The University Record, March 26, 2001

Center for World Performance Studies to examine variety of cultural contexts

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

The University’s Gamelan Ensemble (shown here in rehearsal) will perform 3–5 p.m., 6:30–7:30 p.m. and 9–10:30 p.m. March 30 in the Social Work Building Lobby. Photo courtesy School of Music
A curriculum that examines the role of the performing arts and artists within a variety of cultural contexts and from numerous disciplinary perspectives will form the core of the University’s new Center for World Performance Studies (CWPS).

A pilot program—under the direction of Judith Becker, an ethnomusicologist and professor of music; program associate Frank Gunderson, a specialist on East African music; and a steering committee of faculty members—has been serving the needs of faculty and students interested in the growing discipline of performance studies, actively contrasting and comparing world performing arts.

“Performance and performance styles are crossing borders and traveling at a rate and with a freedom that is unprecedented in history,” Becker says. “From the intensely local to the transnational, performers enact the reality of a changed global situation for the performing arts.

“This contemporary and fluid situation is an example of one of the many relevant issues we wish to address.”

With confirmation from the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, the CWPS will offer a free-standing, non-degree Graduate Certificate Program in World Performance Studies that can be combined with either a master’s or doctoral degree, serving students who seek a stronger interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach. The program will draw on faculty from throughout the University and from such disciplines as ethnomusicology, dance, film, theater, anthropology, languages and area studies.

The new center will celebrate its founding 2:30 p.m.–2 a.m. March 30–31 with a series of simultaneous performances and lectures at the International Institute.

Events celebrate founding of performance center

All events will be held March 30–31 at the International Institute in the School of Social Work Building. For more information, call the Center for World Performance Studies (CWPS), (734) 936-2777, or visit the Web at

2:30–5 p.m., Room 2609, “Words About World Performance”: Presentations by University faculty

2:30 p.m. Javier Sanjinez, Romance languages, “Cholo Performanc2es in Contemporary Bolivia”

3 p.m. Enoch Brater, theatre, “Global Beckett”

3:30 p.m. Alaina Lemon, anthropology, “The Moscow Romani Theater”

4 p.m. Steven Whiting, School of Music and the International Institute, “Interdisciplinarity on Montmartre: The Cabaret and World Performance”

4:30 p.m. Rich Crawford, School of Music, “Nice Work if You Can Get It: The Performance Legacy of George Gershwin”

3–5 p.m., Lobby, School of Music Javanese Gamelan Ensemble, directed by Judith Becker and featuring guest artists Sumarsam and I.M.Harjito

3–4 p.m., Room 1636, Michael Gould, Shakuhachi flute music from Japan

3–4 p.m., Room 1644, Koo Nimo, Ghanaian palmwine guitarist and CWPS artist-in-residence

4–5 p.m., Room 1636, Ermira Babali and Ensemble, Albanian songs of love, longing and celebration

4 p.m., Room 1644, Victor Ghannam, Middle Eastern music, modern and classical, on oud, def and kanun

5 p.m., Lobby, Robin Wilson, University dance choreographer, presents her latest work.

5:30–6:30 p.m., International Institute Gallery, inaugural remarks, libation ceremony conducted by Olabayo Olaniyi (Nigerian performance artist and CWPS artist-in-residence), reception

6:30–9 p.m., Room 2609, “Bollywood,” DVD film screening of “Kaho Naa . . . Pyaar Hai,” directed by Rakesh Roshan, with music by Rajesh Roshan. Introduction by Beth Genne, Department of Dance, arts and ideas concentration, Residential College, and Rahul Sinha, Center for South Asian Studies, International Institute

6:30–7:30 p.m., Lobby, Javanese Shadow Puppet Theatre (Wayang Kulit) accompanied by the Gamelan Ensemble, featuring special guest artists Sumarsam and I.M. Harjito

8–9:30 p.m., Lobby, Congolese Drumming and Dance Ensemble, “Bichini Bia Congo,” featuring Biza and Titos Sompa and “Mbongi”

9–10:30 p.m., Lobby, Javanese Shadow Puppet Theatre (Wayang Kulit) accompanied by the Gamelan Ensemble, featuring special guest artists Sumarsam and I.M. Harjito

10:30 p.m.–2 a.m., Room 1636, World Techno Celebration, featuring Detroit artists Brian Tomsic, Carlos Souffrant and Domingo Yu

Ongoing Events

3–10 p.m., International Institute Gallery, international buffet

3–10 p.m., International Institute Gallery, world performance studies seminar fieldwork video installation