Please join Dr. James Ball (Texas A&M University), Jennifer Mabus (University of St. Thomas), and Melissa Noble (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts) as they discuss performance and its overlap with politics in the institutional setting. An emphasis will be placed on the unique opportunities and obstacles that institutions face when tackling political themes. This will be discussed through the lenses of pedagogy, curation, programming, and public outreach.

April 29th, 5:00 CST virtual

Meeting ID: 934 3334 2222

Passcode: 697304


James R. Ball III is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Performance Studies at Texas A&M University, where he is also Director of the Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts. His research includes the politics of performance and the performance of politics, analyzing both the theatrical structures that underwrite public political events and aesthetic performances that intervene in political processes. His book, Theater of State: A Dramaturgy of the United Nations (Northwestern University Press, 2020), investigates global political spectatorship and the theatricality of international institutions. Additional writing research has been published in TDR: The Drama Review, e-misférica, The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, and Brecht Yearbook. Dr. Ball has taught courses on arts activism, performance theory, spectatorship, devising, and interactive theatre. Before earning his PhD from NYU in 2012, Dr. Ball produced and directed theatre in New York City and Washington, DC.

Melissa Noble is interim Managing Director of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston. She has had a professional career as a dancer, choreographer, and movement consultant working with theater, dance, and opera companies for over 25 years. She is an interdisciplinary artist who works in diverse mediums and forms and has taught various topics at academic institutions such as the University of Washington, Indiana University, Juniata College, and Rice University. Her work has been seen at Meany Hall of the Performing Arts in Seattle, Manhattan Movement Arts Center in NY, and at Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera, among others. She has a BA in Art/Art History from the University of Northern Iowa and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms from the University of Houston School of Art.

Jennifer Mabus is a dance artist and is the Dance Program Chair at the University of St. Thomas. She has served on the dance faculties of Texas Christian University, Sam Houston State University, Houston’s HSPVA, San Jacinto College, Booker T Washington HSPVA, and Interlochen Arts Academy. Mabus received a BFA in Dance from Southern Methodist University and an MFA from Sam Houston State University, and she is also a 500-hour certified yoga instructor. Jennifer has performed with multiple dance companies in Texas and New York, including international performance as a soloist and founding member of Battle Works, Robert Battle’s company before he became the director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She has been commissioned to create work for the dance companies, METdance, Contemporary Ballet Dallas, Pilot Dance Project, Muscle Memory Dance Theater, Omega Dance Company, and Elle Danceworks, as well as for university dance programs around the nation. In Houston, Jennifer has been commissioned to create work for the Miller Outdoor Theater and Zilka Hall at the Hobby Center by the Foundation for Modern Music and the Windsync Ensemble. Mabus was a Rice University Dance Artist in Residence, a Noble Motion Dance “Next Step” emerging artist, and a Dance Source Houston Artist in Residence. She is also a founding member of the Transitory Sound and Movement Collective, where she has co-created original, experiential evenings in venues such as the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Rothko Chapel, Rec Room and the Rice University Gallery.


Jeanette Joy Harris is an artist-researcher interested in performance and politics. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Art, and Critical Thought at European Graduate School. She completed an MscR in art history from University of Edinburgh and a BA in government from Texas Woman’s University. She was a scholar in residence at the Hannah Arendt Institute at Bard College. She is a member of American Philosophical Association’s Committee on Public Philosophy and serves on Experimental Action’s management committee. Joy has shown creative work in Chicago, Dallas, Helsinki, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, the Netherlands, New Orleans, New York City, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco, and Venice. Joy has presented papers in the US and UK, including University of Cambridge, Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics; New Mexico Texas Philosophical Society; and American Political Science Association. She guest lectures at Texas Woman’s University, University of Houston, and University of North Texas.

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This project is part of “Possessing a common logic,” a series of discussions and collaborations between philosophers, theorists, artists, and performers. Curator Jeanette Joy Harris brings together creative thinkers from different disciplines and invites them to uncover a common logic or underlying thread that connects their practices.

Working toward resonances not necessarily similarities and shared ways of thinking not necessarily shared thoughts, the end result is unpredictable. This series aims to imagine new possibilities and projects through difference. It moves away from a purely critical mode of engagement, focusing, instead on creation and construction. 

This work is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.

#LetCreativityHappen19 #philosophyoflife #publicphilosophy #artandphilosophy #solidarity #dancerlife #performanceart #ustdance #tamu #mitchellcenter

@Houston MOCA @houstonartsalliance @mlknoble @tamu.perf @jenmabus @mitchell_center @blaffer

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