Dana Caspersen (Fall ’16), MS, MFA, is a conflict specialist, author and performing artist. Her work focuses on empowering individuals to affect change in destructive systems. In her nearly three decades as a leading artist with the Ballet Frankfurt and the Forsythe Company, and as a primary collaborator of choreographer William Forsythe, Caspersen created work ranging from inventing the world’s largest bouncy castle for Artangel in London to developing internationally acclaimed stage works such as Eidos: Telos and I Don’t Believe in Outer Space. In her recent book, Changing the Conversation: The 17 Principles of Conflict Resolution, she offers effective tools for turning conflict into an opportunity for positive change. Caspersen’s work using choreographic thinking to create large-scale international public dialogue projects on topics ranging from immigration to violence has brought together thousands of people from diverse communities across the world.
UNDER | STAND
At the Center, Dana created a new choreographic public dialogue on racism called “UNDER | STAND”. Employing methodologies from the fields of conflict resolution and choreography, she examined the institutionalized, normalized and embodied divisions promoted by systems of structural racism. In collaboration with young dance artists, she developed an interactive public dialogue model designed to counter that division through a collective “physical interview” process. In these events, the body– the ground of bias in racist systems– emerged as a ground of communication. An ongoing project, UNDER | STAND will unfold through an international series of live events. Videos of physical interviews from participants in each location will become part of an adjacent installation, while an online hub provides an ongoing home for the project. Through each medium, participants activate new communities of connection.