"Jews on View: Spectacle, Degradation, and Jewish Corporeality in Contemporary Dance and Performance Art”

A lecture by Dr. Rebecca Rossen, Theatre & Dance, College of Fine Arts, UT

Mon, September 20, 2010 | CPE 2.212 (Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Building, on Speedway just north of Dean Keaton)

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM

Photo Credit: Steven Cohen in Cleaning Time. Photograph: Marianne Greber
Photo Credit: Steven Cohen in Cleaning Time. Photograph: Marianne Greber

The Jewish body has historically been considered effeminate, pathological, excessive, and queer. Although Jewish choreographers working in mid-century modern dance aimed to counter such images, a number of recent works by radical, Jewish performing artists amplify, rather than diminish, Jewish difference, and critique “acceptable” modes of Jewish self-representation. In this lecture, Professor Rossen discusses spectacle, degradation, and Jewish corporeality in Larry Goldhuber’s comedic When the World Smells Like Bacon (2001), Rebecca Pappas’s candid Thumbnail (Monster O) (2007), and Steven Cohen’s controversial Cleaning Time (2007), in which the South African performer crawled through historically significant public squares in Vienna sporting an outrageous costume and giant toothbrush to confront the Nazi practice of forcing Jews to clean streets.


Dr. Rebecca Rossen (Performance as Public Practice Program, Department of Theatre and Dance) is a choreographer and dance historian whose work focuses on identity in 20th and 21st century dance and performance. Her essay “The Jewish Man and His Dancing Shtick: Stock Characterization and Jewish Masculinity in Postmodern Dance” appeared in You Should See Yourself! Jewish Identity in Postmodern American Culture (Rutgers, 2006), and her essay, “Chassidic Drag: Jewishness, Cross-Dressing, and Ethnic Ambiguity in the Modern Dances of Pauline Koner and Hadassah,” will be published in Feminist Studies (summer 2011).  Her book-in-progress is titled Dancing Jewish: Jewish Identity in American Modern and Postmodern Dance.


About the image:

For more information and additional photos of the "Cleaning Time" performance, please visit Marianne Greber's website, http://www.mariannegreber.at/pro_steven.htm

Sponsored by: Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, Faculty Development Program Colloquium

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