Dance Lecture Looks at Queer Spaces in Anna Sokolow's "Rooms"

January 30, 2018

Dr. Hannah Kosstrin (Ohio State University) delivers the Emory Friends of Dance Lecture “Queer Spaces in Anna Sokolow’s ‘Rooms’” Tuesday, February 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Presentation Room of the Oxford Road Building. The lecture is free and open to the public. 

Celebrated for its themes of postwar alienation, Anna Sokolow’s “Rooms” (1954) also subverted 1950s expectations for gendered and sexualized bodies onstage. Through reading “Rooms” as a queer text within the context of the Lavender Scare, Kosstrin shows how queer lives were central to the general marginalized experience Sokolow presented in this dance. Kosstrin posits that through presentations like “Rooms,” queerness defined the 1950s mainstream.

As a choreographer, Anna Sokolow’s interest in humanity led her to create works of dramatic contemporary imagery showing both the lyric and stark aspects of the human experience. Her vast range of repertory includes drama, comedy, and lyricism with her commentaries on humanity and social justice threaded into each of her works. Today her works are performed by the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble and are in the repertoires of numerous companies around the world.

Dr. Hanna Kosstrin is a dance historiean whose work engages dance, Jewish, and gender studies. At Ohio State University, she is assistant professor in the Department of Dance and affiliate faculty with the Melton Center for Jewish Studies and the Center for Slavic and East European Studies. She is the author of “Honest Bodies: Revolutionary Modernism in the Dances of Anna Sokolow,” which will be available for purchase at the event. A book signing will follow the lecture.

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