Franklin + Madden Dance Thesis Concert

Apr 27, 2021

08:00 PM

Online venue,

University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242

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Two photos of groups of dancers in performance.

Franklin + Madden Thesis Concert
Saturday, April 17 at 8:00 p.m. CST

This virtual concert will feature works by MFA candidates Laila J. Franklin and Jessica Madden.

Space Cadet
Direction, lead choreography, and performance by Laila J. Franklin
Performance and co-choreography by Jaki Bass and Ianka Hou
In my thesis project, Space Cadet, I am investigating black women and women of color’s slippery presence in performance through collaboratively devised solos. I am interested in the (in)visibility of lived experience and am curious about the residues of subjugation and erasure in the body. Through this process, I am working to activate a methodology of kinetic imagination that might serve in reorienting marginalized and oppressed bodies towards new possible futures: I am seeking to activate the body as a living and reflexive archive and a futuring medium. How might we consciously and strategically tap into our kinesthetically stored and sensation-based memories and present realities and allow them to be generative in our making? How might we support each other in a practice of re-visioning, orienting the knowledge stored within our bodies toward futures that serve ours and our communities’ greatest good? In this process, I employed black performance technologies from dance, music, and theater traditions, exploring the space these make for embodied knowledge – what viscerally felt and experience - to act as a primary source.

Between the Waves
Choreography and Direction by Jessica Madden
Choreography and performance by Danica Clayton, Erin Evans, Michael Landez, Juliet Remmers, Jensen Steinbronn
This work is an examination of empathy, grounded in themes of recovery and resilience. Looking to the body as a site of embodied memory and personal narrative, my goal has been to facilitate engagement with these embodied layers of experience, and to draw upon them as a primary source of movement generation. Recovery is generally thought of as a return to normalcy, but after engaging in this area of research, my question has become: what is “normal,” especially when the event in question leaves one’s self or situation permanently altered? As Bessel van der Kolk points out, in his book The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma: ". . . what has happened cannot be undone. But what can be delt with are the imprints of the trauma on body, mind, and soul . . . The challenge of recovery is to reestablish ownership of your body and your mind – of your self" (205). As humans, we carry the imprints of our experience and memories around with us, and recovery cannot begin to take place until we begin to grapple with, and learn how to own and carry them in a way that allows us to heal and move forward. While it is not my intention, nor my qualification, to serve as therapist or counselor in this environment, my hope has been to create space for self-directed introspection and processing within this creative research process.

Visit our Virtual Concert Venue in advance of the performance to learn more about the works, the choreographers, and all of the collaborators.

Join us at virtualdance.studio.uiowa.edu for this free performance. Tickets are not required.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at