamin Stevenson, Scott Wheet

  • Christian Meyer: Original Sound Score

  • Ronald Llewellyn Jones: Cinematographer & Video Editor

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The dance/movement impulse for Nevertheless, She Persists has its origin in six works of art from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art collection selected for their representation of the female image both prior to and following the passage of the 19th Amendment, heightening the sequestered role and the long journey advocating for the dignity, intelligence, and basic human potential of the female sex. 
Featured art works for Nevertheless, She Persists include:

  • Gari Melshers (1860-1932), The Embroideress [Portrait of Mrs. Hitchcock)

  • William Merrit Chase (1849-1916), The Song, 1907

  • George Bellows (1882 - 1925), Two Women, 1924

  • John Anansa Thomas Biggers (1924 - 2001), Victim of the City Streets #2, 1946

  • Wayne Thiebaud (born 1920), Supine Woman, 1963

  • Tom Wesselmann (1931 - 2004), Smoker #9, 1973

The performance deeply illuminates and questions the politicizing of women, echoing the trace(s) of a moment frozen in time within the visual art while offering a live echo/resonance of the unseen, though powerful and impactful, actions and images within the performance.  

This performance of Nevertheless She Persists was filmed within the Galleries of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art for airing in November.

The Creators

In over 40 years of work in the arts, Sue Schroeder has created more than 110 original dance works for theaters, museums, green spaces, architectural works, and water environments. Her work has appeared throughout the United States, as well as Mexico, Israel, France, Germany, Poland, Georgia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Iceland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, Guatemala, and Hungary. Schroeder’s multidisciplinary vision has led to collaborations with major voices in dance, music, spoken word, visual arts and design.
Additionally, Schroeder is recognized as a leading Arts Activist and Mentor and the Founding Artistic Director of Core Dance. As a contemporary artist and Dance Maker, Schroeder focuses on the creative process, movement research & exploration, and dance-making as a catalyst for social change.
Under the umbrella of Core Dance, Schroeder facilitated the creation of DanceATL, a dance service organization that nurtures and promotes dance as a vibrant part of Atlanta’s arts ecosystem. DanceATL connects artists to resources, grows and engages audiences in the city, and supports the full range of the industry by cultivating an awareness and appreciation of dance that is sustainable and expansive.
Schroeder holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston and earned her Master of Fine Arts in Theater Arts with a dance and anthropology concentration from the University of Arizona at Tucson. Educated under dance greats Bill Evans, Hanya Holm, Oliver Kostock, Anna Halprin, Isa Bergsohn and John M. Wilson, she holds certifications throughout the U.S. as a Teaching Artist and is a founding member of the Teacher Training Institute (TTI), a training program established to develop best practices to teach dance and kinetic learning in community-based settings.


Core Dance Artists

Born and raised in Detroit MI, Walter Apps started his dance training at the age of 4. He received his BFA from Point Park University in 2016. Immediately after graduating, he worked with Texture Contemporary Ballet. Walter moved to New York to work with Yin Yue, Rubén Graciani, and Patrick O’Brien. He has had the privilege to perform works by Aszure Barton, Septime Weber, Lar Lubovitch, MADBOOTS, and Ohad Naharin to name some. Along side his dancing career, Walter has choreographed, directed, photographed, and filmed works of his own. Most recently, “Water We”, a work-in-progress take on water consumption premiered in Atlanta at the Excuse The Art festival in 2020. Walter is currently a Dance Artist with Core Dance based in Atlanta, GA. He also likes to learn new things, like coding.

Rose Shields received her BFA in Dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2007. Hailing from Duluth, GA, Rose developed her love for dancing under the tutelage of Peter Garick at the Duluth School of Ballet and then with Danita Emma, Clay McCloud, and Michael Garrison at North Atlanta Dance Academy. Rose has performed throughout the Southeast with UNCSA's multidisciplinary outreach program Open Dream Ensemble. and has had the privilege to dance with Bubba Carr, T. Lang, Serenbe Playhouse, and Brooks & Company Dance, as well as to teach dance with Good Moves. She was featured in ArtsATL as one of 30 Under 30 creatives in Atlanta. In 2010, Rose was welcomed into Atlanta's circus community where she found her love for aerial dance and acrobatics. She currently performs acrobatics and aerial as a freelancer with varying local groups. Rose is grateful and excited to be dancing and choreographing with Core Dance ​for a 9th season. Outside of her dance and circus work, Rose loves exploring outdoors, climbing, figure skating, supporting the local arts community, and spending time with family.

