Nevertheless, She Persists
Nevertheless, She Persists
October 22, 2020
Alumni Circle, University of Central Arkansas
Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment
guaranteeing and protecting a woman’s constitutional right to vote
Sue Schroeder, Artistic Director
in collaboration with
Core Dance Artists: Walter Apps, Joshua Rackliffe, Rose Shields, Benjamin Stevenson, Scott Wheet
Jillian Gregory: Designer and Creator of the Transparent Women Project: Exploring Outdated Aesthetics on the Modern Woman’s Body, including:
1850s Dress modeled by Shalea O'Riley
1880s Dress modeled by Annabelle Dickson
1900s Dress modeled by Taylor Conway
Suffragette Dress modeled by Miriam Phwandaphwanda
1920s Dress modeled by Julia Dabdub
Sharon Louden Visual Artist and a team of undergraduate women art majors from the University of Central Arkansas: Designer(s) and Creators of outdoor sculpture installation, “Suffrage Rugs”
Christian Meyer: Original Sound Score
The Writeous: Ansley Caldwell, Victory Jackson, Tashia Mayo, Jamee McAdoo, Norel McAdoo, Ron McAdoo, Jai Starkey
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
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.
The performances of Nevertheless She Persists took place as part of a 10-day residency with Core Dance at the University of Central Arkansas. Additional activities of the residency included:
Performance of excerpts of Nevertheless She Persists at the Self-Love Conference (virtual) in Little Rock
SPEAK (Why I Vote) workshop with UCA Students
Workshops with Philosophy of Feminism and Meanings of Life classes at UCA
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.
Jillian Gregory is a senior theatre student at the University of Central Arkansas. She has previously worked as a first hand intern at the Arkansas Shakespeare Festival (Conway, AR) in the summer of 2018 and as a stitcher and wardrobe intern at the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre (Logan, UT) in the summer of 2019. She is currently looking to further her educational career after graduation by pursuing a masters degree in costume design and technology. To see more of Jillian’s work and to find more information about this project, please visit Jillian’s online portfolio at www.jillianrgregory.com.
Jillian Gregory is the designer and creator of the Transparent Women Project: Exploring Outdated Aesthetics on the Modern Woman’s Body. This project chronicles the evolution of fashion in the sixty years leading up to the women’s suffrage movement. This project was funded by a $2,500 Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. She was mentored by the Chair of the Department of Film, Theatre, and Creative Writing, Shauna Meador. The Transparent Women Project investigates how women’s clothing between the 1850s and 1920s changed in response to the Women’s Suffrage Movement. She designed and built dresses from the 1850s, 1880s, 1900s, 1910s, and 1920s with specific emphasis on the undergarments worn with these dresses. Through her use of sheer materials, the structure of the undergarments is visible from the outside. By investigating and recreating these garments, Jillian hopes to educate people on how fashion was used to distort and oppress women’s bodies and how the Women’s Suffrage Movement empowered women to take charge of their clothing.
The models for this project are all students at the University of Central Arkansas. They study different disciplines such as professional writing, biology, and theatre. Jillian chose these young women not only because they are strong and empowered women of the 21st century, but also because they are all diverse. Four of the five models are BIPOC, some are members of the LGBT+ community, and they all feature different body types and sizes. This was important because when she was doing research for this project, Jillian found that most of the evidence from these periods only featured slimmer white women. As this does not reflect our current society, Jillian decided to combine these period silhouettes with the modern woman in order to further show the difference in women’s fashion.
The five dresses in this project are examples of the five major silhouettes from this period. The 1850s Romantic era dress features a steel-hooped cage crinoline, commonly known as a hoopskirt, which gives it its notably wide skirt. The corset of this time was meant to create the effect of a slimmer waist. This effect was also achieved by the large skirts and wide shoulders. As we move towards the later half of the 19th century, the fashion moves closer to the body and focuses the excess volume towards the back. This is where the 1880s Bustle dress comes in. This dress also employs a steel-hooped support in the back of the skirt to lift the fabric and create the signature fullness that is seen from this period. The corset still enforces an hourglass figure upon its wearer.
As we move into the 20th century, there is a clear shift towards a specific silhouette. The Edwardian era of the early 1900s features a corset that pushed a woman’s chest forward while forcing her hips back. While there is no steel structure under the skirts, women used padding around the hips to exaggerate this effect more. The next costume that is featured signifies the Suffragette uniform at the peak of the Suffrage Movement in the later 1910s. The corset is much straighter than its predecessors and offered more movement for these pioneering women. The 1920s brings about a drastic change to women’s clothing in response to the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Many women wore half-corsets around their hips, or forwent the garment altogether like the model in this project. The Flapper-style dress is loose-fitting and allowed women to express themselves in a much freer way.
Jillian would like to note that none of her models were tight laced into their corsets. Tight lacing is an impractical practice that was used by few women to drastically modify their body. Corsets were originally designed in order to support a woman’s body as well as the heavy dresses that she wore. The silhouettes that are seen in Transparent Women reflect the silhouettes of these periods while also respecting the modern woman’s body and the beautiful diversity that exists within it.
Sharon M. Louden, New York-based artist, educator, advocate for artists, editor of the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series of books, and the Artistic Director of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY.
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. www.christianmeyermusic.com and www.christianmeyerphotography.com.
In Little Rock in 1999, The Writeous publication and The Writeous Live companion spoken word cds debuted. Created by Stacey McAdoo with assistance from Leron McAdoo, The Writeous was successful in giving writers, musicians and artists a venue. Mrs. McAdoo then reimagined the idea of The Writeous into a collective of creative youth. Now members perform, publish books, record, and conduct workshops. The focus is on spoken word, but it is also a home for all creatives including artists and musicians.
Read their poems here.