Magazine article Dance Magazine

Dana Caspersen: Author

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Dana Caspersen: Author

Article excerpt

When Dana Caspersen began exploring her interest in conflict resolution, she felt it required a distinct and separate approach from her life as a dancer. As her understanding has developed--in January she published a book, Changing the Conversation: The 17 Principles of Conflict Resolution--she has begun to see connections. "I used to separate the two practices," says Caspersen.

"I had rejected using my dance and theater experience, but now I recognize how valuable it is. A big part of what dancers work on is developing new ways of seeing, which is what is needed to find resolution in conflict situations."

Caspersen, 51, has been dancing for William Forsythe since 1988, first at Ballet Frankfurt and then in The Forsythe Company. She has originated roles in many of the choreographer's signature works, including Quintett, Eidos: Telos and / don't believe in outer space. She and Forsythe were married in 2000. Now, the couple begin new career paths--Forsythe will become the Paris Opera Ballet's associate choreographer and teach at the University of Southern California, and Caspersen has developed a project, Violence: Recode, which she describes as a public dialogue model that uses choreographic practices to explore systems that cause avoidable harm, like racism and sexism.

Initially, Caspersen became interested in conflict resolution during a period of personal challenges. "All the conflicts that life throws at you hit me at once," she recalls. "I wanted to be present and capable in a difficulty, whether it was in a personal or a work relationship." She became drawn to the fundamentals of mediation. …

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