Education Outside the Classroom: Diversity in Performance Art

  • February 4th, 2021
"Stop Kiss" playwright Diana Son
“Stop Kiss” playwright Diana Son

Art in any form is a creative expression of the artist birthed from their thoughts, feelings, experiences and culture. So, it’s always unique.

To expose students to a diversity of creative expression outside of the core curriculum, theatre instructor Dr. Misha Hadar and dance assistant professor Lyndell McDonald organized “Performing Perspectives,” a series of conversations on the world of performing arts held virtually every other Monday.

“There’s really only so much that can be covered with the curriculum for theatre and dance, and there are opportunities for students to be exposed to experiences and thoughts that aren’t reflected in the curriculum,” Hadar said. “This exposure to new writings and performances from those in the U.S. and Canada came out of a diversity, equity and inclusion initiative.

“These conversations are centered around the work of diverse people in the field whose work we normally wouldn’t cover.”

Hadar said students, or anyone else who wants to participate in the conversations, can contact him via email at mhadar@ua.edu, and he will send the work of a performer they’ll be discussing in each conversation so participants can be prepared.

“The idea is to get students or whoever wants to join us to get familiar with the piece or the text,” he said. “Then when we get to the conversation, someone will spend about 15 minutes talking about the piece as an introduction and we’ll open up the conversation from there.”

The conversations started in late January with the play “Marisol” written by Puerto Rican playwright Jose Rivera. On Feb. 1, the discussion continued with “Stop Kiss and R.A.W. (‘Cause I’m a Woman’)”  by Asian-American playwright Diana Son.

The schedule for the remaining topics in the series is as follows:

  • Feb. 15 – Erin Stoneking: “Billie Holiday Theatre’s 12 Angry Men…and Women: The Weight of the Wait”
  • March 1 – Fen Kennedy: “Utter East – Dance and Disability”
  • March 15 – Alvon Reed: “Developing an Original Musical – Hattie Mae’s Jook Joint”
  • March 29 – Ja’Morris Rivers: “Shamell Bell – Street Dance Activism”
  • April 12 – Aidan Nettles: “Performance, Pop Culture, and the Black Female Body”

Contact

Jamon Smith, strategic communications, jamon.smith@ua.edu

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.