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The Empathy Project

By Rebekah Hall

SUNDAY 10/13-MONDAY 10/14. University of Central Arkansas. Free.

Christian Meyer

Atlanta-based contemporary dance company Core Dance will perform as artists-in-residence at the University of Central Arkansas in October. Founded in Houston, Texas, in 1980, Core Dance will participate in “The Empathy Project,” organized by Gayle Seymour, professor of Art History and associate dean of the UCA College of Fine Arts and Communication, and Core Dance’s co-founder, Sue Schroeder.

“The Empathy Project” seeks to use the art of dance to “bring about fundamental social change,” beginning with a performance of “Planetary Dance” at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13 in UCA’s Alumni Circle. “Planetary Dance” is a “participatory” performance, and community members “of all ages and abilities” are invited to join Core Dance and UCA drummers in the experience. The “dance for healing” invites participants to join one of three concentric circles of people: a standing inner circle, a walking middle circle and a running outer circle. The motion of the dance creates a “moving mandala,” a technique developed in 1990 Anna Halprin, a “pioneer in experimental dance,” and is intended as a “call for healing and community renewal.” If you want to join, Core Dance recommends wearing comfortable clothes and shoes.

The company will next perform “if…a memoir” at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 14 on the lawn of UCA’s McCastlain Hall. The “physical theater choreo-poem” seeks to generate empathy in audiences by addressing several “tipping points” currently faced by humanity, including “discrimination against marginalized people,” “mass shootings,” and “the environmental crisis.” A shortened version of the “if…a memoir” performance will be repeated at 9:25 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at the same location. This version will be performed in French and will feature a post-performance conversation with the audience. For more details, including rain locations for the performances, visit


October 13, 2019 @ 11:00 pm
October 14, 2019 @ 11:00 pm
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University of Central Arkansas
201 Donaghey Ave.
Conway, AR 72035
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