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UCA TO HOST ‘THE EMPATHY PROJECT’

The University of Central Arkansas College of Fine Arts and Communication will host “The Empathy Project,” featuring Atlanta-based Core Dance and French poet Sarah Turquety as artists-in-residence, Thursday, Oct. 10 through Tuesday, Oct. 15.

“The Empathy Project” will use art in several forms on the UCA campus to bring about fundamental social change.

At 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, Core Dance will perform “Planetary Dance” in UCA’s Alumni Circle. The community is invited to join Core Dance as they lead people of all ages and abilities in a dance for healing, known as Planetary Dance. Developed in 1990 by Anna Halprin, a pioneer in experimental dance, Planetary Dance is participatory rather than a theatrical performance. Core Dance and UCA drummers will invite participants to enter one of three concentric circles: outer (running), middle (walking), inner (standing). The dance, which creates a moving mandala, is a call for healing and community renewal and brings people together for peace with one another and the earth. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and shoes. The rain location is Ida Waldran Auditorium, inside Old Main.

At 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, Core Dance will perform “if…a memoir” on the lawn of UCA’s McCastlain Hall. “if . . . a memoir” is a physical theater choreo-poem that seeks to develop empathy in audiences, one person at a time. Artistic collaborators will address the tipping points that currently face us: discrimination against marginalized people, mass shootings, the environmental crisis and many other problems that face humanity. This performance is choreographed by Core Dance co-founder and artistic director Sue Schroeder, in collaboration with the dance artists of Core Dance and others. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets or folding chairs; however, some chairs and portable bleachers will be provided. Baum Gallery is the rain location for this event.

“if …a memoir” will be repeated at 9:25 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the same location. This shortened version will be performed in French and will include a post-performance conversation with the audience.

All performances are part of “The Empathy Project,” organized by Gayle Seymour, professor of Art History and associate dean of the UCA College of Fine Arts and Communication, and Sue Schroeder, founder of Core Dance.

Seymour said the project seeks to show how the arts, in myriad forms, can help us learn to develop empathy for each other and for the natural world.

“I have a deep belief that the arts can bring about fundamental social change,” she added. “At the heart of this change is empathy — the ability to see the world through the eyes and perspectives of another person. Empathy can be taught and it’s time for universities to lead the way.”

In addition to the performances, which are all free and open to the public, Schroeder will visit select classrooms to share ­­­­­­­­­­ideas about how the arts can be tools for social change.

The UCA College of Fine Arts and Communication is committed to providing events that are accessible to the widest possible audience regardless of mobility, endurance or cognitive or sensory abilities. For information about accommodations for “The Empathy Project,” visit uca.edu/cfac/the-empathy-project/ .

The artist-in-residence program is funded by UCA’s arts fee and is administered by the College of Fine Arts and Communication. Additional funding is provided by French U.S. Exchange in Dance (FUSED), a program developed by the French American Cultural Exchange Foundation and the Ministry of Culture, and private donors. Additional support for women artists has been provided by Chanel Fund for Women in the Arts and Culture.

The UCA College of Fine Arts and Communication includes the Departments of Art, Music, Film, Theatre and Creative Writing and the School of Communication. The college’s primary mission is the preparation of the next generation of artists, educators and communicators. For more information about CFAC, visit uca.edu/cfac or call (501) 450-3293.

ABOUT CORE DANCE:
Core Dance, an award-winning contemporary dance company with global reach, creates, performs, and produces compelling original dance that ignites the creative spirit and actively encourages participation and conversation with the community. For nearly four decades, Core Dance has supported innovation, collaboration, artistic risk-taking and sustainable art-making in dance. Core Dance was co-founded in 1980 in Houston, Texas by dancer and choreographer Sue Schroeder and her sister, Kathy Russell. Five years later, the organization added Atlanta, Georgia as a second home base, creating a context for dance that is relevant in both cities and around the globe. Core Dance uses dance to educate, question and illuminate and is internationally recognized for its artistically driven research practices, cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary collaborations, the humanity of the individual Dance Artists, and its rigorous physicality. For more information, visit coredance.org.