MamLuft&Co. Dance presents new dance theatre work "Decent Dissent" as part of May 4 Commemoration

Kent, OH – Kent State University's School of Theatre and Dance will welcome MamLuft&Co. Dance for the premiere of a new dance theatre work Decent Dissent, created in conjunction with the 50th Commemoration of May 4. 

The Kent State performance of Decent Dissent will take place on Mon., April 6, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. in E. Turner Stump Theatre located in the Center for the Performing Arts, 1325 Theatre Drive, Kent, OH 44242. Admission to the event is free and no tickets are required. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Choreographed by MamLuft&Co. Dance artistic and executive director Jeanne Sopanha Mam-Luft, the modern dance work tells the story of May 4 when four students were killed and 9 students were injured when the National Guard opened fire on a crowd of students protesting the United States' invasion of Cambodia. Decent Dissent was created over a year-long process with Kent State University for the 50th Commemoration of the shootings.

The subject is particularly meaningful for choreographer Jeanne Sopanha Mam-Luft, a Cambodian refugee whose parents lived through the United States' bombing of Cambodia and its aftermath. In Decent Dissent, Mam-Luft explores the ramifications of the Vietnam War and its unexpected and far reaching impact across continents, decades, and generations. The work offers an opportunity to re-tell the events of May 4 through dance and, working with current Kent State students, searches for a connection between former and current generations of students, as well as their Cambodian counterparts. The work’s subject matter is also remarkably resonant in a time where government brutality, protest, and dissent are in the daily news.

MamLuft&Co. Dance’s resident company is based in Cincinnati with a troupe of professional adult Modern Dance artists. These artists have been and will continue to engage with current Kent State students, faculty, and staff in the creation of Decent Dissent, involving numerous visits between the Cincinnati resident company and the School of Theatre and Dance. Students from Kent State will also participate in performances of the work in Cincinnati at the Aronoff Center for the Arts on April 17-18, 2020.

The new, original dance theatre work has been developed by MamLuft&Co. Dance in collaboration with DC-based graphic designer Steven Norris (who is assisting with multi-media projection design) and lighting designer Dan Feith (who has toured with numerous, internationally-known dance companies and has served as production manager for both local arts companies and others based in NYC).

MamLuft&Co. Dance is supported by the generosity of Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund of the Greenacres Foundation, as well as the generosity of more than 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community Campaign. MamLuft&Co. Dance and this program are made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.

This free and open to the public event is supported by the Office of the Provost and the May 4th Commission.

Jeanne Sopanha Mam-Luft previously visited Kent State University as the 2016-2017 Armstrong Family Visiting Artist. Kent State University School of Theatre and Dance alumna Claire Dieringer is a company member of MamLuft&Co. Dance and is employed as MamLuft&Co. Dance's Education and Outreach Director.

About Jeanne Sopanha Mam-Luft:

Jeanne Sopanha Mam-Luft is an interdisciplinarian (choreographer, designer, and photographer) who is strongly influenced by design-thinking and cinematic composition. She founded MamLuft&Co. Dance in 2007 to help facilitate consistent creation and development of professional Modern Dance in Cincinnati. Over twelve years of directing the Company, Jeanne has created 30+ works, produced countless events, worked with over a hundred performers, and collaborated with many outside organizations and artists of international repute. In 2014, Jeanne became the first and only dance artist to be awarded an Arts Ambassador Fellowship from the City of Cincinnati. Jeanne served on the OhioDance Board of Trustees from 2009-2015, is a founding member of the Greater Cincinnati Dance Alliance, was the Assistant Director of Contemporary Dance Theater from 2010-2014, and serves as a grant review panelist for the Ohio Arts Council. Jeanne holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Texas Woman’s University and a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University. Mam-Luft studied photography and video at Pittsburgh Filmmakers. As a student, she received full scholarships to both American Dance Festival and Bates Dance Festival. Jeanne’s work is often inspired by her experiences as an immigrant and a refugee of the Khmer Rouge genocide. CityBeat‘s Kathy Valin has said, “Jeanne Mam-Luft is a brainy director and accomplished choreographer (and filmmaker), and it shows…Fans will no doubt appreciate the work for the virtuosity and variety.”


Media Contact:

Joni Koneval, 330-672-0116,

POSTED: Monday, February 17, 2020 - 2:59pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 2:46pm