Benji Stevenson (they/them) is an activist, artist, and poet from rural Alabama. They attended Emory University, where they received their B.A in Political Science and Arabic. Here, they began their training in Ballet and Modern Dance at 18. In addition to their primary studies, they maintained an active presence in both the Dance and Creative Writing programs. After graduating, they began cultivating their ideas into movement and choreography to facilitate relevant dialogues on identity and interpersonal relationships. Currently, Benji resides in Atlanta where they work with Okwae Miller & Artists and create their own original work. Benji has worked and studied with other artists such as Anicka Austin, Bella Dorado, George Staib, Greg Catellier, Jillian Mitchell, John McFall, Jonathan Campbell, Kathleen Wessel, Noelle Kayser, Niv Sheinfeld, Oren Laor, and Sidra Bell. This is their 2nd season with Core Dance. They additionally serve as the company's social media coordinator and board representative.

 Joshua Rackliffe is a movement artist from Mableton, GA. He studied Dance and Theater at Columbia College Chicago, and relocated to Atlanta after graduating in 2012. Shortly after returning to the South he became a Dance Artist at Core Dance, and has been with the company ever since. Working with Core Dance has allowed Joshua to develop his artistic voice and create meaningful relationships with artists locally and abroad. When not in the studio with Core Dance, Joshua lives his life as a cabaret entertainer, under the alter-ego "Brigitte Bidet".

Scott Wheet, born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, began dancing at the age of 17. In 2015, Scott graduated summa cum laude from Troy University with a BFA in Dance. On his journey from academia to present, Scott has studied with Kristin O’Neal, Dominique Angel, Kyle Abraham, Tracy Gilland, Claudia Lavista, Jen Nugent, Robbie Cook, and many others. Since graduating and moving to Atlanta, Scott has performed with T. Lang Dance, Staibdance, Fly on a Wall and is currently working with Sue Schroeder / Core Dance as a full time dance artist. In addition to being a board representative, Scott stepped into the Production Manager role in 2019; this will be his 5th concurrent season with Core Dance.

Amanda K. Miller (Core Dance Artists’ Relations) was the founder, Artistic Director, and choreographer of Pretty Ugly Dance Company from 1992 till 2009. Pretty Ugly toured internationally and won an array of awards and acclaim for unique artistic and social collaborations. From 1984 to 1992 she was a founding member, principal dancer and resident choreographer of Ballett Frankfurt under the direction of William Forsythe. 2009 she returned to her home NC and began instructing and choreographing at universities and institutions nationally and internationally. She continues to create, instruct, perform, choreograph, collaborate and work with expressive art projects that support disadvantaged children and young adults. In 2017 she received her MFA from Hollins University.



Christian Meyer is a Berlin-based composer / musician / photographer. He is a prize winning creator pf scores for movies, commercials, dance-theatre, concerts and performances. He also builds sound installations and photography exhibitions. and

Ronald Llewellyn Jones is an interdisciplinary artist based in Houston, Texas. Jones’ artwork explores barriers between artists and audiences, as well as individuals and their communities by challenging their respective perceptions as it relates to access and agency within normative societal structures. 

Mindy Besaw came to Crystal Bridges in 2014 from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Whitney Western Art Museum, where she served as curator and spearheaded the new installation of the Whitney for its 50th anniversary. Besaw is the co-curator of Painted Journeys: The Art of John Mix Stanley, the first examination of Stanley as an important 19th-century American artist. Prior to that, Besaw was at the Denver Art Museum, where she was curatorial associate at the Institute of Western American Art and planned the re-installation of the permanent collection galleries in the new wing of the museum. She has written and lectured on a variety of artists, covering 19th-to 21st-century America, and recently collaborated on a partnership with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta for the exhibition and publication: Art of the American Frontier, based on the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s collections.Besaw earned her master’s degree in art history at the University of Denver where she focused on museum studies, and her bachelor’s degree in art history at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Besaw has a PhD in American Art History from the University of Kansas.

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