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Graduate Performances

The Graduate Performance is the first milestone towards the PhD degree in the department of Performance Studies. For this milestone, students engage performance as a method of inquiry and communication building on expressive practices. A performance may take many forms like a narrative solo, a movement-based program, a sound performance installation, or an immersive performance. 

Please join us for our 2023 first-year PHD Graduate Student Performances.

Friday, March 10 at 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 11 at 3:00 p.m.

Hors D’oeuvres will be served

Abbott Hall, 710 N Lakeshore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611

Parking will be free and open in the Abbott Hall Parking Lot. 

For information on the Evanston Intercampus Shuttle please visit  

Friday, March 10

Michael Landez, R & D

R and D is an exploration of the scraps left before the world-making capacities of performance - on our bodies, in our minds, in the studio, in the workshop, in the closet, and in the bedroom. Through an autobiographical analysis of my own dance rehearsal practices, the ballet Swan Lake, sexual play, sewing practices, and kinship ties, this work seeks to invite audience members into my own rehearsal practices so that we may defamiliarize what the “before” of performance does. Together, we will revel in the play invoked by the rehearsal space, thinking, dreaming, and dancing towards a something that is not-yet-here. As a product of my own practice of excess, this work takes pleasure in its status as a “bad” approximation of a live rehearsal, digital archive of stories, installation, ballet class, dance party, wardrobe fitting, and academic conference - it is quite literally too much and not enough. Through an appropriation of the scientific method, the work aims to demonstrate its rigor through satire while nodding towards the incommensurability of embodying process in the locus of performance.

Shola Jimoh, Enmity

“Enmity” renegotiates the role of fragmentation to diasporic subjectivity, complicating the recuperative impulse of the diasporic subject to enliven displaced stories, peoples, and affinities through family history. Tracing the affective resonances of familial estrangement, loss, and grief, this piece navigates the indeterminacy of (patri)lineage through a first-person narrative, focusing on several moments of rupture through which fracture and alienation materialize as an inheritance of their own. Questioning the symbolic function of family history to diasporic identity, “Enmity” invites the viewer to consider what can be made of a family that is damned.

Johanna Middleton, Teaching Stories or How I Wish I Learned

A participatory storytelling event exploring the pedagogical process of shepherding black girls into adulthood. Together we will investigate how we learn and from whom we learn, asking what are the stories and ways of telling stories we need/ed to learn from/to ourselves and each other.

Saturday, March 11

Maulikraj Shrimali, Vulturing the Vulture

This participatory performance is based on anti caste literature, videos, images, aesthetics and interviews with anti caste activists. The Dalit body is compared with the body of vulture because the traditional occupation of caste oppressed is affiliated with flashes, bones, blood and sanitation. But the vultures who wait for atrocities, suicides, and all kind of violences on the caste oppressed and convert them into opportunities. You know already what you do but this time we will not shut our mouth. So, come pull the strings and feel the vulturing !

Toni Kunst, Still Living

Still Living is a durational performance that explores the ethics of representation concerning enslaved subjects and histories through a post-memory/post-memorial lens. In this performance, I focus on the inevitability of failure regarding performances of history. Instead, I privilege tactics of stillness and sound as an act of transfer or the capacity to speak the unspeakable (Angela Davis, 1998) in that stillness and sound neither disrupts nor reduces history, but rather opens up space for possibility, imagination, and opportunities to grieve.

Makeda Thomas, Is/Not Mas

It all starts with the pointless impulse to play. The moment that impulse arises everything else disappears, the burdens and anxieties of the background of history, ideas of aims and objectives in the busy foreground, all dissolve.