"Looking Back/Moving Forward"

Call for Papers: SDHS/Society of Dance History Scholars
31st Annual Conference
June 12-15, 2008
Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY

[Talley Beatty image]

Talley Beatty is floating backwards in time - slowly, effortlessly, and impossibly. This is a scene from Maya Deren's A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945), the experimental film in which Deren explored cinema's capacity to slow down, accelerate, or reverse time in order to extend the dancer's choreographic potential. What possibilities are contained in that leap in reverse? How might looking backwards help us to imagine propelling dance - and dance scholarship - forward?

2008 marks the 25th anniversary of the incorporation of SDHS/Society of Dance History Scholars and offers an occasion to look back – at dance, at dancers, at the field itself – as well as to move forward – to explore emergent possibilities and expansive ways of doing dance history.

Looking Back/Moving Forward will include three days of panels, where more than 70 presenters will employ diverse methodologies to explore dance practices such as ballet, breaking, the buck, digital dance, hula, the lindy hop, modern dance, ring shouts, rumbas and zarzuelas. Scholars will analyze archival explorations and dance reconstructions. They also will consider the challenges of writing biographically about dance artists, reflect on relations between dance history and architectural theory, explore the effects of time on the bodies of dancers, and discuss relations between modernism, postmodernism and difference.

Nestled in the southern foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, Skidmore College will host the conference at its campus in Saratoga Springs, New York – home to the National Museum of Dance. The Martha Graham Dance Company will be in residence at Skidmore, with a performance on Friday evening of Errand into the Maze (1947), Acts of Light (1981), and Prelude and Revolt, a multimedia presentation connecting seminal works by Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn and Martha Graham. Tickets can be purchased in advance through the Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s website, or at the on-site box office on the night of the performance. In addition, Saratoga ArtsFest – a vibrant three-day festival featuring music, dance, fine art, film, and theater – will be taking place during the conference weekend. Free and discounted admittance to ArtsFest events are built into the conference registration fee.

For information on ArtsFest: http://www.saratogaartsfest.org
To purchase Graham tickets and for additional performance information: http://www.spac.org

The call for papers is available here.

Conference Highlights:

  • Conference opens on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. with a reception honoring the founders of SDHS/Society of Dance History Scholars
  • Plenary sessions on Looking Back and Moving Forward
  • Awards Cocktail Reception to toast recipients of the de la Torre Bueno Prize®, Gertrude Lippincott Award, Selma Jeanne Cohen Award, and Graduate Student Travel Grant
  • Evening events including the Martha Graham Dance Company and Saratoga ArtsFest
  • "Hallway Conversations" and Working Groups throughout the conference to facilitate exchange
  • Conference ends on Sunday at 12:30.

Conference Schedule:

The programming committee, chaired by Barbara Browning (New York University) and Danielle Goldman (The New School), has selected participants for the 2008 conference. Other members of the programming committee are Jens Giersdorf (Marymount Manhattan College), Anita Gonzalez (State University of New York at New Paltz), and Ellen Graff (The New School). The conference schedule is available here.

Conference Registration:

Download the conference registration form here.

Conference Accommodations:

The local arrangements chairs for Looking Back/Moving Forward are Sharon Arpey (Skidmore) and Mary DiSanto-Rose (Skidmore).

Conference accommodations are available on the Skidmore campus, either in Howe Hall or the Northwoods Apartments. These options are highly affordable and convenient, available for booking on the conference registration form.

For a description and images of Howe Hall: http://cms.skidmore.edu/reslife/buildingprofile/howerounds.cfm

For a description and images of the Northwoods Apartments: http://cms.skidmore.edu/reslife/buildingprofile/northwoods.cfm

In addition, there are numerous hotels, motels, and Bed and Breakfasts in Saratoga. See www.saratoga.org for more information on local hotels and restaurants.

Transportation to Conference:

Skidmore College is accessible by air, bus, train, or car. Approximate mileage from: Albany (30), Bennington (47), Boston (150), Montreal (201), New York City (180).

BY AIR: The Albany International Airport, located off of the Northway (I-87) at Exit 4, is serviced by Air Canada, American Eagle, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, United, and U.S. Airways. Bus and taxi services are available from the airport to Saratoga Springs, which is about 40 minutes north of Albany. Visit www.albanyairport.com for more information.

BY BUS: Saratoga Springs has a downtown terminal that serves Greyhound, Trailways, and other bus lines. Visit www.greyhound.com orwww.trailways.com for more information.

BY TRAIN: From New York City, service is available to the Albany-Rensselaer Train Station (Rensselaer) and to the Saratoga Springs Train Station (www.amtrak.com for more information).

See http://cms.skidmore.edu/odsp/upload/Travel-info-page.pdf for additional information on getting to and from Skidmore. Seehttp://cms.skidmore.edu/map/directions.cfm for driving directions and campus maps.

SDHS publications

Studies in Dance History SDHS’s monograph series, published by University of Wisconsin Press, answers a growing demand for works that provide fresh analytical perspectives on dancing, dancers, and dances in a global context. Read more...

[cover of 2012 Conversations] Issued yearly in early spring generally, Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies reflects the dynamic and diverse membership of SDHS. We seek to bring you themes and debates current in the field of dance studies and the profession, alongside news from the international community of scholars in dance and related disciplines. Read more...


Conference 2014: Writing Dancing/Dancing Writing
A Joint Conference of The Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS) and The Congress on Research in Dance (CORD)
13–16 November 2014
Hosted by the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa

Conference 2015 will be held in Athens, Greece. Dates and other details will be available later this Spring.


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