Presentation of the findings of an in-depth study of two arts organizations started by a strong collective of women; ODC in San Francisco, CA, USA and Renaissance Theaterworks in Milwaukee, WI.,USA. Presented by Deborah Leamy - Instructor in Performing Arts at Elon University (USA).
Deborah Leamy, from Providence, R.I., home was NYC for a little over 20 years, where she was fortunate enough to perform on Broadway, Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall. Shows include Fosse, Sweet Smell Of Success, Chicago, Phantom Of The Opera, Joseph...Dreamcoat, A Chorus Line, Kiss Me Kate, just to name a few. Dir/Choreo credits include Pippin, Legally Blonde, Grease, Shrek, In The Heights, My Way, Broadway Bares Sf, Damn Yankees and the original musical Beast Mode Champion. Her varied interests largely pertain to how dance can intermingle in new and exciting ways in the field of theatre and musical theatre.
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Whose stories get told on stage in the world of theatre? As a woman in the complex and historically problematic field of Musical Theatre, my tenure as a working professional in NYC was filled with the highest joys and the most crushing disappointments. But it was only after taking a sabbatical from show business altogether that I returned to the field of musical theatre somewhat changed, now as an educator, choreographer, and director. Given a new perspective, I could no longer deny the significant gender and racial disparity in my chosen field. Most notable was the gender disparity in leadership at various theatre companies and an overall disparity of those hired as choreographer/director on Broadway. Having just completed a 2-year MFA Graduate Program, my thesis project served as a qualitative analysis of two thriving arts organizations, led by a collective of women. It shined a spotlight on feminist practices, analyzing what the resultant outcomes are when the feminist principles of gender/racial equity, diversity, inclusion and community are embraced, nurtured and adhered to within dance and theatre companies. My presentation will showcase the myriad of quotes, data and images from my study as well as a viewing of the filmed theatrical dance piece that served as the second half of this project. The piece is a true embodiment of the study merging dance, music and spoken word, performed by four strong young women.
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