Break/ing Ground is a public lecture-performance featuring UC Berkeley Performance Studies faculty and graduate students in conversation with Drs. Fred Moten and Thomas DeFrantz, two individuals who have made a tremendous contribution to the study of black performance through their respective specialties in Sound and Dance Studies. The title of our symposium plays off that of Dr. Moten’s defining book, In the Break: Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (2003), and references the aesthetic structure of the ‘break’ found in black performance forms from jazz to b-boying. We are interested in the productive and reproductive ways that Moten’s ‘break’–a theoretical inquiry into the ontology of black performance, or, the “the fugitive movement [that] is stolen life”–acts as a performative space for the generation not only of sound but also of dance, or what Dr. Rennie Harris has described as “the last manifestation of sound.”  


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